East Coast Toms fans will finally have a store to call their own when the brand debuts its newest location in New York’s Soho neighborhood tomorrow.
The shop is at 264 Elizabeth St. and includes many of the same favorite Toms features you’ll find at its stores in Austin, Texas; Venice, Calif.; Chicago and Portland, Ore.
The Soho shop features a coffee bar (serving Toms Roasting Co. brand, of course) and baked goodies from One Girl Cookies and Balthazar. There’s a community lending library and an outdoor patio with a fireplace to cuddle up with one of those borrowed reads.
To come: Signature events, including tastings, documentary showings, and music nights.
If that isn’t enough to bring you to Soho, the new line of Toms handbags is launching at the store. Staying true to the company’s “one for one” mission, the purchase of a bag ensures a safe birth for a woman and baby in need. (So really it’s one for two, which is even better.)
Earlier this year, we caught up with Toms founder Blake Mycoskie to talk about the business and an investment by Bain Capital.
You’re vastly expanding Toms’ footwear selection for spring ’15. Why now?
BM: We started globally, with one silhouette. [Back then], 100 percent of our business was the Alpargatas; now, it’s 68 percent. We built new franchises, like our wedge, which is selling in top department stores. Women are buying more fashion from Toms, so there are a lot of growth opportunities going into spring ’15. The men’s business is starting to take off — we’ve always had about 10 percent to 12 percent men’s product. Our brogue and lace-up categories and chukka boots [allow] us to see a lot of new accounts. We are doing a fashion sneaker. The customer knows and expects all of these things from us, so we’re playing a little more into trends. And we are really seeing volume.
The coffee venture seems like a big departure from your fashion projects. Could other non-fashion items be on the horizon for Toms?
BM: Our focus is on what we can do to make an impact on the world. We think about categories in all the places [in need] where we give our shoes. It helps us leverage relationships in the countries where we work. We use this as the cornerstone of our retail strategy, as we are in all Whole Foods in America. It’s a $12 bag of coffee, so the specialty item further elevates our brand. It’s been a fun and disruptive thing to do, but our core focus will still be shoes, bags and eyewear. We have so much momentum in footwear that we don’t want to take our eyes off the prize.