Once a mere handbag line, Rebecca Minkoff is continuing to expand. Following the long-awaited opening of its first store in SoHo (this fall, we're told), the brand has announced plans to open two more in California -- one in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles, the other in San Francisco. Both are expected to open by 2015 and will carry every category the brand makes, including handbags, ready-to-wear, denim, shoes, jewelry, small leather goods and accessories.
Opening three stores in one year is pretty ambitious on its own, but Rebecca Minkoff isn't stopping there. It plans to continue opening two to three stores annually over the next few years. "There are probably 10-15 cities we feel we can really carve out a great space in," Uri Minkoff, Rebecca's brother and business partner, tells Fashionista.
It's a pretty big investment in retail, considering the label has to date operated primarily as a wholesale business. While Minkoff says the company "loves our wholesale business," he feels that Rebecca Minkoff customers want to connect more directly to the designer and her brand beyond social media. "We sent her to 35 events this year and there would be 500 women there to see her and talk to her and get her advice." So the stores are seen as one way to provide that closer connection to customers.
Minkoff also says the brand's e-commerce business has "been accelerating dramatically," growing between 60 to 70 percent over the past year. He's expecting another 80 percent leap in sales this year. He says the e-commerce store has helped the company learn what customers are interested in and how they shop -- and also helped the company decide where to open its first brick-and-mortar stores. (That said, he and Rebecca had more than a few reasons for choosing California -- they both grew up there, and while Uri feels the business is rooted in New York, it has a "California sensibility." As for San Francisco, "It's the tech hub of the United States.")
Speaking of tech, Minkoff wouldn't go into details, but as we'd expect from such a tech savvy brand, he said there are some" very exciting things" planned for the stores in terms of digital integrations. "We've been innovative socially, so what's a likewise experience we'd want to have in-store? We've been making some investments we think will give a great experience."
To promote the brand's forthcoming omnipresence, it tapped omnipresent "it" girl Langley Fox as the face of its fall 2014 ad campaign, shot by Seiji Fujimori. “I wanted to have Langley star in our ad campaign the second I met her," says Rebecca. "She personifies the ultimate Rebecca Minkoff girl."