How Sarah Jessica Parker is Building Her Shoe Business the “Old-Fashioned Way”
The style icon and actress known for her role in Sex and the City opens her first pop-up shop.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Sarah Jessica Parker is a trusted name among shoe lovers, whether she's wearing bold styles or creating her own footwear. But for a celebrity style icon whose name is practically synonymous with high-end shoes, opening a pop-up shop for her shoe collection meant doing business the old-fashioned way.
Parker opened her third store last Friday on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. Her shop is a haven for those who worshipped the ground Parker strutted on as she played Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City.
Given her character's passion for footwear, it's not unusual that Parker turned to shoes for one of her entrepreneurial efforts. Her styles range from flats to boots and high heels, priced between $300 and $500. Each pair has a ribbon running down the seam, a nod to Parker's childhood when she and her siblings would wear ribbons in their hair.
Parker co-founded the line in 2014 with George Malkemus, who in 1980 launched the luxury shoe company Manolo Blahnik, which Bradshaw adored in the HBO series. The line now has 171 items in the current collection, including handbags and ready-to-wear clothes.
While Parker is a household name, especially with fashion fanatics, she has opted to shop her shoes to retailers in person. Parker told the Financial Times that she prefers to do business the "old-fashioned way" and bring her collections to stores to sell directly in person.
Occasionally, she'll announce on social media that she's on her way to Bloomingdale's and arrive to throngs of fans. When she's in the shop, she will often help customers find the right size or style. At SJP's second location opening, last August at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, she assisted excited customers with shoes and explained who inspired particular designs.
Parker told the Times that SJP takes up about 50 to 60 percent of her time, with much of that going to in-store appearances. She opened her first SJP store last December in the MGM National Harbor hotel in Washington, D.C.
Parker's tactics appear to be working -- her company is expected to grow 300 percent this year, a big rise from the previous year's 25 percent growth, according to the Times.
"This whole thing is giving me the opportunity to meet people I might never meet, and people that are perhaps ideologically, socially and fundamentally different than me," Parker told the Times. "It is both deep and meaningful, and it is smart business."