JCKonline Exclusive: Shreve & Co.’s Lane Schiffman Talks About First North American Wellendorff Boutique

The co-owner of the posh San Francisco retailer dishes on why he’s giving the high-end German brand so much floor space.

The Wellendorff Boutique at Shreve & Co. in San Francisco is set to open on
October 29, marking the German brand’s first boutique in North America. The
158-year-old San Francisco-based Shreve & Co. has been carrying the gold
line for 13 years, but is now taking its relationship to the next level by
constructing a 250-square-foot Wellendorff boutique within its
5,500-square-foot store, Lane Schiffman, co-owner of Shreve & Co., told JCK in a phone interview.

The boutique, located in a windowed front corner of the store along Post
Street, will feature hardwood floors (the rest of the store is carpeted), its
own jewelry viewing areas, and a refreshment bar. New cases and furnishings are
being shipped from Germany (arriving today) to provide a European ambience. The
space will also serve as the only place in the U.S. to view the entire
Wellendorff collection—not just a handful of styles.

Christoph Wellendorff, managing partner of Wellendorff and a master goldsmith,
told the press that he chose Shreve & Co. in San Francisco as the location
of the brand’s first regional boutique because “the city has a spirit of
innovation and sophistication. I love the San Francisco passion for the arts –
the opera and ballet, and the finer things in life such as fine wine and
cuisine.”

A small number of American jewelry stores, including Huttons’ Fine Jewelry in
Maui, Hawaii, currently carry Wellendorff jewelry, which is produced in its
factory in Pforzheim, Germany in batches as small as 30 pieces a day.
Throughout the year, the brand hosts a number of collector dinners in the U.S.
in cooperation with retail partners to enable consumers to see the full line.
Other Wellendorff boutiques are located in Berlin (two), Stuttgart and Mainz,
Germany, and Hong Kong.
Though the boutique is still under construction, Schiffman spoke to JCK about the venture.
 
JCK: Why has Shreve & Co. dedicated so much space to the Wellendorff brand,
which isn’t that well known in the U.S.?

Lane Schiffman:
Schiffman’s [which owns Shreve & Co.] and Wellendorff were both founded in the same
year—1893—and share many of the same ideals. Wellendorff is a brand dedicated
to making the finest quality gold jewelry in the world, and Shreve & Co.
likes to sell the best quality in the world. Wellendorff has a very unique
product and we like the fact that it has a limited distribution. Wellendorff’s
price points, quality, and uniqueness fits Shreve & Co., and that makes it
kind of successful for us.
 
JCK: You relocated a brand and down sized its space in order to accommodate
Wellendorff; how did the affected brand respond to the decision?

LS: The Wellendorff space used to house a Mikimoto boutique with 60 linear feet
of case display. We moved Mikimoto to a back wall and are reconfiguring that
space, which will be 30 linear feet. It’s a prime space though, right to the
left of the front doors on the Grand Street side. We have a very special
relationship with Mikimoto, and it handled this decision with grace and a great
deal of integrity, and said it would make that space work. That space will be
equally successful.
 
JCK: What will the environment of the Wellendorff boutique be like?

LS: It will have a European feel to it, but built within the confines of the
classic nature of Shreve and Co. It will be a little bit of old world Europe
that’s come to Shreve. We won’t display all available items, but will have some
special things in reserve; it will be the ‘less is more’ approach. In fact, the
furniture—built in Germany—comes through customs on Friday. We will have a
special hospitality bar serving coffee and beverages, maybe even a little
champagne! And we will have museum-like display units.
 
JCK: What is the suggested retail price range of Wellendorff jewelry?

LS: From $3,600 (for a stacking spinning ring) to $100,000 and higher for
special one-off pieces.
 

A rendering of the new Wellendorff boutique within Shreve & Co. in San
Francisco. The space is scheduled to open at the end of this month, and serves
as the first Wellendorff boutique in North America.

 

The Temptation necklace is made of 18k gold and diamonds.
 

Pistachio-colored enamel and 18k gold stacking rings start at $3,900.