So what would say right now your typical day is like from when you get here to….
RK: Do you want a boring day? [laughs] A lot of days we’re just sending emails all day. I think the most exciting part is probably researching new brands, going to show rooms, doing our buying appointments, meeting with designers, and meeting with editors, and that sort of exciting thing, you know, sort of sitting down, talking about past seasons or previous seasons and deciding what we’re going to do for the next season. I mean definitely the most exciting thing is when we’re sort of gearing up to do another season and you know we talk about what brands we’re gonna let go, if we’d like to add some or if there are brands we want to see more of or too much of certain colors, then you know, obviously….
DW: we do reports [on what's selling well and what's not].
RK: and obviously going to all the shows in New York and Europe is always our favorite part. Just seeing what brands like Alaia are doing, Givenchy, Nina Ricci….
DW: It’s always fun to switch them around too because I’d say half of the brands we have–on average I’d say we have aboutn 10 designers each season–so I’d say about five of those are stable designers that constantly buy and go to every single market date for. But then the other five are kind of like…we can switch them around a bit and add a new one and switch another one out.
Do you plan on keeping it kind of at that minimal 10…do you think that works?
DW: I think we might be a little…I mean….10 is just shoes. Then we have bag people who just do bags, so lets say, add another three, so I’d say its around thirteen and between those we switch it out. I mean, this is probably really full right now for the shop and its always important for us to not go too crazy and over crowd, because, you know, the interior is already so rich. That’s one of the problems I think some of the vendors don’t understand. It’s like, they try and say “Can you buy more?” “Can you pick more styles?” and it’s always hard for us to say, “Well you know, we just want to keep it at like four styles.” Because we don’t want it just to be a BRAND A store.
RK: The brands are getting better you know, now that they see what we do.
DW: It’s like if you come down to the store you’ll know what we mean.
So, did you spend the last month in Europe? What’s the schedule for market?
DW: We attend the main fashion months. March and October are the months that we’re in Europe the most. And then I can go back home because my family still lives there.
RK: And this time we looked at some new designers in London as well while we were there.
London Fashion Week was amazing.
RK: I mean, even outside of fashion week, just afterward when things are more quiet it’s like nice to go around and talk to new brands because obviously they’re on less of a strict schedule.
DW: And then the ones in the middle like resort and pre-fall, which are around July and January…the only ones we would really go and see is Alaia. Because they don’t come to you. But other brands like Givenchy travel to New York during those seasons.
In terms of London–I hadn’t been to LFW in about six years so I was really blown away and I just thought the quality was so good and there were amazing shoes. Is there anyone in particular labels that you thought…maybe you’re not going to buy them this year, but they really impressed you and it’s something that you’re watching.
DW: Yeah. Nicholas Kirkwood–he does a lot for other people as well. I don’t know if she does her own shoes, but Louise Goldin is really good, too. I think someone mentioned her to us before because we used to work with Rupert Sanderson which is really…you know..kind of like a Manolo Blahnik of England. His shoes are really popular…but only in England. That was our problem with him in the beginning. No one really knew him over here …people still don’t really know him now and because of the Euro and stuff it was a lot more expensive for anyone to buy them here and for them to be spending a thousand dollars on a pump…they’d rather buy an Alaia pump…you know..so…I think they were the first to work with her in the very beginning when she had her first fashion show and she had shoes but I’m not sure what she does now.
RK: I don’t know if she does just shoes but she’s still is around..she’s amazing. she’s so much fun….
Yeah, she seems really cool. I went to her presentation and I was just like blown away.
DW: and it’s crazy because she’s been doing it for a really long time.
Yeah, that’s incredible. Is there any chance you think you may be moving into ready to wear or do you think you’re gonna stick with accessories?
RK: I don’t think we’d ever move into RTW. I think that the other element to the store is thinking of different ways to become more of a lifestyle brand. Furniture is a big part, scent is a big part, books are a big part. I think a lot of that comes from just like also doing my interior design as well and just from us and our love for Europe and all that kind of stuff. But I think we’d prefer to do something with scent or with books than move into ready to wear….
DW: Or homey or something.
That makes sense.
You know, I just think that’s more of our niche.
I would love to know what an Edon Manor scent would smell like.
RK: We talk about this…it’s something I really want to do, whether it is just a home scent or a perfume or a body scent. And not to sound cocky but I do think that there ARE very few stores in the world where I’d want to purchase just their scent and I have a strong feeling that we are one of those few.
Definitely. How much your work is going out and networking and meeting new people and seeing new designers? Is that a big part of what you do?
DW: I mean I think so. Meeting people, no matter what you do, is always part of it. If we didn’t go and look for new designers or if we didn’t you know—meet people–we wouldn’t have an idea of what people are up to and if we didn’t have an idea of what people are up to then we’d be sort of lost. But you know, having said that, I still like
to maintain a certain amount of integrity.
In terms of what you think might be next: is another store possible?
RK: I think that’s the hope. But I think that what people forget about retail is that it takes a really long time. You know when you look at store now that has a really big name people sort of assume that it opened up just that year. Then you go back and look at the actual day it opened. You know the most popular boutiques we look at now have been around for ten years or whatever.
DW: And I think that retail has changed now. It’s not such a like physical thing that’s important. I mean, we just launched our e-commerce site like a month and half ago, so I feel like that would lead us into a different direction.
And has that kind of clicked?
RK: What we’re focusing on right now is definitely the e-commerce business.
DW: And also social networking and that kind of stuff.
RK: We’re getting onto that because like you know…for all of the positives we have, we’ve been weak at the modern part of this. So that’s really our new thing. We’re trying.
DW: We have a Facebook page! We were kind of reluctant. But we have one now!
I understand. I’m on Twitter…obviously I write for the Web..yet I hate Facebook. But you have to do it. It reaches so many people and like random people are on it…random wealthy older women. Mom is obsessed.
RK: It’s not just college kids.
What would you say, in terms of e-commerce itself, is the biggest challenge? Because, it seems to me that..you know, I’ve written a lot about the business side of things and opening an e-commerce boutique when you’re brick
and mortar is a lot harder than people imagine…what has been the hardest part?
RK: I think the competition of letting people know…I mean…our name is relatively small in the retail spectrum when you’re looking at Niemen Marcus or saks.com and macys.com. But the thing is: Our name is small, but our product is really big. You know what I mean, Givenchy is huge. So we’ve been faced with a lot of competition like that and you know it’s a totally new world on how to beat that bigger company. It’s very technical. It has to do a lot with Google and how many hits you’re getting and how much content is out there and that’s something we’re all learning but I definitely think. I mean, for me, the biggest challenge is getting people to know that Givenchy is sold at Edon Manor in Tribeca and not just BIG E-COMMERCE SITE HERE.
Well now I know. Thanks for doing this, guys!