A new favorite Brooklyn boutique – called Bird is on the rise and flourishing while most apparel retailers are struggling to survive. Bird’s founder, Jen Mankins is credited to have defined the Brooklyn aesthetic in 2012 by the New York Times. She opened her very first store more than a decade ago. From the first one, another one emerged thereafter, then two more. Until the final count for this year 2017 hit five locations. This time she opened a store in LA’s Culver City and is the first store she has opened outside of New York.
Bird was actually one of the first retail stores in New York City to merge high-end brands with up-and-coming designers. She did it in a way that felt completely seamless and natural. It’s an understatement to say that Jen Mankins finessed this sort of aesthetic at the right moment. She made the perfect blueprint of what a boutique in Brooklyn should look like.
Her stores use sophisticated wallcoverings patterns and soft lighting to create a relaxed comfortable retail experience. The section of clothes and accessories is available in a really wide price range. You can buy lip balm that costs $20, or a bag that can cost up to 30 times as much.
The key part to the success of Bird is that there are a lot of options available. Some of them are definitely inspired by the Pinterest home trends. There are a lot of independent boutiques where the price ranges are tight and there aren’t a lot of designers available. In order to find something that you like you would have to spend all day hitting up indie shops in Brooklyn. Which is why department stores have the advantage on the market.
Bird is the best of both worlds, it’s a lot smaller than other department stores, but the shops aren’t tiny boutiques by any means. The shelves and racks are always full and robust, and the wallcoverings are hypnotizing. It’s also a place where convenience and discovery meet. You can find pants that are weirder than anything in your local Nordstrom, or a pair of Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes that everyone else has and you want them, too.
While Bird’s business model seems to be a huge success, 2017 hasn’t really been a good year for opening retail apparel stores. In fact, it’s a year where most store chains have closed at least fifteen percent of their languishing locations.
Retailers are having a hard time staying afloat in the current market and compounding that with intense competition from Amazon.com is making it even more difficult.
Apparel chains such as The Limited and American Apparel are closing, while super luxury retailers like Dior, which opened a new boutique in Miami’s design district are experiencing the most success.