Girlshop.com, the trendy Internet boutique that opened its first store — a 1,200-square-foot store in New York's newly fashionable Meatpacking District in March — is already seeking sites in other cities, possibly in upscale malls or lifestyle centers.
“Currently, we're thinking about Las Vegas, Easthampton, Miami and Los Angeles — and potentially Tokyo,” says co-owner Laura Eisman, who founded Girlshop Inc., the parent company, with her husband Todd Richter seven years ago. “Our goal is to open three more stores in the next five years.”
Eisman says Girlshop's target market is women ages 18 to 34 earning $60,000 and up, although she says some customers are teens carrying parent-granted credit cards and some are hip “women in their upper 40s.”
One criteria for locating her next few stores, she says, is proximity to other complementary shops. Scoop, Intermix and Calypso are “good company for us,” says Eisman because, “We carry different lines but can serve the same customer, and our price points are similar.”
She also notes that proximity to trendy hotels helps. She is close to the new Hotel Gansevoort and diagonally across the street from planned hotel The Standard. The area attracts tourists and celebrities who have been drawn to Girlshop, says Eisman, including actresses Lindsay Lohan and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth.
“Girlshop obviously has got a lot of buzz and energy,” says Annette McEvoy, president of consulting firm A. McEvoy and Associates. “It's trendy and looking at top tourist destinations.”
But she cautions that Girlshop should be wary of competition from fashion discounters. “Girlshop should be looking over its shoulder at chains like H&M, ARA and Century 21,” McEvoy says.
Eisman envisions her next shops as taking up as much or even more space than her first. She's considering opening a separate Guyshop, another company brand now sold online, adjacent to the next Girlshop. The current store sells some Guyshop merchandise.
“In five years, the [bricks-and-mortar] retail could be 40 percent of our business,” Eisman says. Her first-year goal for the Meatpacking District boutique is $1.3 million, equal to roughly 25 percent of the Web site's $5.6 million. The two businesses are synergistic, she says because familiarity with the Web site tends to drive customers to the shop. Meanwhile, they can place Web orders at the bricks-and-mortar store.