Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stylemaker Q&A

Jenny Condon, owner of JC Madison
2140 West Greenview Drive Ste. 1, Middleton. 824-9715. jcmadison.com

Condon opened JC Madison just over three years ago and her business is still doing very well—even after a name change (formerly called Allure) and a move to the Greenway Industrial Park this month (the shop was originally located in Greenway Station). The business specializes in high-end handbags and jewelry, and also carries a small clothing inventory.

Why did you move out of Greenway Station?
We were actually looking to get into a different space. We had a huge space [at Greenway] but such a small back area. We needed a bigger back area for shipping and the office and the website type of stuff. Our lease ended with Greenway and we took the opportunity to move quickly and move right away.
[Now] we have two thousand square feet but a huge warehouse space in the back, offices, a dressing room and bathroom. There is also a front showroom area.

How much of your business is from the web, and how much is from the storefront?
I’d say eighty/twenty. Eighty percent is website, twenty percent store. But moving out here, we don’t know what to anticipate so we’re going to work on events once we get settled in here.

Why do you think the website is doing so well?
Because we carry a lot of the brands of handbags, jewelry and accessories that are really wanted; not everyone can sell these bags online and not everyone can open an account with these brands online. (Ed’s note: handbag brands include Kooba, Botkier, Gustto and Isabella Fiore).
They [the brands] just don’t want to be oversaturated online. If everybody could sell them, then their bags wouldn’t do as well because they’d be everywhere. These brands want to promote their exclusivity. There are only a few of that one bag out there, not five hundred.

Where do you go to buy your merchandise?
I go to New York at least a few times a year. Our showrooms are there. I also go to a couple of the shows. I talk with the brands a lot on the phone and over e-mail.

What qualities do you look for in what you sell?
We look for unique and up-and-coming designers and ones that are in our “tier.” We’re kind of in that middle tier, like $500–$700 handbags. We’re in the basic designer category. Really high end is like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada.
I don’t like to get anything too low either because then you get into copies and lower quality. We look for really well designed handbags.

What new items will you be carrying this spring besides handbags?
We’re picking up a new jewelry line called Jules Smith I met her; she lives in the Virgin Islands and does really fun sterling silver and 14K gold-plated stuff over sterling silver. She does very fun things—hoops that are really funky, cuffs, lots of bangles; an anchor pendant. We’re picking up a lot of her jewelry. $70–$300

For sunglasses, we sell Mosley Tribes, or Oliver Peoples’ trendier brand. We sell tons of their sunglasses. Reese Witherspoon was seen wearing their “Aviatrix” aviators. We do really, really well with those. We have them exclusively online and they’re not opening up any other accounts. Aviatrix aviator sunglasses (shown in link above), $275.

What are the spring handbag trends?
We were just at the shows and just saw a lot of new, fun bags.
Everyone’s still doing patent.
Every single designer has a few large clutches, even for day. We’re ordering some light yellow bags in some smaller size bags and clutches.
I saw long chains on little bags, like a Chanel bag but with a long chain.
Nylon—which is really weird (laughs), but only one or two designers have done it but it’s going to be big. These bags have leather trim and they’re just some really amazing cool, fun and bright bags.
This is a huge trend—going with the whole green theme. People are doing [shopping bags] in a light leather and then you can pull it out of your handbag … A couple of them are more like a canvas bag and then a couple of other designers do leather.

Why do you think trends are lasting longer? For example, I know patent and large clutches have been popular for a while.
It does depend on the trend. If they’re difficult to make it to the mainstream, it probably won’t last.
Something like patent is timeless. A nice, white patent is really pretty and black patent will look really pretty with florals.

What clothing is being paired with these handbags you’ve talked about?
It’s still going to be very similar but not the same as last spring: tights, leggings, dresses, tunics and gladiator sandals.
When I was at the New York show every single girl had flat boots with leggings or tights. It was unbelievable. It’s nice because you can wear a flat boot but still look trendy and comfortable.

What new handbags are you going to pick up for yourself?
Isabella Fiore is coming out with a really awesome shoulder bag and baby bag. It has tattoo print on the leather and it says “free spirit” with a bird or flower. It’s really funky; it’s cool. Free Spirit Lulu tote, $395.
Rebecca Minkoff is doing the chain clutches like the Chanel ones. It’s a clutch with a long chain so you can wear it on your shoulder or messenger-style. Rachel Bilson was spotted with one. Clutch, $325.
Gustto is the brand with the nylon bag. They have a bright orange, pink or blue bag in a really neat shape with patent on the top. It’s a nylon shoulder bag. ~$400.

Sunglasses and jewelry are in stock now; spring looks start arriving in-store February 28, with some arriving later in March or April.

1 comment:

robby 1 said...

i definetly need to pick up some Mosley Tribes yall sell alot of good thing !