Tkees in Miami

With its flip-flops already on feet all over Miami, Tkees chose the endless-summer city to roll out retail. The decade-old, Toronto-based brand opened a 700-square-foot boutique in the Miami Design District on Feb. 22; locations in New York and Los Angeles are slated by year’s end. In addition to women’s and children’s footwear and women’s apparel, which launched in 2019, the all-shoppable concept extends to husband-and-wife founders Carly and Jesse Burnett’s selection of home decor and art.

“We wanted the store to be more than a white box. We wanted it to take you somewhere,” said Jesse of expanding into brick-and-mortar after building a wholesale business that currently hovers around 600 accounts. “Even saying the word retail feels dangerous now, but retail’s not dead — boring retail is dead.”

Rather than see it as risky, he said well-rounded business models need to embrace all channels. Tkees fared well in the e-commerce transition, with digital multibrand stores and department stores’ online divisions accounting for 60 percent of its wholesale business. Miami ranks in its top three markets for e-commerce, and Tkees’s web site has only been a boon for wholesale partners.

The Miami boutique’s design matches the brand’s minimal ethos and muted palette. The couple traveled to central Florida to hand-pick an olive tree as its friendship-themed focal point. The main shoe display is tiered like a waterfall, and its curves recall South Beach’s Art Deco architecture.

Several styles were set aside for the opening, making them exclusives in a way since they’re sold out online. Sandals in exclusive, toned-down shades of “Miami Vice”-inspired blues and pinks will drop during spring break.

“We did a lot of events like influencer pedicures and slushies at our summer pop-up in Toronto to better understand the community,” said Jesse, who also uses brick-and-mortar to gather data. “We learned a lot from dot-com like putting a traffic counter above the door to see how many people come in versus transactions.”

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