Monday, February 15, 2010

Kate and Andy Spade in NY Mag

Great article on Kate and Andy Spade in New York Magazine.

Excerpt on how Branding should be done:
Engaged by J.Crew in 2008 to reimagine that company’s approach to menswear, Andy and his partner, Anthony Sperduti, suggested putting a J.Crew shop in an out-of-business Tribeca bar called the Liquor Store, which still had its vintage sign out front. They insisted that no J.Crew sign replace it and that the original bar remain, with the register behind it, and that the mantel be decorated with toy soldiers from Andy’s personal collection. Music must come from a stereo whose dials and knobs would be visible to customers, and the speakers should emit just enough crackle to remain credibly lo-fi. There should be three colors of a T-shirt, say, rather than eighteen. Inside the closet-size dressing rooms, there should be “exhibitions” by downtown artists and photographers. There should be books chosen from the Strand, and a mug full of pencils munched on by famous writers (like Max Blagg) for sale as well. The staff shouldn’t come from the world of retail, but preferably from the world of art or high design.

J.Crew did it all—a massive departure for a company whose stores are mostly in shopping malls. According to J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, the Liquor Store “far exceeded” expectations. “Far, far exceeded!” Andy Spade’s explanation, the key, he says, to his marketing success?

“The bigger you get, the smaller you act.”

 Partners & Spade with Andy's comments:

1. This painting is “called The Pilgrim, and it’s by a child. I got it at a garage sale in Kansas City. It looks like a Donald Bachelor.” On sale for $450.

2.I love vintage helmets; I used to ride dirt bikes as a kid, so I guess it’s a nostalgic thing for me. We got it on eBay.” $250.

3.We found that on the street. It looked like a Joseph Beuys. It doesn’t play, though. Not for sale— no one would want it!”

4.We found it at a flea market in London. It’s a turn-of-the-century umbrella. It might’ve cost us a few hundred dollars. It reminded me of Mary Poppins.” $900.

5.We sell ‘Your Ad Here’ space ($3,000 a month) as an indoor billboard to companies like HarperCollins. We thought it would be a funny way to subsidize the rent.”

6. “The big globe is from the boardroom of Cartier ($14,000, the highest-priced item in the store, which is why it hasn’t sold!). They all come from George Glazer, a specialist.”

7. “We had a show here—the bike as sculpture—and an artist, Benedict Radcliffe, made this one. I love the fluorescent combination of colors.” $3,200.

8. “ The stapler collection is from a friend of ours named J. P. Williams. He also collects run-over gloves from the street and photographs them.” $100 to $200.

9. “The T-shirts were handmade by Noah Britton. They’re used T-shirts with Sharpie-pen sayings on them. He didn’t want to sell them for more than $5, so we said, ‘Okay, we’ll get $2.50, you’ll get $2.50.’ ”


  1. The Liquor Store is great. I never realized it was Andy Spade's idea.

  2. And now they are opening their 4th men's store, what a great job they have done on this venture.

    Smiles at you for the rest of the week!