C. Wonder is downsizing.
The bright, preppy apparel brand, which has opened 32 locations since its founding in 2011, is shuttering 20 of them, according to BuzzFeed News. It plans to transition into a wholesale brand and has downsized its corporate staff from around 120 to 75 this year.
A spokesperson for C. Wonder did not deny the report, offering the following statement to Fashionista:
"As a start-up business, we continue to look at ways to enhance our business model and in that regard we are committed to being an Omni channel company pursing retail, wholesale, ecommerce and international opportunities. At this time, we are rationalizing our store fleet and will be focusing on our most profitable stores."
C. Wonder was founded by Chris Burch, ex-husband of Tory Burch (the woman) and co-founder of Tory Burch (the brand). From the beginning, C. Wonder came under fire for borrowing too much aesthetically from Tory Burch's product and store design. (Tory Burch herself called it "too referential," and in fact sued her ex-husband on that basis. Chris Burch was also reportedly forced to step down from Tory Burch's board and sold his founding stake in the company.) C. Wonder manufacturers most of its goods in China at a much lower price point -- a navy leather driver shoe is priced at $265 on toryburch.com, and $98 at cwonder.com -- and, accordingly, a much lower quality level. (On a personal note, the two things I bought there -- a pair of shoe clips and a necklace -- fell apart in a matter of months. The price point is lower, sure, and the branding is solid, but it's still not a good value.) One thing that has set the brand apart is its store experience: Its stores have a distinctly youthful vibe, with loud music and the occasional dancing associate.
Chris Burch's original plans for C. Wonder may have been curtailed -- for now -- but he still has plenty to keep him busy, between his daughters' promising apparel company, Trademark, and his forthcoming lifestyle line with TV host Ellen DeGeneres, E.D.