After 10 years of success in Japan, Cynthia Rowley has opend a 1,400-square-foot boutique in the popular and trendy Gangnam District of Seoul this month. This popular shopping district is already home to brands like Tory Burch, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade and Burberry. "It's become a real shopping destination," said Peter Arnold, president of Cynthia Rowley. The store will carry a full assortment of Rowley's apparel, bags, shoes, outerwear and jewelry.
The boutique was opened with Rowley's South Korean business partner Seokyung, the distributor for other brands such as True Religion. The company plans to open two additional shops-in-shop in major Seoul department stores this spring.
Arnold said that when he met Keoung-Aei Ha, the CEO of Seokyung, he discovered "she was a huge Cynthia Rowley fan."
"They went for all the fashion-forward things. They're really into the leggings and the whole notion of activewear," said Arnold. Most of the merchandise is made in China, with the balance in India and the U.S.
By the end of 2013, Rowley plans to open six stores in South Korea and in 2014, another four. The ten stores will be a mix of freestanding boutiques and shops-in-ships within department stores.
To build buzz, Rowley first sold of its handbags on a Web site, CJO Shopping. "What I've learned is it's a very developed market and you have a very sophisticated customer in South Korea," said Arnold. "What Cynthia is known for is her unexpected use of color, and very unique prints she designs herself. It's something women find appealing and is different from what is there now. They love the playfulness of what she does."