What to Know About Schutz’s New Soho Flagship in NYC
“Come for the shoes, stay for the experience.”
That’s Alexandre Birman’s mantra for his new Schutz flagship in the heart of New York’s Soho neighborhood. The location, which opened at 540 Broadway last week, was built out and opened in a matter of weeks to capitalize on the arrival of high tourist season in the city.
“This was a big dream for me, and there was so much energy around it,” said Birman, the CEO of Arezzo & Co.
The ambitious executive, who launched Schutz when he was 19, said the new boutique represents a major step in the Brazilian brand’s American expansion efforts. Not only will it fuel DTC sales, both in store and online, Birman said, but the store will be a crucial in tool to help tell the label’s story in a way it hasn’t yet been told stateside.
The location, formerly a Steve Madden flagship, is comprised of 1,700 square feet of shopping space, and an additional 2000-sq.-ft. storage space. All told, it can house about 25,000 pairs of shoes in the back of house.
The location is grouped into distinct categories: The front features a lounge-like area — decked out with custom Brazilian furniture — that plays up the most glamorous styles first, including the Amelia sandal and an exclusive wedge. In the center, natural styles focusing on cork and raffia are on display. And in the back, core looks are showcased on a display wall that features Maryana boot and Ariella sandal.
New and exclusive product will be rotated into the assortment, priced from $98 to $278, every four weeks — and Birman believes that freshness, combined with a focus on customer service, will help the brand stand out in a competitive retail climate.
The founder estimates that the foot traffic in Soho is about 15 times higher than in the Madison Avenue strip where the current Schutz flagship is houses. “The Uptown girl was buying, but we were not reaching the real, younger Schutz [shopper],” he said. “Here, there are thousands of [customers] on this street every day.” (The Madison Avenue shop will close later this year as the building where it is located undergoes a broader redevelopment.)
With an expanded focus on America, Birman plans to spend more time in New York — and in the store itself, where he will have a special space dedicated to design.
In the meantime, the executive is staging Arezzo & Co.’s second “Pulsar” event in Brazil this week to kick off the new sales season, and heads to Italy at the end of the month to visit factories there. The company acquired the made-in-Italy Paris Texas brand in March, and is now expanding its production base in Italy to make select Birman styles.