There's a new shoe line on the block — that block being Broadway and Spring Street in New York's SoHo neighborhood. The British brand Dune London opened the doors of its first U.S. store on Friday, bringing to stateside shoppers a range of designs that are affordable (think $110) and stylish, without getting overly trendy.
Dune's U.S. launch comes well after the start of its overall international push. Founded in 1992, Dune opened its original U.K. store in 1993 and began moving into international markets a little over a decade ago. Shoppers can now find the label in department stores in Germany, Holland and Denmark or at franchises in South Africa, Russia and the Philippines, to name a few. The Broadway store unveiling coincides with the opening of Dune's first location in Mumbai.
Dune sells at 250 outlets in the U.K., including retail locations and shop-in-shops, but it's nearing its saturation point there, founder and executive chairman Daniel Rubin says. So off to the U.S. it went.
"The opportunity in the states is huge. It's not without its pitfalls. There's a record of U.K. retailers coming to the U.S. and not doing so well. But we're cautious people, and we want to respond quickly to what the customer is telling us," Rubin says.
It took Rubin's team about three years of location scouting before it found the right storefront. The brand began selling in Nordstrom a little over a year ago and is opening a U.S. website as well. At this point, the goal is to open 20 stores in the States, starting with major cities. New York has the potential for six to eight locations, Rubin says.
"I think the key is going to be to get the product right. We have a great location, the brand is doing really well," Rubin says. "The question is how much we'll need to adjust the product to this market. But that's part of the learning process."
Although Dune maintains the same core product globally, Rubin says it does adapt 20 to 30 percent of the range to different markets' needs. Sandals are more popular in the Middle East, for instance, and the brand plays up metallics and jeweled accents to appeal to the region's more glamorous aesthetic.
Dune will see soon enough what styles U.S. customers gravitate toward most. Given how commercial SoHo has become, we're guessing Dune will be getting quite a bit of foot traffic on its first day.