UP NEXT FOR FREDERIC FEKKAI: CHIC BOUTIQUES
Byline: Kerry Diamond
NEW YORK — Frederic Fekkai will make the leap from celebrity hairdresser to upscale retailer when he opens the first of several freestanding boutiques in mid-September.
The 350-square-foot shop, located at 872 Madison Avenue between 71st and 72nd Streets, will feature the growing line of Fekkai products, from hair spray to handbags to home fragrance.
Fekkai does not break out projections, but industry sources anticipate the boutique will do $700,000 in retail sales during its first year. Construction costs are expected to be approximately $400 per square foot.
Expanded distribution is not the only reason Fekkai is embarking on this new project. After all, Fekkai’s customers from around the country already have access to his products in his Beaute de Provence salons in New York and Beverly Hills; at his in-store shops in a select number of Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus doors, and via his toll-free line.
And at 350-square feet, the new space is not exactly huge. But what it will provide is a chance for Fekkai to project his image.
“With department or specialty stores, you have to work with their look,” says Michelle Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Frederic Fekkai & Co. “The boutique will be 100 percent Frederic.”
Moving beyond the confines of the cosmetics departments and his salons also allows Fekkai to further establish himself not just as a hairdresser, but as a lifestyle tastemaker. Fekkai, during an interview at his Madison Avenue office around the corner from his Beaute de Provence salon, said he often advises his clients on subjects beyond the perfect hairstyle or color.
“I want to show people a way of living that is easy and sophisticated,” he said.
Although the exact look and layout of the store have yet to be determined, Fekkai is hoping to create a “warm and inviting” environment reminiscent of the small, charming shops found in his hometown of Aix-en-Provence. The boutique will feature the Provencal touches found in Fekkai’s New York and Beverly Hills salons and his in-store shops, but taken to the “next level,” said Taylor.
Gil Dez, an interior designer and childhood friend of Fekkai’s, and Chris Harrelson of Brand & Allen Architects Inc. have been retained to work on the boutique. Both men have worked on several other Fekkai projects and helped create the signature, Provence-inspired look of his boutiques and in-store shops.
Half of the space in the boutique will be dedicated to Fekkai’s cosmetics, fragrances and, of course, hair care. The Parfums de Provence collection of fragrances and bath and body products ranges in price from $16 for scented soap to $48 for eau de toilette. Ambience Pour La Maison, the home fragrance collection, ranges from $65 for candles and home scent to $75 for an oversized lavender sachet.
The Smooth Skin collection for facial skin care is priced from $22.50 for cleanser to $32.50 for eye cream. The Pure Color Makeup collection ranges from $10 for nail color to $30 for cream powder makeup.
The boutique will carry the fall color statement, Femme Mystique, which will include two new lipstick shades, a new eye shadow and two new nail polish colors.
The Healthy Hair collection ranges in price from $15.50 for apple cider clearing rinse to $22.50 for the hair mask with shea butter. The Essential Brush collection is priced from $20 for a small comb to $85 for a large brush.
The other half of the boutique will be dedicated to Fekkai’s new accessories collection, which will be launched this August in the salons and in-store shops. The line includes handbags, priced from $395 to $675; small leather goods, $85 to $220; scarves, $235 to $295, and hair accessories, $20 to $110.
A line of Fekkai sunglasses manufactured by Alain Mikli launched in April and already has sold quite well, said Taylor, accounting for $250,000 in retail sales.
The sunglasses will be carried at the boutique, but the line of optical lenses, also created by Mikli, will not. They will be sold at the Mikli boutique a few doors down from Fekkai’s Madison Avenue shop.
Taylor would not comment on the next additions to the Fekkai line, but she did say home and gift are the obvious areas.
The tiny Fekkai empire will continue expanding across the country, but don’t expect to see more salons. Fekkai and Taylor feel it would be too difficult to maintain the level of service and quality found in the New York and Beverly Hills locations.
But plans are under way for more retail outlets. Taylor expects the company to open four or five additional Fekkai boutiques over the next year, and Fekkai is delighted.
“It’s wonderful to see how this has developed,” says Fekkai. “Since day one, I knew I would go beyond hair, but I didn’t know to what extent.”