A few days ago Julie Haus-Alkire opened the doors of her first brick-and-mortar store on 458 Broome St. (between Greene and Mercer Sts.). Just 45 minutes later, she had sold over $1,000 worth of merchandise.
Texas native Haus-Alkire, who designs her eponymous line, Julie Haus, as well as a diffusion line, J/J by Julie Haus, is taking her early sale as a good sign. "It feels like people are buying," says Haus-Alkire, "at least key investment pieces." She gives a lot of credit to the location. "This area is shifting," says Haus. "Three years ago, SoHo was still all about big brand stores and now with Isabel Marant down the street, VPL moving in, and Alexander Wang, I just feel lucky to have that walk-by traffic." Of course, her fall collection--drapey tops and dresses and cropped blazers with thick braided knit details--should drive traffic as well.
The store is meant to be like an art-gallery-cum-living room. The decor changes seasonally to reflect Haus's inspiration. So if you stop by today, you'll see horse head prints and a screening of a making-of doc on the London production of "War Horse," Haus's inspiration for fall. The store also houses antiques from Haus's own collection (that she can no longer squeeze into her own apartment), in an effort to make the 1400 square foot space feel like someone's living room.
The best part about finally opening up a brick-and-mortar store is that it functions like a think tank, Haus-Alkire says. "We've always had that disconnect before because the line was going straight to wholesale and we'd get notes back from the buyers [but couldn't do anything about it]. With the store we can really test out what we're making and see how customers react before we produce."