It's been about six months now since we closed our store in the East Village, and we wanted to give you guys an update on our plans for the future.
As you probably know, we chose not to renew our lease on our old store, because after three years there we'd learned what it takes to run a successful physical location and that one just wasn't going to work in the long run. While we've always been profitable overall, our web site always subsidized our physical store. When all profit comes from one side of the business and the other's actually a drain, then obviously a change is needed.
We've said since then that we'll open a new store once we find a location that we're pretty sure can stand on its own. That's our requirement - the store has to make money by itself, with a full staff. And that's not easy to do in New York City, with its high fixed costs that need to be paid whether we sell anything or not (things like rent and utilities). This isn't mainstream fashion, so the customer base is still small and covering those fixed costs is a challenge.
We've looked at various locations and have even thought of totally different ways of doing business. Stores that sell this fashion in Japan (including some of the big brand stores) don't always operate like traditional ground floor always-open retail walk-in shops. The reasons for that may not always be obvious but we've been looking at those things to see if there's anything we can learn from them. For one thing, locations like that are always a lot cheaper than ground floor retail locations.
It may seem like it's taking us a long time, and we wish we could just open a store again right now. But the good news is that the main reason we aren't is just that we're making a lot more money now, being online only. So our business is actually really healthy, and you don't need to worry about losing us as an outlet to buy your favorite clothes. There's no need for us to rush into things. We didn't really know if you guys would stick with us once we closed our store, but you did and we're thankful for that! We're actually selling more online now than we did when the store was open.
We miss seeing our customers in person more and we also really miss our shop staff - they make running this store fun, and it's not the same for us without them right now.
In the meantime, we're still looking at real estate and we're also talking to potential investors and even potential franchisees. If you're interested in either of those opportunities, drop us a line! (Serious inquiries only, please.) We are a profitable business with a well-known name and experience doing this, so if you think you'd like to potentially open your own location with our help, we're listening.
In the end, this is all really a roundabout way of telling you a new store opening is not imminent. We've successfully reset, though, and are now a healthier business than ever, so hopefully we can find a good way to really move forward towards the future soon. In the meantime, it's business as usual online.
Please let us know if you have any questions!