Retail Guide: Up Close With Nos

Racquel Nosworthy gets Dumbo.

“I love it here,” she said of the Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood she calls home and where she opened her original Nos shoe boutique less than two years ago. “It’s a place where you want to hang out. We have the park [along the waterfront], the bridges and the great places to eat, like Grimaldi’s and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. And we have the view.”

Located a block from the waterfront and under the Manhattan Bridge, Nos has found an audience with fashionable consumers hunting for chic, contemporary-priced shoes and bags. 

And now Nosworthy, a veteran who has worked for retail giants including Banana Republic and Macy’s, has even bigger plans for the Nos concept. By 2019, she and buyer Jeremy Ricketts hope to open 15 doors, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. 

The vibe: Concrete floors and high ceilings give Nos a restored-warehouse feel, but Nosworthy has blended in a bit of playfulness. Pillows in the women’s boutique boast shoe-specific quotes, such as “She told him that she danced to pay for school, but then he noticed her shoe collection.”

Customer profile:
Tourists and locals between 24 and 45 years old. “We get a lot of young families. [Our customer] is stylish, a new mom and most likely married to someone in finance.”

What’s working?
The three Cs: chic, comfortable and contemporary. “We’re moderate-luxury, so we try to stay between $100 and $500. Corso Como is our best-selling brand hands down.”

What’s not? The peep-toe bootie. “The customer doesn’t get it [or know] when to wear it. While there will be the fashion customer who just wants it, for the most part, it was a trend that was kind of bust.”

Why are shoes so hot?
Nosworthy thanks shoes and accessories for bringing a little luxury to even the simplest outfit. “It’s about where you get the most for your money. … Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada really sell those handbags and statement pieces [best], and that’s trickling down across the board.”

New York’s retail strength:
“[Shoppers] are so much more conscious here about wanting to be fresh, [and] they don’t get sticker shock. When they see [an amazing] pump at $285, they think ‘wow!’”

Spring buys: Swedish Hasbeens, Teeks, Dolce Vita, Joie, Modern Vintage, House of Harlow, Rebecca Minkoff, Schutz

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