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Deegie’s Combines Good ‘Carma’ and Hip Fashions

BY Marianne Wilson

For up-and-coming fashion retailer Deegie’s Carma, trendy threads and accessories and cool architecture are just the start of it. The new start-up concept, which debuted in March in The Legends of Village West, a lifestyle center in Kansas City, Kan., also features a beauty salon and 45-seat cafe.

The 18,000-sq.-ft. store (12,000-sq.-ft. selling space) is the brainchild of former Nordstrom and Salvatore Ferragamo executive John Wilson. It was conceived as a gathering place where customers can have an experience that goes beyond shopping.

“Consumers are hungry for more than great fashion,” said Wilson, president and CEO of Three Wildcats, New York City, the privately held company that created and manages Deegie’s Carma “They’re looking for a total experience and inspiration—a way to infuse style into all aspects of their lives. Deegie’s Carma offers them this in a fun, accessible way.”

Targeted to 18- to 28-year-old women and men, Deegie’s Carma is designed as a fashion-lifestyle destination for young, hip shoppers seeking on-trend looks. It carries an eclectic mix of contemporary brands, including French Connection, Chilli Pepper, Diesel, Betsyville and Canterbury of New Zealand, along with emerging designers. Sales assistants take a personal-stylist approach to customer service.

In addition to apparel (70% female, 30% male), the merchandise mix includes accessories such as jewelry and shoes, gift items and a fragrance and cosmetics bar. Price points run the gamut from $10 to $250. Some “special” items go as high as $450.

The hub of Deegie’s Carma is the 1,100-sq.-ft, Club DGC Cafe, which serves up salads and other light fare, and blended-fruit drinks. It’s located in the center of the store on an elevated platform that is reached by a fashion runway-styled ramp.

The cafe has a party-like vibe, enhanced by plasma-screen TVs and club music. Floating above the lounge space is the iconic symbol of the brand: a dramatic starburst sculpture of aluminum tubes. The starburst motif is used in various graphic patterns throughout the store.

Another key element of the new concept is the 1,000-sq.-ft. beauty salon, Salon DGC, which provides a full-range of hair and nail services, along with facials, and girls-night-out and birthday packages.

Design: In line with its target audience, Deegie’s Carma has an upbeat, club-like atmosphere and streamlined, modern look, punctuated with colorful, attention-getting graphics.

The design, by Gensler, is striking and dynamic, and juxtaposes clean, natural materials with curvilinear patterns in a vibrant color palette. The men’s area has a cool palette, accented by green and blue hues, while the women’s department is done in warm orange and pink tones.

Among the stand-out elements are perforated screens of 1/8-in. galvanized steel, which create islands that contain fitting-room “tubes” made of polycarbonate walls layered with graphics. A focal point is the 14-ft. feature wall at the back of the store, built of staggered “ribbons” that create shelves on which shoes are displayed.

With its first store up and running, Deegie’s Carma has announced its second location: The Legends of Sparks Marina, in Sparks, Nev. The 148-acre center is scheduled to open in October. The retailer has also targeted additional markets to explore.

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OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy

BY CSA STAFF

NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced that for its first quarter ended March 29, total sales decreased 5.5% to $2.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income increased in the first quarter of 2008 to $63.3 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, from $58.5 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.

OfficeMax Retail segment sales decreased 5.5% to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a same-store sales decrease of 8.7% partially offset by sales from new stores. Retail same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008 declined across all major product categories due to weaker U.S. consumer and small business spending and the negative impact of the Easter holiday occurring in the first quarter of 2008.

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IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility

BY CSA STAFF

DANVILLE, Va. IKEA, through its subsidiary Swedwood, announced that it will open its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility on May 21 in Danville, Va. The 930,000 square-foot Swedwood factory will produce a variety of wood-based IKEA products, the company reported.

We made excellent progress on construction last year and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly, said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood. Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process. 

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