Astrid & Miyu, a London-based digital direct-to-consumer jewelry brand, is opening its first US store today. The mint green frontage and tastefully decorated interior are situated in New York City’s cozy Nolita neighborhood, tucked amongst famed digital brands like Lunya, ba&sh, and Sézane. The brand has grown extensively since its inception in 2012 and has become known for its stacking, styling, and piercing services.
“In 2019, we launched three pop-ups in the Nolita area of NYC in which we had our online and Instagram fans lining up to experience the brand first-hand. Last year, during the fourth quarter, our online sales in the US grew organically by 60%, so we decided to put our efforts this year into launching a 360 experience for our US consumers,” shared Astrid & Miyu’s founder and CEO, Connie Nam.
According to a 2021 report by McKinsey, the consulting firm expects global fine-jewelry sales to grow from $280 billion in 2019 to between $340 and $360 billion in 2025, with brick-and-mortar making up 80% of those sales. Most notably, it predicts branded jewelry will grow three times faster than the total market, driven by the desire for consumers to buy products aligned with their values and desires. For a brand like Astrid & Miyu, these predictions mean a lot of growth potential globally.
There are complexities to international expansion, like the uncertainty of a new market and the challenges of foreign operations. However, it’s usually worth the complexity in a large market like the US. For example, Wolf&Badger, another UK-based clothing, and accessories wholesale brand, recently opened its second store in the US in West Hollywood, following its SoHo location. And Canadian brands like Knix and Mejuri have also recently ramped up their store count in the US, with Mejuri announcing plans to nearly triple its store count, opening another 17 stores in 2022, led by US locations.
So, Astrid & Miyu is not alone in its effort to build a physical presence in the US. And it’s a presence unlike that of many other brands. Its complete line of stackable jewelry will be available at the store, with prices between $49 and $319, a similar price point to US-based competitors like Aurate and Gorjana. Uniquely, the brand releases new collections every six weeks, which is a frequent exciting opportunity for new products. In addition, its new store is taking on an experiential focus, like its popular UK locations. It will provide onsite piercing and bracelet welding services—an all-in-one service and product offering that appears to be a trend in the jewelry sector, with brands like Rowan and Mejuri also providing piercing services in-store.
The design of the space is like its UK locations, but with a New York City twist. “We always localize our store design to the neighborhood we are in, so every store does look slightly different. With the Nolita location, you will see a slight futuristic difference – we won’t have a designated till point. Instead, each store associate will have an iPad to allow for easy and efficient customer service,” stated Nam.
Astrid & Miyu plans to focus on New York City for now, but it does have a growing US customer base, so it’s likely more stores will open in the future. The brand has also been exploring new locations across Europe—it recently launched a pop-up in Berlin that was a great success.
It’s far from the only jewelry brand looking to open new stores. US-based Aurate and Brilliant Earth have also shared plans to open new stores, like many other direct-to-consumer brands post-pandemic. However, it’s possibly more prevalent in the jewelry sector due to the monetary and symbolic value jewelry carries for many of its wearers and the need to touch and try that accompanies that high value. Regardless, the country is about to get many more branded jewelry retail experiences—Astrid & Miyu being one of them.