Hermès has opened its first men's store entirely dedicated to men's ready-to-wear, accessories and art of living. Called Hermès Man, the boutique is located at 690 Madison Avenue in New York at East 62nd Street and stands directly across the street from the U.S. flagship store.
"We felt there was a tremendous opportunity to really showcase all these wonderful products for men that Hermès makes," said Robert Chavez, President and CEO of Hermès USA during an exclusive interview with Luxist. "These products tended to be overshadowed or almost hidden among the other categories across the street. This store will raise the awareness level of our current and potential male clients in this market who might not have realized before that Hermès had all of these products, from our enamel cuff links to the made-to-measure program."
Despite the tough times affecting other retailers, Paris-based Hermès International is a company that performs better than its competition because its customer base includes the super-affluent, many of who have proven to be recession-proof. Indeed, the company recently reported an 8.5% rise in 2009 revenue (11% on an organic basis) attributed to an end-of-the-year increase in sales of its iconic Birkin and Kelly bags. Sales increased by a robust 20% in the Americas, compared to 12% for Asia and 9% in Europe. Revenue for the year rose to EUR1.91 billion from EUR1.76 billion a year ago, outperforming the company's previous target of flat sales. "This is among the best performances posted in the sector," says J.P. Morgan in a research report published this month.
According to Chavez, the Hermès customer is less affected by the recession than the general population, but they are more discerning. "They are not free-spending," he says. "When they do make a purchase, they want something that is more versatile, that will last and endure. Our clients want something that will last them for a long time."
Gallery: More from Hermes Man
For this discerning customer, the store features an array of merchandise made specifically for the new Hermes boutique. Exclusive items include a selection of silk ties---one with the Statue of Liberty next to the Eiffel Tower on the front---while another has an apple motif and comes in four different colors. On the reverse of the ties, "Hermès Homme" appears, which is a signature for the new line.
Another signature product that is exclusive for the Hermès Man boutique is a handcrafted leather baseball glove, which retails for $8,500. "The baseball glove is a new product," says Chavez. "It has never been made before by Hermes. We thought if we are opening our very first Hermès boutique for men in the world and it is going happen in the United States and in New York City, then we need to make to make a baseball glove. When you think about it---with the leather and the stitching, it is a natural fit for us. When we first saw the glove, we were all taken aback by how beautiful it is. And as fate would have it, as we knew this date was approaching, the New York Yankees won the World Series."