Retailer of the Week
Jenny Chung, owner of Acrimony in San Francisco
15 Dec. 2010
JENNY CHUNG, ACRIMONY, SAN FRANCISCOOpened three years this March, Acrimony is one of San Francisco’s most cutting-edge boutiques for directional womenswear, menswear and accessories. Owner Jenny Chung, who worked in retail planning and the contemporary sportswear and footwear wholesaling business prior to opening the store, lovingly stocks her shop with a host of up-and-coming labels and some that have officially arrived such as Alexander Wang and Acne. Here, she discusses her bestsellers and how holiday shopping has improved this year, among other things. By Christopher Blomquist
“Our best selling item in men’s at the moment is shirting. We carry a line called Gitman Brothers Vintage and sell tons of plaid, striped and plain oxford shirts. It's hard these days to find a good-fitting shirt, so when men find one they like they buy it in every color and fabric. They are consistent in design, fit and pricing, which is really important (and hard-to-find) in a men’s brand.
Jewelry is our best-selling item in women’s at the moment. We focus on brands that are edgy and hard-to-find, that are making pieces you can't find replicated. Bracelet/ring combination pieces are what people are interested in. Bliss Lau and Made Her Think are making amazing pieces.
Our typical customer has evolved in style and is willing to take more risks now that they trust our fashion advice. It's great to see both men and women stepping outside their comfort zones to try something new. The store has massively evolved since we opened almost three years ago. We are carrying a much broader depth of brands, and focusing more on design rather than brand names. I don't feel comfortable selling something purely on the name. The item needs substance and craftsmanship to warrant sitting on our shelves. And now that our customers know that, they can always trust that what they buy here is good!
Holiday shopping is up 30% for us. People are definitely shopping more for themselves this year. Online sales account for about 20% of our business. We are not an online shopping store; we are merely a brick and mortar store with an online presence. I love the personal interaction and hope to never lose that, even with customers that are shopping from far away! In every shipment we write a personal card to thank them for their purchase.
My top three rules for running a successful store are: 1) stay current 2) trust your instincts 3) hire great people.
Aside from animal prints and faux fur, some of the more interesting/lasting fashion trends in San Francisco now lean towards menswear inspired, minimal pieces that force women to dress with function and style down to the most basic pieces. Menswear-styled shirting with zips and high-waisted trousers from Ann Sofie Back, also lace-up combat boots from MiniMarket and LD Tuttle. Camouflage alpaca scarves from A Peace Treaty. All draw from menswear in their simplicity and function, but are fit feminine and tailored. Minimalism, as a trend, forces women to examine their basics and showcase style in the simplest forms. It's a smart way of dressing.”
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