Vince Marks 20th Anniversary with Exclusive Collection and Center Stage Installation at Nordstrom

Vince Marks 20th Anniversary with Exclusive Collection and Center Stage Installation at Nordstrom

Vince continues to celebrate its 20th anniversary with the launch of an immersive installation at Nordstrom’s evolving Center Stage shop on the first floor of its New York City flagship.

The installation coincides with the introduction of an exclusive 20th Anniversary collection, as reported last month, which is being sold at 10 Nordstrom locations and on The capsule collection and Center Stage installation are being celebrated Wednesday night with an in-store event and private dinner.

Focused on fan favorites, the 46-piece collection includes women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories and is characterized by a bold injection of color. The capsule has a special logo treatment on sweaters, wovens and accessories and a unique tag to note the limited-edition anniversary product.

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The Center Stage installation was designed with fabric pebbles evoking the California coastline and sheer circular panels representing the timeless appeal of the Los Angeles-inspired collections. Video and photography will also be projected onto the installation, spotlighting California creatives, Vince fans and longtime Vince employees. The installation will stay up at the flagship until Nov. 5.

The women’s rtw ranges from $295 to $1,495, while the men’s rtw goes from $325 to $695. Key looks include leather cropped flares and collared silk blouses for women and brushed alpaca wool cardigans for men.

The Center Stage shop is designed to evoke Vince’s California roots.

“We are thrilled to mark this milestone moment with Nordstrom, which has been instrumental in the success of our brand from the beginning,” said Jack Schwefel, chief executive officer of Vince. “This exclusive collection and Center Stage installation is a celebration of the very best of Vince and we can’t wait to share it with the dedicated and loyal Nordstrom community who has enthusiastically embraced our brand over the past 20 years.”

Following a special model presentation and cocktail event on Wednesday will be a private dinner at Wolf, the store’s restaurant, hosted by Vince chief creative officer Caroline Belhumeur.

Some of the Vince sweaters.

Shoppers have the opportunity to document their experience with the collection and installation by using the #ILoveVince hashtag. Installation visitors will also have the chance to monogram limited-edition Vince + Nordstrom tote bags with a purchase from the collection. The Vince 20th Anniversary collection and experience will be available at select Nordstrom locations until Nov. 15.

Virgil Abloh to Be Celebrated in Nordstrom’s Latest Pop-up

Virgil Abloh to Be Celebrated in Nordstrom’s Latest Pop-up

Nordstrom is dedicating its latest New Concepts@Nordstrom shop to late designer Virgil Abloh.On Thursday, the retailer in partnership with Abloh’s estate, will unveil Concept 018: Virgil Abloh Securities, which will encompass a variety of his endeavors in fashion, art and culture. The shop will include pieces from his apparel brand Off-White, as well as his creative studio Alaska Alaska, art store Canary Yellow and the Church & State merchandise from Abloh’s “Figures of Speech” exhibition on display at the Brooklyn Museum.
Virgil Abloh Securities is a creative corporation founded by the designer, who died in December at the age of 41 after a two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, that hopes to maintain his approach and ethos.

Nordstrom is a sponsor of the exhibition at the museum that runs through Jan. 29, 2023 and the campaign images for the Concept 018 shop were shot outside of the Brooklyn landmark. The retailer partnered with the museum on the exhibition opening party in June, as well as on the “Brooklyn Talk” series that honored the legacy of Abloh. Throughout the duration of the exhibition and the New Concepts shop, Nordstrom will continue to partner on events and activations with the Brooklyn Museum including the Social Sculptures series featuring Jian DeLeon, men’s fashion and editorial director at Nordstrom, and the Teen Night programming where Nordstrom will participate in a mentorship session.

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Sam Lobban, Nordstrom’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel and designer, who launched the New Concepts concept, said: “We are excited and honored to bring Concept 018: Virgil Abloh Securities to fruition. We started working on the project with Virgil and his team back in March 2021, and hope that the end result can help in celebrating his passion, energy and purpose which he brought to every endeavor. We’re grateful to Shannon Abloh and the Virgil Abloh Securities team for the opportunity and are excited for our customers to be able to participate in continuing his legacy.”

The retailer is a sponsor of the Abloh exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

The shop features men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories. It includes an exclusive capsule from Off-White with embroidered T-shirts and hoodies, varsity jackets, track pants and a check shirt and matching kilt for men, and dresses, cropped T-shirts, sweatshirts, overshirts and lace dégradé tops and pants for women. Prices range from $400 for the cropped T-shirts to $4,465 for an embroidered Strass varsity jacket. There are also baseball caps for $330, dégradé sneakers for $605, bags for $1,935 and the Paperwork fragrance for $185.
The Canary Yellow offering includes T-shirts with an Abloh stripe for $55, a Virgil Abloh Securities logo or the quote: “Design is the Freshest Scam” for $65, as well as grip tape for $28, a candle for $15 and keychains for $12. There’s also a Denim Tears x Canary Yellow hoodie and T-shirt.
Other pieces in the shop include a collaboration with skateboarder Sal Barbier that includes T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, jeans, a cap and sneakers ranging in price from $335 to $940 and a selection of skateboards retailing for $545.
The Figures of Speech/Brooklyn Museum line, which includes children’s apparel as well as adult, ranges from T-shirts and hoodies and track pants to mugs, totes, postcards and stickers that range in price from $9 to $130.

In addition to the shop and exhibit, Nordstrom is making a donation to the Fashion Scholarship Fund’s Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund to foster equity and inclusion in the fashion industry by providing scholarships to students of academic promise of Black, African American or African descent. The fund will include a direct donation to selected scholars and the opportunity for them to be mentored by Nordstrom executives on the retail part of the fashion industry.
Concept 018: Virgil Abloh Securities will be available at 15 Nordstrom locations around the country including the men’s store in New York, the Seattle flagship, units in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, as well as online.
Previous Concept pop-ups have included those devoted to sports as well as brands Fear of God, Pangaia and Thom Browne.

Sizing Up Department Stores and the Survival Instinct

Sizing Up Department Stores and the Survival Instinct

Department stores are fewer in number, still downsizing, but not extinct.Coming off of recent restructurings, heady digital growth, channel integrations and a lot of introspection, the sector has turned a corner, and around the world department stores — from Macy’s and Nordstrom in the U.S., to Germany’s Galeria and Rustan’s in the Philippines — are in varying degrees of transformation.
A retail sector that’s resilient and getting progressive came across at the Global Department Store Summit, organized by the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, this month, where presentations and conversations centered on ESG, redefining the workplace, reinvention and renewal, not recession. Retailers’ unwavering optimism was evident, leaving looming uncertainties for the near term more on the sidelines than center stage.

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“It’s upbeat,” said Pete Nordstrom, the president and chief brand officer of Nordstrom Inc., when asked about the mood at the summit. “People are really appreciating being able to get together in person, in the same room. There is a sense of camaraderie. The world has become a smaller place. We are all sharing the same challenges and the same issues, whether it’s dealing with the supply chain or working on sustainability. Everyone is battle-tested.”
“We’ve got members 400 years old, 100 years old. How these businesses have survived and recreated themselves is what this conference is all about,” said Andre Maeder, IGDS president and chief executive officer of the KaDeWe Group in Germany.

Pete Nordstrom speaks with Levi’s Chip Bergh.

Nordstrom CEO Erik Nordstrom speaking with Kevin Johnson, former CEO of Starbucks USA.

During the two-day event, hosted by Nordstrom Inc. at the Sheraton Grand in downtown Seattle, while content-rich, the “R” word never surfaced, at least on stage. Why not go there?
“Look, retailers just went through the biggest recession,” explained Simon Susman, honorary president of Woolworth Holdings in South Africa, referring to two years of COVID-19. “They had ongoing rental payments. They were managing bank debt. They were giving out salaries in most cases. They are indeed battle-hardened.”
Susman’s point: retailers are better equipped now to deal with another possible recession than two years ago, and are feeling the moment, with the pandemic on the wane and shoppers returning to stores to replenish their wardrobes. So why not take in the best practices as told by the summit speakers?
“For the last 25 years, the messaging has been department stores are dead, but everyone that is here has survived,” Susman said. “If you are true to what you stand for, invest in your business, make it magical, and think of how you can make the world better, then customers will love to come to your stores.”
“This was a reasonably happy crowd telling us that things are pretty good. I liked the upbeat tempo but I think they were being myopic,” said Shah Karim, CEO of SafeRock, a consulting and technology firm, presenting a different perspective. “Pocketbooks are getting hit hard. Consumers have less discretionary spending. Financial realities were hidden behind the conversations, which were positive. Because of performances of the last year or two, you can effectively paint a very rosy picture now, but the truth isn’t really matching up. Of course, my interest [as a strategic adviser] is to understand who is in trouble. But there was some very good content presented at the conference.”

The event, held June 9 and 10, was themed “Retailing From the Outside-In” and drew some 250 leaders and senior officials from department stores, brands, suppliers and service companies. For its “Toys for Toys” program, Paris in Chile was awarded “the world’s best sustainability/corporate social responsibility campaign” by a department store last year. The annual IGDS summit was not held in 2021 or 2020 due to the pandemic.
Among the key takeaways from the event:

Department stores have a future; perceptions of being “dinosaurs” are passé.
Environmental, social and governance is good for business; retailers and brands must simplify the language of ESG so it’s less technical and consumers can readily understand goals and accomplishments.
In a data and digitally driven world, retail is still about providing experiences.
Companies are grappling with how to remake the workplace with a balance of office and remote situations to attract and retain talent and get the most productivity out of the workforce.

The Workforce and the Workplace
“Millennials and Gen Zers expect to have a voice at the table. They want to bring their ideas and energies to a project without being asked,” said Pete Shimer, chief operating officer of Deloitte USA, discussing leadership. “For them, leadership is about influence rather than authority.
“Sometimes we view the younger generation as being entitled. I don’t. It’s about creating enthusiasm and a sense of ownership that ought to be embraced. The war for talent is real. Two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Z say they will not take a job unless there is a corporate responsibility program.
“The chief purpose officer is going to be the next C-suite role,” Shimer said. “C-suite executives very much believe companies that pursue purpose beyond profit are more successful than those that pursue profit alone.”
Regarding shifts on where employees work from, accelerated by COVID-19, “It’s all about creating the right flexibility and right balance. We did a survey of our employees. Seventy-five percent really wanted to have both an in-person and remote work experience, but one in five said in-person connections with colleagues are difficult to form in this awkward time determining what this hybrid means. I believe you are going to find a balance in the middle. Gen Z is the hardest generation to get back in the office but need it the most, but the best they will do is give you two days a week.”

“The labor shortage is growing, fueled by Boomer retirements,” said Leslie McNamara, managing director, specialty partners, Citi Retail Services USA. “Boomers were the greatest workforce. They invented things like the 80-hour work week. They invented madmen. They found their passion and joy through work. They believed in companies. Many are working into their 70s, saying it keeps them young, connected. Then COVID[-19] happened and they found out they could get their passion, or fulfillment, from places other than work.”
McNamara said 11 million jobs are open and one in three won’t be filled. “Millennials are three times more likely to leave a job than Boomers; retention strategies will be less effective and recruiting strategies are likely not fast enough,” he warned.
“A physical presence is part of the recipe that makes for good communications,” said Pete Nordstrom. “We are trying to find that balance. It’s not going back to what it was. People have different needs and we want to be responsive to that. We have to be explicit about expectations so people can plan their lives.”
“We are all trying to figure it out. It’s arguably one of the great social experiments of our time,” said Levi Strauss president and CEO Chip Bergh.
Reinventing the Store
“Stores need to be more relevant,” said Stephen Spencer from John Lewis Partnership in the U.K., who holds the unusual title of director for the store of the future. John Lewis has embarked on a five-year overhaul calling for new financial targets, remaking the mix, simplifying the customer journey, better way-finding, and “joyful storytelling and immersive product experiences,” said Spencer. “We’ve got one million skus and an operating model that is dated.” The company generates 10.5 billion pounds in annual turnover, runs 36 department stores, 340 supermarkets, four main distribution centers and 26 local distribution centers, as well as farms, hotels and golf courses. For the department stores, Spencer stressed “the importance of not having one size fits all, local relevancy and changing the typical layout.”
“What makes a place an attraction, an experience? Sometimes it’s just mystical, mystery, just creating art,” said architect Kevin Roche, who worked on the redesign of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned La Samaritaine department store in Paris, where he had the luxury of reporting directly to the board and chairman Bernard Arnault instead of real estate or operations. “It was the pinnacle of my career to be recognized that design is a key strategic asset.…Trying things that are the unexpected comes from design thinking. You may not get the ROI [return on investment] as high but you get a more interesting experience. PricewaterhouseCoopers believes it’s time to introduce another metric, a focus on the consumer experience.”

For inspiration in recreating Samaritaine, “We examined hospitality, not other department stores. Seldom breakthroughs come from watching each other. The beauty category is where department stores can be really exciting and break away.”
“Customer service has been our North Star since the beginning,” said Jamie Nordstrom, chief stores officer of Nordstrom Inc. “The trick is to keep it simple, continuing to find ways to make service simple. Convenience is a big part of it. Convenience is a luxury. Service in the future depends on how digital and stores make each other better. A liberal return policy in my mind is the single best selling tool.”
“Department stores are very important points of distribution, even though they represent less than 20 percent of our global business,” said Pierre-Yves Roussel, CEO of Tory Burch. “The beauty of the department store is that it offers a customer a multibrand environment. We have a significant database on how customers that shop online and in the store spend three to four times more than a single channel customer.…At the same time we think it is very important to preserve the one brand concept. This has not been the way most fashion brands have operated, especially in department stores,” opting instead to have diffusion lines and licensing agreements. “In my experience that’s not a winning formula. It creates confusion, complexity and cost.”

Bienvenido Tantoco 3rd

“Rustan’s needs to become transformative, whatever changes we make must be connected to our roots. If they’re not, it’s easy to get lost,” said Bienvenido Tantoco 3rd, president of the 70-year-old, family-run Rustan Commercial Corp., which operates five department stores in the Philippines.
While Rustan’s is the leading upscale retailer in the Philippines, it’s not sufficiently resonating with the younger generation, Tantoco said. “Internal change has been slower than external change. COVID[-19] was an awakening. In this new retail Darwinism, caterpillars will die, and butterflies will fly. We’ve been snapped out of a certain sense of complacency.”
The Rustan’s flagship in Manila is being transformed in six phases over five years, with an Italian mosaic facade, a modern beauty hall, a gastronomic gallery of fresh and local ingredients for cooking, art installations, interactive experiences, a Filipino bakery, and a large landscaped sanctuary with an organic sequence of pathways, steps and decks, a grand archway, a shopping arcade, a nursery and a courtyard with a café by a lake. “We want it to be globally competitive, but a very Filipino experience,” Tantoco said. “In this Darwinistic uncertain world, we don’t know what is in store for us but we know what our mission is.”

At Galeria in Germany, which operates 131 department stores as a result of the merger of the Kartstadt and Kaufhof department stores, “We are going through heavy transformation. These two companies haven’t been profitable,” said Miguel Mullenbach, CEO of Galeria. “We still have 131 locations but we are not connected. It’s more about creating emotions and experiences than selling goods. The customer for department stores is dying. We have to rejuvenate the customer base. They’re coming in to buy beauty products, but they don’t go to the fashion department. Is there change needed in the assortment? The answer is yes. We are trading up and trending up in our assortment, to regain fashion expertise to better exploit existing customers and gain new customers.”
With Kaufhof and Karstadt, “The next step is to create a new brand, the new Galeria brand. It’s a hard discussion to get out of Karstadt and Kaufhof,” Mullenbach said. “We think the new Galeria logo can become an icon in terms of a popular brand. We believe in one strong brand across channels. So far, four units have been renamed just Galeria.”
Mullenbach said operating 131 department stores is a lot for Germany. “Years ago we had 250, maybe it will be 100 someday or 80….We have to reduce floor space to increase productivity….The main issue is there is no apparent culture because we merged from two companies. These two companies have to create one company culture, and not lose our heritage.” After his presentation, he told WWD, “Ninety percent of the business was lost during 10 months of COVID[-19]. We are not profitable.”
“If you are managing your company well, you have strong relations with suppliers and you are managing out waste, the business case is there,” said Cara Smyth, founder of the Responsible Business Coalition at Fordham University, of ESG. Buying power can force a lot of change, she said.
“We have 400 weeks before irreversible climate change is upon us in 2030. Within those 400 weeks we have a big responsibility and a big opportunity…The SEC is now asking for data on how climate change is affecting your business, and how is your business affecting climate change. The government says it’s material. Rules and regulations are changing quickly between 2024 and 2025. There will be real product information required.” A balance of providing understandable, concrete information to consumers without making it into a science list is required, she said. “The time is now to ask, ‘is my ESG data under control?’ The good news is we are all in it together, in getting done what has to be done.”

According to Smyth, while consumers are increasingly searching online for sustainable products, 44 percent feel companies make it easy for them to connect to sustainable or ethical initiatives.
“Everyone we interact with all talk about sustainability. But what does that mean? There are a zillion measurements. How can we define it more universally?” asked Pete Nordstrom.
“Sustainability is becoming a core brand attribute, requiring that we deliver meaningful impact on our footprint and tangible consumer-facing initiatives,” said Noel Kinder, chief sustainability officer at Nike Inc. “Ninety-two percent of Gen Z care about social and environmental issues; 82 percent say they’re worried about the health of the planet.”
He outlined Nike’s sustainability programs, including enabling consumers to donate shoes for recycling into other products, providing reusable bags as well as paper bags, providing no-rush shipments for a lower carbon footprint, simplifying packaging so there’s one box for both shipping and returns, and selling singlets made from recycled polyester. “Today, we are the biggest single user of recycled polyester in the industry,” Kinder said. “For 30 years sustainability has been part of Nike’s DNA.”
“Businesses exist more than just to earn a buck for a shareholder. They exist to make a difference in the world,” said Levi’s Bergh. Levi Strauss, the man himself, “the very first year he made a profit he donated a percentage to a local charity.”
The company has prioritized fighting gun violence and supports “putting common sense laws that almost all Americans support, like national background checks, red-flag laws, age restrictions on automatic weapons. What is happening is ripping the country apart,” said Bergh. In a polarized society, taking a stand on an issue makes the job of a CEO very difficult, Bergh said. “What got us into the whole gun issue was in 2016. A person in a fitting room shot himself in his foot. It could have been an employee, a customer, or a customer’s child,” said Bergh. “There are many states where a person can carry a weapon openly.”
Levi’s also takes on climate change. “If you say, let’s go solve this problem, it forces focus and discipline around the innovation process,” Bergh said. “The apparel industry is not necessarily a good guy when it comes to planet Earth. We need to double down when it comes to climate change. The important thing is consistency in how you talk about values and how you show up as a brand…..We like to say when we lead, others follow. We like to believe CEOs can make a difference.”

Kevin Johnson, special consultant and former CEO of Starbucks USA, advised, “Companies must think about their purpose in a way that goes beyond the pursuit of profit. Start with your employees, think about your customers you are serving, the community you serve. It’s capitalism taking a much broader view than driving the next quarterly results for Wall Street.
“We are starting to see investors, TPG, BlackRock, expect more from companies,” said Johnson. “Starbucks is a profit-positive company, but you can also be planet positive and a people positive company.” He said the company set three fundamental priorities during the pandemic — the health and well-being of Starbucks employees, partnering with health officials and “showing up in a positive way in every community we serve.” Starbucks drive-throughs were kept opened at a time when the Starbucks stores were temporarily closed. “We paid all of our partners whether they came to work or not. We gave them economic certainty.”
On Data
“We have been partnering with retailers on data-driven transformations,” said Shelley Branstein, corporate vice president at Microsoft USA. “Most department stores are only set up to leverage a fraction of the data.”
But there’s Walgreens, which has been “really thinking about data to improve the customer experience.” The pharmacy chain created a walk-through app so shoppers can save time looking for what they want, and works on having the right product in the right location. “Our cloud delivers 200 million predictions of what needs to be in every one of their stores every single day,” said Branstein. With Walgreens pharmacists becoming more critical through the pandemic, the chain developed the “intelligent pharmacists data platform” providing more information on those getting prescriptions and how often they come in, thereby “reducing the operational load and elevating customer engagements,” Branstein said.
She also commended Marks & Spencer. “They lowered the boundaries between the top floor and the bottom floor,” so to speak, by creating an app for CEOs to get direct feedback from store associates on what’s working or not working.
Ken Worzel, Nordstrom’s chief customer officer, said the company uses data in logistics to speed up deliveries and lower delivery costs by finding the best routes and place inventory where the demand is. Nordstrom has an “outfitter” technology utilizing data analytics on products and customers to generate outfitting advice. “We can do it at scale, rather than doing it manually for every customer. Customers don’t know whether it’s generated by stylists or through the algorithm. It generates outfits relevant across a vast set of occasions. Style boards are sent to customers. It’s been live for the last couple of years. We will continue to iterate on this. What’s next for us? Bringing in more context around product.”

British Jeweler Missoma’s Demi-Fine Dreams Are Coming True

British Jeweler Missoma’s Demi-Fine Dreams Are Coming True

LONDON — Fine jewelry has been flying in these hard times and so have demi-fine designs, according Marisa Hordern, who has seen Missoma‘s sales rocket from 1 million pounds to 33 million pounds in the past five years.Since the company’s founding in 2008, Hordern’s strategy has been to stay close to her Millennial and Gen Z audience, strike up long-term relationships with influencers and collaborators and move with the cycles of the economy.
Hordern knows that 150 pounds is a sweet price point, and that as soon as it creeps up “sales start to drop off.” She also believes that silver will become more mainstream in the next six months “because anytime you have economic uncertainty, silver will follow gold,” while delicate jewelry, she believes, is always popular in the wake of a recession.

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On April 23, Hordern was recognized for her business smarts and her sensitivity to trends with Missoma scooping a Queen’s Award for International Trade. Specifically, the award recognizes Missoma’s short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years.
A Queen’s Award is a big deal in the U.K., with businesses applying, submitting their balance sheets and strategies and competing in categories such as innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Marisa Hordern, founder of Missoma.
Courtesy image

Missoma has been a pioneer in demi-fine jewelry, which is made from sterling silver, gold vermeil and semiprecious stones, and looks more expensive than it is. For the consumer, demi-fine designs have a similar appeal to contemporary fashion, or premium beauty. It’s a treat more than an everyday purchase, and accessibly priced.
Missoma’s designs are meant to be mixed up and layered, and are popular with customers who can afford much more expensive gems including the Duchess of Cambridge, Emily Ratajkowski, Gigi Hadid, Tommy Dorfman and Billie Eilish.
The recent growth in the business has come from expansion into markets such as the U.S., China, Germany, Ireland and Australia. In three years to March 2021, exports have risen by 222 percent, and now make up 49 percent of all sales. The U.K. remains Missoma’s largest market, accounting for 51 percent of sales.
Collaborations have also powered growth at the brand, which Hordern founded in 2008 after leaving a job on the business side of Compagnie Financière Richemont in London.
Most recently, Missoma has collaborated with hot London talent Harris Reed on a unisex collection of Goth-glam jewelry. It includes celestial star and moon, serpent, butterfly and pearl earrings, secret lockets and crystal ball-like labradorite cocktail rings.
Early in Missoma’s journey, Hordern tapped the British influencer Lucy Williams to codesign a collection, which has been one of the brand’s strongest sellers and which has grown considerably over the years. Missoma regularly works with the Beijing-born creator Savi on collections.
The Missoma x Le Specs collaboration was revealed a few days ago, offering eyewear styles inspired by the 1970s and 1990s reimagined with the brand’s bespoke jewelry, golden elements, pearls and malachite.

Missoma’s Eclectic jewelry box, priced at 175 pounds.

Missoma operates mainly as a direct-to-consumer model, and sells through a handful of stores including Nordstrom, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Matchesfashion. It is also a consistently profitable business, and will report 5 million pounds in profit on 33 million pounds in revenue for fiscal 2021.

Hordern, who designs the jewelry in-house at her Notting Hill studio, now has another challenge on her hands, which is how to manage all of the fast growth, and move Missoma forward.
“This business has been my baby for the past 15 years and it’s an honor to get the Queen’s Award,” Hordern said in a Zoom interview.
“We’ve been looking for a CEO as I want to concentrate on design, sustainability and charity. I want to be the creative director,” said Hordern, who is so pressed for time that she’s been designing the collections on weekends.
The business has grown so fast that there are now 100 people on staff, half of whom joined during the pandemic. She’s also mulling a further fundraising in the next six to nine months.
As reported, Capital Generation Partners, a family-owned private equity firm, invested an undisclosed sum in Missoma in 2019, buying out the shareholding of the brand’s previous partner, a jewelry wholesaler who had invested 100,000 pounds during the label’s infancy.
She said there is so much to do on the back and front ends of the business: Having just launched its first localized site in Germany, Missoma is planning further international expansion with the next localized site set to open in the Netherlands. The company ships to more than 200 countries.
China is another growing market: During the interview, Hordern said Missoma launched there during the pandemic and surpassed expectations, becoming profitable in year one. In the U.S. the brand is rolling out at Nordstrom stores and developing its d-to-c business in the region as well.

A look at the new Missoma x Le Specs collection, eyewear inspired by the ’70s and ’90s.
Courtesy image

There are more projects and collaborations on the way, with Missoma moving into lifestyle accessories such as jewelry boxes and gifts. There are also plans to work with emerging artists.
The company has also been investing in its IT operations and in combatting counterfeiting and copies.
Hordern takes her designs very seriously, and doesn’t want anyone mimicking her creations, and the Missoma look. She takes great pride in having helped to educate the British market about the virtues of gold vermeil, a technique that sees 2.5 microns of gold layered over sterling silver. The technique keeps prices down and gives the jewelry an expensive look and feel.

The company is also making strides on the sustainability front, and there is more to come: Missoma’s jewelry is manufactured by a network of long-term factory partners, primarily in India and Thailand, who are RJC Code of Practice certified.
The brand has also notched a full year of carbon-neutral delivery. On Earth Day in 2021, it partnered with climate-tech platform Vaayu to calculate and offset the carbon from its deliveries and returns.
The company said one of its goals for 2022 is for all of its suppliers to send the jewelry to Missoma’s warehouses in biodegradable polybags rather than plastic polybags.
Missoma has been working with 100 percent recycled silver since last October, and nearly all its factories are working with recycled gold plating. Soon, 100 percent of them will be working with the sustainable gold. Hordern said that the company is working toward using 100 percent recycled brass.
Like so many entrepreneurs and business leaders, Hordern said sustainability is a work in progress, and that Missoma’s goal is always going to be “responsible manufacturing and sourcing,” fair pay and social policies, and transparent communication with the consumer.
Hordern has always been passionate about jewelry. She studied history at Oxford University and after graduation started working at Richemont in London on the media side of the business, “as the most junior of staff, setting group guidelines and spending my days behind a spreadsheet.”
She made jewelry in her spare time, and decided early on that her future was as a creative entrepreneur. When she does finally hire that CEO, she’ll be coming full-circle, returning to the part of the business she likes the most.

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