Joie, the Los Angeles-based contemporary brand, has major plans to expand to as many as 15 stores throughout the country over the next year. To start those plans, Joie has already opened second locations in New York and California in SoHo and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood to bring its total number of U.S. stores to four.
"Lately, we have been known for tops in silk, but we do more than that. We do shoes. We do handbags. We have outerwear, leather, trousers. You need a showcase. The only way to do that is to open stores," said Serge Azria, owner and creative director of Joie.
In addition to the 1,640-square-foot store on Melrose and the 2,300-square-foot store on Wooster St., Joie has already scouted New York's Meatpacking District and the California cities of Pasadena and San Francisco for future locations. They plan to put stores in or close to busy retail areas but don't want to spend money on the most expensive real estate. For example, the Joie Madison Ave. store is located between 87th and 88th Streets, just outside the pricier 57th and 72nd Street section.
"They will open strategically in different places," said Azria of upcoming stores. "We will stay that way, testing and studying to see how it works and doesn't work. We spend some time before going forward. The goal is not to be a huge retailer and open stores everywhere, absolutely not. We are very happy the way our company is structured."
Joie's interior designs vary slightly in each location but are all influenced by Southern California lifestyles and Parisian pieds-à-terre.
Industry sources estimate that the Joie store on Wooster Street will generate $2.5 million and the Melrose Avenue store will generate $1.6 million in first-year sales. When the brand opened on Madison Avenue last May, industry sources estimated the store would generate $1.5 million in first-year sales. Azria said it surpassed that amount by $100,000, and he remarked that the Wooster Street store has already done "very well" in its initial days.
Some of Joie's recent bestsellers included a leather jacket, three footwear styles and a cashmere piece. "I was really surprised. It is great because they are all quite new categories in our collections, and it is not the Habitual silk tops or dressy tops. That means that people come to us now not just to buy one top," said Azria.
Joie is carried at 1,000 wholesale doors worldwide, notably Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. This year, Azria said the brand has grown more than 30 percent. "We don't try to get crazy high-priced. We know exactly where our market is, and we don't play with that," he said. "This year, we refused about 2,000 orders because we really want to stay with stores that we do business with at the high end. We don't want to go lower. We still did more than 30 percent even doing that."