Canada’s Herschel Supply Expands U.S. Presence with SoHo and Santa Monica Flagship Stores, Marking Milestones [Interview]


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Vancouver-based Herschel Supply Co., the renowned lifestyle and travel accessories brand, has opened two new stores in the US – in SoHo in New York City and Santa Monica, California – bringing the retailer’s total footprint to 13 stores in North America.

Eight of the 13 stores are in Canada – four in British Columbia, two in Alberta and two in Ontario.

Lyndon Cormack

“Opening a store in SoHo is a testament to Herschel’s growth and our commitment to sharing our vision with the world. It’s an achievement that stands tall in our brand’s timeline,” said Lyndon Cormack, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Herschel Supply. 

“It’s always been definitely a dream of ours to have a store in SoHo which is arguably the number one fashion destination in North America if not, some would argue, the world. It’s a real milestone for the brand to be able to plant our flag on a very, very important district on an important street with what we deem as a very epic location.

“New York since day one has always been our number one spot for e-commerce, our biggest area for sales. As much as we have opened a lot of stores in our own backyard in Canada, New York’s obviously been a  very, very important one for us as a brand since inception.”

Herschel Supply Co Soho at 543 Broadway in NYC (Image: Herschel Supply Co)
Herschel Supply Co Soho at 543 Broadway in NYC (Image: Herschel Supply Co)

The company’s first store was in 2018 in Gastown in Vancouver. 

The new SoHo flagship store is at 543 Broadway in New York City. The dual-entrance store stretches from Broadway through to Mercer Street, offering customers an immersive shopping experience that brings together the best of Herschel Supply’s classic products and its exclusive Studio Collection.

“Since launching in 2009, Herschel Supply has solidified itself as a leader in the bag category and has continued to build upon its success through unique storytelling, category expansions and one-of-a-kind collaborations. The new store marks the continuation of their ambitious retail expansion plans for 2023, following recent store openings in Santa Monica and NYC’s Flatiron district,” said the retailer.

“Paying homage to the brand’s roots in Vancouver, BC, the store’s design incorporates natural western red cedar and granite boulders in its “from the coast” theme. The space features custom-designed cedar sculptures crafted in Vancouver and art by photographer Stephen Wilde. These unique touches provide a serene atmosphere for customers to explore Herschel Supply’s extensive range of products.

“The choice of location for this flagship store was intentional, with the rawness of the space playing a significant role in its selection. The concrete floors and exposed brick walls have been stripped of a century’s worth of flooring, paint, and wall coverings to reveal their original form. The resulting patina is a reminder to customers that they are in the heart of New York City.”

Herschel Supply Co Soho at 543 Broadway in NYC (Image: Herschel Supply Co)

Cormack said in 2019 the company had a pop-up in SoHo at Broadway and Grand in New York.

“That was quite an expansive store of 5,000 square feet. Pre-pandemic we were ready to start our retail journey. We were considering opening up maybe sooner but then the pandemic hit and we sort of slowed ourselves down in relation to retail openings,” he said.

“The reality is that’s behind us and so we are very excited to have a permanent store now in SoHo.”

The retailer said Herschel Supply’s new flagship store distinguishes itself by housing the largest selection of the brand’s classic products at the Broadway entrance, while the Mercer Street entrance showcases the Herschel Supply Studio Collection—an elevated line from the brand’s design studio. Their apparel line, Herschel Supply Uniform™, is also available, as well as their popular range of travel options including luggage, duffles, and accessories. 

“The U.S. has always been Herschel’s biggest territory,” said Cormack. “It’s been an important market for us. When we started the brand, as much as we are Canadian and our headquarters are in Canada, we actually did our first-ever trade show, which is generally speaking going after wholesale customers, but our very first trade show we actually did was in New York as well.

“The goal from day one from this brand was to be able to spread our wings and be a global brand and be able to bring our goods to various customers whether it be in the U.S., Canada or around the world.

Herschel Supply Co Soho at 543 Broadway in NYC (Image: Herschel Supply Co)

“I think good retail whether it’s the U.S. or Canada or elsewhere is on fire. It’s amazing. It works exceptionally well. Stores are busy. People are using not only stores as retail stores but other gathering spots . . . When brands get it right, the stores are very, very successful.

“We’re early in our journey both with existing stores and future openings, we now need to make sure we’re installing retail best practices in our own stores and our own fleet. We finally have one that’s big enough that we can actually make significant learnings and changes to how we operate as a business.”

He said the Santa Monica store is the company’s first store on the West Coast of the U.S. First store in California. First store in Los Angeles.

“We’re going back to what I foresee is a rejuvenation of the Third Street Promenade which was hit pretty hard during the pandemic. But we found an epic location in the heartbeat of the 1400-block. It’s the only sub 2,500-square-foot location on the 1400-block of the Promenade—where stores are usually six, seven, eight thousand square feet—and we were able to get it, which is really exciting for us,” said Cormack

“Otherwise we wouldn’t be there because the stores are six, seven, eight thousand square feet. Not what we need for a retail store.”

Mario Toneguzzi
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 News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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