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Minds steps in to fill the luxury void in New York

 


Fashion enthusiasts bemoaning the loss of directional retailers such as Barneys New York and Jeffrey New York, will soon have a new multi-designer playground to explore. Two: Minds opens a 3,000-square-foot store on April 28 in the Manhattans Meatpacking district, home to venerable brands like Herms, Loro Piana, and Brunello Cucinelli.

It was sort of an obvious decision to open a store, said Jesse Dong, co-founder of Two: Minds at 34 Gansevoort Street. I started talking to my partner, Robert [Rosenthal, co-owner of Xhileration and Next in Ohio], in May. So many stores were closing, unfortunately. By the time I signed the lease, most independent retailers had closed, unfortunately.

Dong honed his skills as a buyer for eight years at Jeffrey New York, which succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic and was shut down by owner Nordstrom in May. The fact that Two: Minds is opening in the Meatpacking District around the corner from the old Jeffreys store on West 14th Street is no coincidence.

The neighborhood was so important. We were fortunate to be part of the rebirth of the Meatpacking District, said Dong, referring to the luxury brands that started migrating to the district in 2019. Gansevoort Street is perhaps the best shopping block in town. .

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I’m so lucky to have been educated in Jeffrey, Dong said. I am grateful for the knowledge, contacts and experience. If Jeffrey was a universe, I am a planet. I’m lucky to be in the same stratosphere.

The difference between Jeffrey New York and Two: Minds is the younger sensibility Dong said he brings to his store. Jeffrey and David [Rubenstein, vice president and general merchandise manager] taught me so much. Now I run with my point of view.

Men’s clothing will represent 40% of Two: Minds business. It’s super important, Dong said. I feel there is a real thirst for menswear. Many male stylists come to us.

Dong has scoured the market for rising brands like South African brand Thebe Magugu and Amina Muaddi, which will be sold alongside legacy brands like Givenchy and established designers like Stella McCartney and Tom Ford. The cornerstone of the assortment is Mary Kate and Ashley Olsens brand, The Row.

The quality of the rows is truly unmatched, Dong said. It was a great time to talk to their team. Pick up a Givenchy handbag, said Dong, The G-lock handbag is very editorial. [New brand creative director] Matthew M. Williams’ bags and materials have changed the image of Givenchys in such a positive way. It was super impactful.

Accessories and shoes are like candy, Dong said. People will be drawn to brands like Jacquemus and Khaite and choose them like popcorn. Fine jewelry is a kind of love story for me. I have been buying jewelry for years. If we want to be a true multi-brand luxury retailer, having fine jewelry is important. It’s real candy. Two: Minds will offer unique pieces by Nina Runsdorf, high jewelry Sunjay Kasliwals, Shay and Stefere.

I am lucky to be able to present fashion and very lucky to have early success. I’ve definitely seen some familiar faces, Dong said, noting that Two: Minds had sent Tastemaker boxes with products to potential customers. I have an amazing GM who was Jeffrey’s GM. It’s nice to work with people you know.

Dong has carefully chosen every aspect of the Two: Minds brand and marketing. An olive shade is the retailer’s signature color, seen on shopping bags and postcards, which feature a line drawing of the storefront, and passed on to the e-commerce site, designed by Lemonade, the company that built the site for Gwyneth Paltrows Goop. Well, have very editorial stories and a smooth omnichannel experience, he said.

White brick walls allow the product to speak, Dong said, adding that green marble will punctuate dressing rooms and exquisite jewelry displays. Contemporary French rugs and furnishings will make guests feel like they’re in Carrie Bradshaws ‘apartment, Dong said, referring to Sarah Jessica Parkers’ character in Sex and the City.

This is not an occasional reference. Dong shares Bradshaw’s obsession with shoes. Muaddi is without a doubt the most fashionable line of footwear in the world, he said. I had a relationship with them at Jeffrey’s. I’m excited to launch Peter Do in the fall. He’s already the next new name. Im offering a huge selection of shoes.

You only have one chance to say hello to the customer, Dong said. Let’s take the time to say, hello.

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