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T Time at Elie Tahari

Aggressive growth plans are in store for the T Tahari collection.

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T Tahari Bloomingdale’s

A fall '13 style from T Tahari at Bloomingdale’s.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 09/10/2013

Aggressive growth plans are in store for the T Tahari collection.

The Elie Tahari Co. aims to strengthen the presence of its secondary line in international markets while building its U.S. base. Drawing upon the Elie Tahari brand’s heritage, T Tahari is meant to offer accessible luxury and understated, chic design to a broader audience. Launched in spring 2007, T Tahari has become a recognizable label in the past six years, and offering affordable price points has been a key part of its strategy. Blouses retail from $79 to $118, dresses run from $128 to $158 and outerwear falls between $200 and $400.

It generates about 20 percent of the $500 million fashion company’s volume.

While the domestic market continues to be an area of emphasis, this year and next T Tahari will continue to build its American and overseas businesses by broadening its range of products and upgrading the collection. Among the initiatives are plans to renovate the 700-square-foot T Tahari concept shop in Bloomingdale’s flagship, according to Bob Galvin, chief executive officer of Elie Tahari. The concept shop at Lord & Taylor will also get an upgrade and it will be expanded to 1,200 square feet. As of late August, the average T Tahari in-store shop was about 200 square feet.

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Overseas, T Tahari is currently sold in more than 50 doors, and executives are keen to foster growth through existing partners in Europe and Asia. As things are, the label’s two largest accounts are in Mexico and Spain. Shoppers can find T Tahari in 22 doors in Mexico with eight new shops scheduled to open next year. In Spain, the collection is offered in 12 stores and six more will make their debuts in 2014.

Developing more concept shops domestically and overseas is another priority. While the signature collection offers more select pieces including what Galvin described as “great leather outerwear north of $1,000,” the T Tahari collection is more affordable, but of the same design aesthetic and quality.

Around the globe, dresses and blouses continue to be bestsellers, he said. Current offerings at Nordstrom, for example, include the T Tahari Asher shirtdress at $138 and the T Tahari Sisley zip-front blouse at $108.

So shoppers might have a closer tie to the company’s founder, Tahari is expected to make more public appearances to try to build awareness for the T Tahari collection around the world. A trip to Spain is being planned for next year, and Mexico is also a possibility, as the company continues to grow its business in those countries.

“Elie wants to be sure there is always great value in the product,” Galvin said, “because he understands that in this economy, shoppers have all sorts of choices to make.”

There is also talk of developing the first T Tahari advertising campaign, though nothing has been finalized just yet.

The T Tahari label is now offered in 200 doors and that figure is expected to increase in the next 12 months. The introduction of a footwear collection this fall through a licensing deal with Modern Shoe is one of the ways the company plans to build the business. The way things stand, U.S. sales account for 80 percent of all T Tahari sales, with international comprising the remaining 20 percent, Galvin said.

Launched last year, T Tahari handbags are currently sold via Nordstrom and Belk. A large T Tahari dome satchel, which retails for $238, is among the offerings. Elie Tahari sunglasses will launch this spring and T Tahari shades will launch in fall 2015.

Connected as the two collections are, executives at the company think of the T Tahari label as more of a modern, younger sister. That said, Galvin was quick to note that both lines are treated with the same degree of attention in care and design development. There is also a good deal of crossover shopping among consumers who buy merchandise from both labels and mix them, he said.

Further emphasizing the international development of the collection, executives are working on plans to possibly show T Tahari in Milan, which could come next year. And, to make sure product gets in hands around the world, the company is also focused on executing its shipping through its distribution centers in New Jersey, Europe, Canada and Hong Kong.