NEW YORK, United States — A signature Los Angeles brand is setting up shop outside of California. Jenni Kayne — who launched her namesake label 16 years ago at the age of 19 with funding from her father, investor Richard Kayne — has since cemented herself as a purveyor of a clean, laid-back and sophisticated Southern California lifestyle that counts Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore among its Hollywood fans.
But the formerly wholesale-dependent label is entering a new chapter: this summer, Jenni Kayne reduced the prices of apparel collections by 30 percent to $150 to $650 and began shifting to a direct-to-consumer only business model. The collections also evolved to more casual, uniform pieces. “We wanted the collection to be more accessible to a broader group of women,” says chief executive Julia Hunter, who joined the company four years ago from J.Crew. She has shifted the brand away from wholesale, which only currently accounts for 10 percent of sales. (Stockists include Neiman Marcus and The Line.)
Last month, Jenni Kayne also launched its first collection of home goods (starting off with cosy slippers, candles and blankets, with baby home products, furniture and dinnerware following in 2018), that Hunter expects will soon represent 50 percent or more of sales.
“We’d always known there was something to work with there,” says Hunter about the launch, citing Kayne’s passion for hosting and interior design. While Hunter declined to share revenue, she said Jenni Kayne has tripled revenue in the last three years and expects to double sales in 2018.
The changes are coming to fruition at Jenni Kayne’s first New York store in Tribeca (its sixth overall) opening on Monday, where the home goods collection will be prominently featured. In the vein of other digital native brands like Bonobos and MM.LaFleur, no inventory will be available on site. Instead, the brand will ship product to customers with free and expedited shipping.
“First and foremost, it’s going to serve as a place for us to introduce people to the content of the brand,” says Hunter, using Jenni Kayne’s ongoing craft workshops and speaker series as examples of the experiential offerings that the store will offer. In addition to welcoming shoppers, the store’s lower floor will serve as an event and showroom for press and buyers.
Jenni Kayne first tested the showroom model this last month when it sent a renovated Airstream trailer across the country to set up shop in different cities in celebration of the launch of the home goods collection. While the brand does not have plans to open more stores at this time, the trailer may find a more permanent home in a new city once its road trip is complete.