Women's Wear Daily: The MadaLuxe Group Maneuvers for Growth
The company is working the Craig Realty Group, an outlet center developer and manager, to find retail locations. June 25, 2018 by David Moin
The MadaLuxe Group is advancing its retail strategy and product scope, and has opened a 9,000-square-foot headquarters/showroom at 1370 Broadway in Manhattan’s Garment District.
The headquarters, a sleek, minimal design in cool shades of gray, is also an exercise in branding for MadaLuxe, an eight-year-old, midsize business with a unique model and several moving parts.
“We are a family-owned business and we want people to feel that,” said Sandy Sholl, executive chairman and cofounder of the MadaLuxe Group, during a tour of the facility.
“Our new headquarters and showroom provide traditional and off-price buyers with an opportunity to engage with luxury lifestyle products in an innovative atmosphere,” added Adam Freede, chief executive officer of MadaLuxe, and Sholl’s son.
Founded by Sholl and Freede in 2010, MadaLuxe is engaged in the distribution of luxury goods to off-price retailers as well as distributing luxury timepieces from Ferragamo, Versace and Versus Versace to regular-priced retailers. The owners say they are the largest distributor of timepieces to casinos, jewelry shops, Amazon and upscale stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company services the watch warranties.
On the retail front, MadaLuxe last year began opening its own boutiques, called MadaLuxe Vault, selling luxury brands at off-price including women’s and men’s apparel, accessories and footwear. A 3,000-square-foot shop opened last year at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, Calif., and a 3,500-square-foot shop will open in San Clemente, Calif., at 101 W Avenida Vista Hermosa, in about two weeks. The company has been working with the Craig Realty Group, an outlet center developer and manager, on determining additional locations in the 3,000-square-foot-range. “We are trying to be thoughtful and deliberate in how and when we select locations,” Freede said, adding he’s seeking shorter-term leases, kick-out clauses and “maximum flexibility.”
MadaLuxe is also engaged in drop-shipping direct-to-consumers shopping Nordstrom, Saks and other retailers; has been operating e-commerce since November, and has an investment arm, which went in with Hilco Global among other companies to acquire the Haute Hippie label in 2015.
On the product side, categories will be added to the assortment, including eyewear. “We plan to make a complete lifestyle direct-to-consumer website,” said Freede.
At the new showroom, there’s a spacious reception area with bar seating, espresso machines and juices, to encourage lingering and mingling with MadaLuxe employees while viewing the merchandise. There are areas for designer handbags, eyewear, clothing, footwear, and timepieces; a 7-foot touch screen for the MadaLuxe web site and printed Gucci scarves displayed on the walls. A Hollywood director’s movie set lamp adds a curious welcoming touch to the setting and hints at the company’s West Coast roots.
“We were tasked with creating a space of various programs that could harmonize together within a bound footprint under tight time constraints,” said Eric Bourassa, partner in SSuperette, the design firm that created the new MadaLuxe space. “Reception, showroom, bar, retail display, presentation space, open workstations and private offices had to become one. The design focused on how these programs could be defined without limiting the flexibility of use. Every space had to be able to wear three hats or more.”
MadaLuxe previously operated out of three locations in the city, which are now consolidated into 1370 Broadway. The company continues to operate out of its original West Coast headquarters in Seal Beach, Calif., where there is an 80,000-square-foot logistics facility.
Last year, the company generated about $200 million in combined retail and wholesale sales. “Business is really good,” said Freede. “We have had a really aggressive sales plan, but every division has hit their goals. We’re in the two best sectors in the fashion industry — luxury and off-price.”