Posts Tagged ‘edina’
More pretty underpinnings could be coming soon to 50th & France. Two former Hot Mama employees are in final negotiations to lease the vacant space at 4948 France Ave., between Bluepeg and Beaujos. The lingerie and loungewear boutique will be called Room No. 3. The owners are jetting to New York next week for a buying trip. They hope to open by June.
Meanwhile, there’s zero buzz about the gaping hole at the southeast corner of 50th & France. (Ann Taylor Loft abruptly – or at least it seemed – vacated the space a few months ago and moved to Southdale Center.) That’s got to be an expensive piece of real estate, so a local boutique is unlikely. I’d like to see something contemporary, complimentary to the upscale local retail, and not over-exposed in this market – like Club Monaco, which has just one store at Mall of America. Or wouldn’t you love to see Zara swoop in? (MOA would have a fit!) Or Intermix? Or a Barney’s Co-Op? A MN shopper can dream.
Just please – not another restaurant.
You don’t have to travel to New York to celebrate Fashion’s Night Out this September 10. Following the smashing success of last year’s effort to get shoppers shopping, the movement is spreading around the globe. Find out what’s happening in your neck of the woods here. In mine, the Galleria in Edina has announced plans to stay open an hour late and treat shoppers to trunk shows and specials throughout the evening. Expect others to follow suit.
Sales are not Galleria’s style. The posh Edina, Minn. center doesn’t technically forbid discount racks, but garish sale signs are frowned upon. “It’s just not our customers’ favorite thing,” said Jill Noack, vice president and general manager of Galleria. “They don’t want to buy a dress and see it on sale the next week.” The center may be charmed (it consistently boasts an occupancy rate higher than just about any competitor in town and is home to Minnesota’s only Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton stores), but that doesn’t mean everything sells at full price. So shops have gotten in the habit of outsourcing. Len Druskin has created a whole new business with its Len Druskin Outlet stores; others team up for off-site liquidation sales or sell to outlet retailers. Well, if you can’t beat the sales, Noack figured the center should try to stage its own – Galleria style. For the first time ever Thursday, July 15 to Saturday, July 17, Galleria will host the Galleria Clearance Experience with food sampling, product demos and, of course, lots and lots of discounts – as much as 80 percent off at some stores. Around 40 retailers are participating. If it’s a hit – and hard to believe it wouldn’t be – Noack says she could imagine doing this type of major blow-out twice a year. No more. And what happens to the sale merchandise that hasn’t sold by the end of the three-day “experience?” Noack hopes it will disappear – to charities, outlets – anywhere but her center. We’ll see.
A trio of casually dressed women were waiting for the new Louis Vuitton store to open today at the Galleria in Edina. Being nosy by nature and a reporter by trade, I sidled up and asked the ladies, who looked stylish in a Banana Republic sort of way, if they were excited about the big opening. Curious, more like. The trio were sales associates from Coach. Feeling a bit pedestrian, no doubt.
The store is stunning. A huge point of pride for the Galleria, which had been courting LV for two years. Minnesotans are modest. We shy away from logos. We spend cautiously. But we love us some Louis. It’s classic, it’s quality and it’s easily identifiable as luxurious, which, let’s be honest, makes a $1,200 bag a little bit easier to justify.
Within 30 minutes, the first $1,200 bag had been bought. By the quite guarded “Kate” from the “north suburbs,” who came in carrying a worn white Coach bag. She was with a friend who owns four LV bags. She knew exactly what she wanted. She had been waiting for the store to open.
An alarm beeped as she exited, but Kate was so blissed out, it couldn’t kill her moment.
Got to roam around the Galleria in Edina last week with fashion designer Zang Toi – you might know him from "Real Housewives of New York City," if not from the $8,000 dress department at Nordstrom. Celebs worship his work so much, they actually pay for it: Sharon Stone has the $6,000 cashmere and wool hand stitched wrap in 10 colors. Zang was in town for three days to do a trunk show and a party with his good friend Kevin Quinn of StyledLife. (He went home to NYC for the weekend and returned again on Monday for an appearance at Nordstrom Mall of America – talk about sharing some love with the little apple!) Now, I've shopped with picky, privileged characters, but Zang was a whole new level of elite: he really buys nothing off the rack. Except at Hermes. His life is entirely customized, from his gym shorts (velvet) to his phone, lip balm and house key (all silver). He was totally game to walk the mall and browse…just entirely uninterested. The line of the day: "It's fine for other people – not for Zang Toi." But he says it with such an infectious laugh, you can't help but be charmed. After I picked my chin up off the floor when he told me he'd never been to Target (should have marched him across the street on the spot), I asked Zang how and where he gets his basic, household stuff – toilet paper, tin foil. He had no idea. That's what assistants are for. But there's no assistant manning his Facebook page. Zang has recently discovered social networking and despite his caviar taste in life, online, he's willing to slum it with the masses. Read all about our visit to Len Druskin and beyond in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, Nov. 1.
H&M is set to open this Thursday, Oct. 22 at Southdale Center in Edina. As is tradition for the fast fashion chain, the store will open with fanfare at noon, allowing time for excitement to build, music to get louder, employees to dance and, as is often the case, shoppers to line up. When the Twin Cities first H&M opened at Mall of America, the line extended out the door with people who waited hours just to say they were among the first in the door (those who didn't wait in line entered right behind them). But when store No. 2 opened in Woodbury, the scene was much more subdued. Southdale needs this. Wouldn't be surprised to see mall management execs out there dancing with the H&M crew. Will shoppers follow suit? The first 100 get discounts and a gift card worth anywhere for $10 to $100. I'd wait at least a few minutes for that.
I got a sneak peek of the new StyledLife at the Galleria in Edina and was most impressed – not just by the dynamic space, but the thought that went into planning every last detail down to the juxtaposed glass panels to suggest both a masculine and feminine aesthetic. Owner Kevin Quinn has put everything into this gorgeous new store and it shows. Beyond the superhero-sized door and cool, clean ambiance are a lot of insightful decisions sure to make a big difference without the average customer having the faintest idea. Some SL secrets:
Two doors. If you miss – or are intimidated by – the enormous main entrance, there's another way in just a few feet away. The Galleria resisted, but Quinn convinced them it would make a difference. So many people look, hesitate, but keep walking, he observed in his old space. "I honestly believe I could have made hundreds more sales if I had a second point of entry." Now, he'll find out.
Commerce Free Zone. He could have filled this space with $50,000 worth of designer bags. Instead, Quinn made the conscious decision to devote prime floor space to an inspiration wall. There's a bulletin board of cool designs, a statement about the store, information about charitable giving and the element sure to garner the most attention: a desk where visitors are invited to write down their "fashion fears." Best one each month is worth a $50 store gift card. Brilliant.
Branding. Lots of stores sell accessories. Not a lot of independent accessories stores specialize in designer brands. To make the distinction clear, the big names – Valentino, Pucci, Missoni – will be tastefully identified along the wall. Not only to let you know the store has them, but to make shopping easy for the luxury customer who knows what she wants and doesn't want to be bothered.
The reality shelf. We love the look, but not all of us can afford it. SL offers some less expensive (still not cheap) options, but you won't find them side to side with the designer goods. When Quinn tried placing designer scarf next to less expensive scarf, the pricey one didn't sell. Even a customer willing and able to drop $350 is going to have second thoughts when confronted with the $100 option. So the "fashion" alternatives will have their own section further back in the store.
The $68 necklace. SL didn't have these when it opened three years ago. But times have changed and so has the customer's mindset. The $68 price point is one Quinn finds most shoppers see as accessible. It's an amount you might spend on a whim. Knowing those items are there puts customers at ease about the more expensive goods they are then more likely to buy.
The $38 and $48 sunglasses. You'd expect a store selling $1,200 handbags to offer equally luxurious shades. Nope. There are plenty of places to get those. And Quinn knows his customer is making choices. Splurge on the bag; go budget friendly on the glasses. His have the designer look without the price since they are manufactured in the same factory that makes Prada.
The three-way. Mirror, that is. It didn't dawn on Quinn he'd need one of these in a store that doesn't sell clothes, but a woman wants the full view, even when considering a bag, a scarf, a belt. Now she'll have it.
StyledGift. This is a new category that Quinn finally has space to introduce, but he's doing it in a very disciplined way. You'll only find gifts that tie back to fashion, like a purse hanger or pretty compact.
The front desk. It took a lot of convincing for this one to fly at the notoriously strict Galleria, but Quinn is a firm believer in having staff positioned where they can greet every customer – without getting in their face.
StyledLook. At the back of the store is a generous space for the other critical piece of Quinn's business: wardrobe consulting. It's quiet and can be closed off. Here, Quinn and his associates will work one on one with women who want help getting their life and look, well, styled. Take advantage of the free 30-minute session.
StyledLife has announced the opening date for its new store at the Galleria: Friday, Oct. 9. Finally – more space for the jewelry, bags, belts and scarves to really shine, and room for new categories, like leggings. Can't wait to see it!
It's gotta be the animal crackers. How else to explain Hot Mama bucking the boutique blahs and expanding at a time when so many local retailers are downsizing or closing? Hot Mama just announced plans to open its 12th location (fifth in the Twin Cities) at Rosedale Plaza in Roseville. The store will open Nov. 4. But first, on Oct. 22, Hot Mama will unveil a new, larger store at 50th & France in Edina. Hot Mama is moving down the block to the old Acorn space where there will be room for maternity and regular fit to combine (now they are across the hall from each other). Hot Mama sells contemporary women's fashions including a lot of designer denim and accessories often seen on celebs. The store understands what makes women in their 30s and beyond feel sexy. But more than that, Hot Mama knows the key to a shopper's wallet is her children. Ply 'em with snacks, provide them with toys and even have salespeople double as babysitters – then mama can shop.
I've been getting questions about the abrupt closing a few weeks ago of Galleria child/mommy clothing store Oilily, known for its funky style and considerable prices. The Galleria store was one of eight nationwide to close unexpectedly when the company filed for bankruptcy. (Twenty-five remain open as the retailer attempts to restructure its operation.) The closing caught Galleria execs off guard, too. They wouldn't comment. It's now in the hands of lawyers.