Haro and Sari Sloane Keledjian, part of the team that created Intermix, in 2017 launched The Westside, a retailer with a laid back California vibe that immediately resonated with female consumers. The concept was well-positioned for the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home and Zoom meetings. But sourcing apparel for the multi-brand retailer became more difficult as supply chain issues began to emerge.
“We were already casual-focused and had everything that everybody wanted,” Sloane Kaledjian said. “We weren’t pandemic-proof because sourcing clothes was super-hard in this environment. We looked at what we had, and we had some really strong brands, but realized that the business model couldn’t grow and change in these times.”
The Westside was doing some private label, but decided to expand it into a full cohesive collection released on a regular seasonal fashion calendar schedule. It became a full lifestyle brand focused on casual California chic looks with the company’s own aesthetic.
Items include mini dresses and tiered skirts in small floral prints – fall is all about desert flowers – chunky cable sweaters and wide rib cardigans. There’s also color block shawl-collar coats and pointelle pajama sets. For spring, Montecito, Santa Barbara and Ohi, California are the inspiration.
“Being a multi-brand retailer and having a web site is not a sustainable business,” Sloane Keledjian said. “We’re allowing for a new phase of growth. This has allowed us to have a different financial picture.”
The collection is expected to account for 35% of sales in the Westside’s four stores in TriBeCa and Madison Avenue in Manhattan, Greenvale and Southampton, N.Y., and Brentwood, California. Online, the collection is trending toward 65% of total sales, with prices ranging from $85 for a T-shirt to $575 for a wrap fringe coat.
“We love our brands, but that’s going to be only one part of our growth,” Sloane Kaledjian said. “We’re having conversations about more retail expansion. We’ve opened top locations, and now we can expand in smaller cities, where 50% of the store can be our own collection.”
Sloane Keledjian is considering wholesaling the line “in a very strategic way,” she said. “We want to be really careful with a few key partners. My vendors shouldn’t mind at all. The collection is unique.”
The husband-and wife team have also launched a private label collection for Ever After, their retail concept for kids and teens. Smocked dresses, velour hoodies and sherpa printed bomber jackets are among the crave-worthy styles.
“It’s really exciting,” Sloan Keledjian said. “It’s a long time from concept to selling, but seeing people in our clothes makes it all worthwhile. I’m 46 years old and I’m starting a new phase in my career.”