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Menswear Brand ‘Psycho Bunny’ to Enter Canadian Market with 4 Stores: Exclusive Interview

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Menswear disruptor Psycho Bunny is accelerating its North American expansion with the opening of four locations in Canada this year as well as the launch of a localized Canadian website.

The brand’s Canadian website will launch in June and its first Canadian retail store will open in the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto on July 16. A location in Toronto Premium Outlets will also open in July with additional Canadian brick and mortar stores to follow later in the year with locations in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and CF Carrefour Laval in the Montreal area.

“We see our ecommerce sales in Canada growing in a meaningful way. As we continue to have this incredible rise in the US in awareness and growth through penetration in the US of true bricks and mortar, we’re seeing the awareness trickle over in Canada,” said Justin Cohen, Psycho Bunny’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Psycho Bunny CF Toronto Eaton Centre Rendering (Provided)

“A lot of us have done retail in Canada in the past. Our headquarters is in Canada and it’s probably for us the easiest, next market to penetrate just because of that. A lot of people within the organization have expertise here, and we think our product and where we’re taking our product is going to resonate really well with the Canadian market.”

The brand, which started in 2005, is a privately held company with offices in its founding city of New York and headquarters in Montreal. Amidst, and despite, the global pandemic’s impact on the retail industry, Psycho Bunny tripled its business and opened 20 stores across the US, it said. The brand now has 29 more US locations in its pipeline for 2022 for a total of 62 stores by the end of 2022.

Justin Cohen

In addition to its booming brick and mortar business, Psycho Bunny’s ecommerce more than doubled in 2021 compared to 2020.

Known for its reimagined classic menswear, including its trademark 4,000 stitch bunny-embroidered polos, the retailer said it “stands out in its commitment to marrying impeccable craftsmanship with saturated personality.”

Cohen said the brand will likely look to other Canadian markets in the future.

Psycho Bunny Construction at CF Toronto Eaton Centre
Psycho Bunny Construction at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

“Right now, we are looking at pockets where the brand is showing signs of interest and through that we are going to evaluate where we open and how we open,” he said. “In Canada, we might open multiple stores in a market before we end up expanding geographically.

“That has been our approach in the US outside of Florida. We are looking at one store per market for now. And we’ve really only sought to go after top locations – the top 30 malls in the US is basically what we’ve done.

“We may look at Calgary and Edmonton, and we may look at Vancouver in the medium term. We like to use indicators of markets that are similar, and obviously tracking our ecommerce and our wholesale business as well in all these markets.”

Cohen said the breadth of consumers in Canada is appealing for the retailer. The brand also has quite broad appeal amongst most demographics in the US. 

Psycho Bunny CF Toronto Eaton Centre Rendering (Provided)

When asked what motivated the brand to select CF Toronto Eaton Centre as the first Canadian store, Cohen said: “Like a lot of our stores, it’s about timing meets opportunity. We are very discerning about the locations that we choose. This location in CF Toronto Eaton Centre is exactly where we want to be – the centre is an elevated commercial concept. So it’s not the exact same concept our current stores have right now. It’s very connected to them but slightly tweaked. Our Yorkdale concept is going to be a flagship concept which is going to be somewhat disconnected from the CF Toronto Eaton Centre concept.”

The brand said that when searching for space within shopping centres, Psycho Bunny typically looks at the tenant mix including nearby complimentary full-priced premium co-tenants while avoiding being located nearby discounters. Foot traffic is also important.

Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants represents the brand in Canada and negotiated the four store leases on Psycho Bunny’s behalf.

Since its founding in 2005, Psycho Bunny has experienced a full-scale brand evolution. Thirty-year apparel industry veteran Alen Brandman of Thread Collective Inc., an originating brand licensee, identified the brand’s potential growth early in its life cycle and purchased 100 percent of the operating rights and 50 per cent of the intellectual property rights in 2017. In 2021, Brandman acquired full ownership of Psycho Bunny, then in 2022, formed a leadership group along private investment firm BBRC, led by retail executive Brett Blundy, and Bertrand Cesvet, the former CEO and chairman of Sid Lee, explained the retailer.

Psycho Bunny CF Toronto Eaton Centre Rendering (Provided)

“The strategy from the onset has been quite clear for us – profitable growth through physical availability, anchored by a strong ecommerce experience and premium wholesale presence,” said Cohen. “We aim to do retail differently than it has been done before, and we are uniquely positioned to bring that vision to life. 

“The beauty about scaling in 2022 is that we aren’t encumbered by legacy systems or thinking – we get to build from scratch. Iterative improvements and quick decision making are core to how we operate. The brand will continue to evolve as we broaden our presence in North America and continue to deliver incredible quality products to our consumers in a way that makes them want to shop again and again.”

Recently, the leadership team grew with the appointment of Franklin Benjamin Elman as the brand’s Creative Director. He has over 18 years of experience working as a Design Director and Creative Consultant at European luxury fashion brands. Most recently, Elman spearheaded the revival of Trigère, the Franco-American heritage fashion house. Previously, Elman held positions at DSQUARED2, Rick Owens, Jil Sander, and Dior.

Also, Carm Sivers has been named Vice President of Sales and Store Operations to usher Psycho Bunny into its next growth chapter.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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