Online fashion and fine jewelry retailer Charm & Chain opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store Feb. 3—a showroom concept on Broadway attached to its brand-new corporate office.
Online-only retailers opening physical locations is officially a trend—one that JCK senior editor Rob Bates delved into here. Blue Nile, Gemvara, and BaubleBar are among the online-only retailers who have set up pop-up or permanent retail outposts in the last year.
Charm & Chain was founded by Ali Galgano in 2008 and deals primarily in designer contemporary jewelry from fashion-y brands including Tom Binns, Lulu Frost, Alexis Bittar, and Pamela Love.
Galgano, 30, says she’s seen the category grow “astronomically” since she launched the site. “The concept of a one-stop shop at an affordable price has really caught on with our consumers.”
The wall of festooned busts at the new Charm & Charm showroom (courtesy of Charm & Chain)
Though she never saw herself becoming a clicks-and-bricks retailer, Galgano says the business “got to a point where we had so many friends and customers asking to see the pieces in person. We have a big New York City [clientele].”
The 1,300-square-foot space is nearly a mirror-reflection of its online sister, inventory wise. “Our mission was to make it a living, breathing Charm & Chain,” she says, adding, “our products are so bright and colorful and they certainly pop online—but sometimes a web page can’t do a piece justice. There’s something about feeling it and trying it on.”
The decor of the shop and office space was designed by Jeremiah Brent, fiancé of TV star and interior designer Nate Berkus, who is an investor in Charm & Chain. Walking in the front door, shoppers are greeted by a wall of large mannequin busts draped in buckets of bling. Gold chandeliers swing from the ceiling, and walls are covered in a retro-cool Kelly Wearstler geometic print wallpaper. One entire wall acts as a mood board, tacked with vintage and modern style photos.
Charm & Chain’s current home page (courtesy of Charm & Chain)
Galgano hopes the shop will ultimately give the site a more defined persona. “Shopping online can be so anonymous,” she says. “You have no idea who’s selling and packing an shipping. In the store, you’ll see people picking and packing as you’re looking at jewelry. We thought kind of along the lines of what Warby Parker is doing in its store. [The store] will give us more of a brand identity.”
The retailer, who says the sweet-spot price on her site is around $250, says in the first two weeks of being open, the store has attracted some bigger spenders. “When people come in for appointments, they’re spending more money so far.”
But “we don’t have enough data yet to see what’s really going to happen,” she explains. “Our mission is to present a highly curated collection of designer fashion jewelry. I think the store is a true representation of what we do as a brand.”
Charm & Chain, 611 Broadway, Suite 816, New York, New York.
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