WWD Digital Daily
Marcella Opens Its First Brick- and- mortar Store in San Francisco
The New York-based womenswear brand hopes to operate 10 stores in the next two years.
It might seem odd that a New York clothing company would decide to open its first store 3,000 miles away in
But the husband-and-wife team behind the Marcella clothing label said San Francisco has been a good market, and they were taken with a pedestrian-friendly Fillmore Street with lots of restaurants and other clothing retailers, including Rag & Bone and Scotch & Soda.
“When we were looking, we really saw this spot in San Francisco that appealed to us. And our catalog of apparel and accessories works really well there,” said Andy Huszar, the company's chief executive and cofounder with his wife, Siyana Huszar, the creative director.
On Friday, the company's first retail outpost opens at 2029 Fillmore Street, a 900-square-foot store carrying the brand's ready-to-wear, footwear and handbags. The label's designs have a minimalist attitude with an edge that is heavy in solid colors that can go from day to night.
For their first step into retail, the Huszars partnered with Leap Inc., a company that finds locations and operates stores for brands wishing to expand to physical locations. The Fillmore Street location was previously occupied by
Naadam, a cashmere clothing company that also works with Leap Inc.
The Huszars plan to open a flagship closer to home in New York City once they can find the right location. Eventually, they hope to have 10 retail stores established in the next two years, they said.
Setting up retail is a big step for a brand that started out more as a hobby than a business. Siyana launched her budding clothing collection on Etsy in 2010, when she was working for a bank and a few years before she met her husband. The aspiring designer, who grew up in Bulgaria, learned her design skills from her grandmother, Marcella Papazian, a fashion designer who carved out a career in Bulgaria when women didn't have as much opportunity as they do today.
Siyana's business on Etsy grew slowly before it mushroomed. By that time, the Huszars, who met on Match.com in 2012, were still working in the financial world. But Andy saw how well his wife's side business was doing on Etsy and encouraged her to quit her job in 2014 to grow the company. “Then in 2017, when Marcella became the No. 2 grossing fashion brand on the overall Etsy platform of 2 million businesses, that's when I quit my job,” the CEO recalled.
In late 2019, they launched their own e-commerce site and have been expanding ever since with production in Bulgaria, where the company works with 25 factories and has its own manufacturing facility. All fabric is sourced from nearby countries including Greece, Turkey, Italy and France. Producing in Bulgaria doesn't require large minimum orders, and shipments arrive in the United States in four to six weeks.
With efficient manufacturing and little waste, Marcella's prices are often 25 percent to 75 percent lower than its competitors. For example, a slim-fit jersey dress with batwing sleeves is available online for $98, and wide-legged pleated trousers made of poly/viscose sell for $135. Tops, which make up 30 percent of sales, are found in the $65 to $88 range.
Those prices have helped drive the company's rapid growth. In 2021, Marcella had $9 million in revenues, Andy said.
That nearly doubled last year to almost $18 million. “The last few years have been a wild, wild ride,” Andy admitted.
Managing that growth hasn't been easy, but it helps that Siyana and Andy come from business and financial backgrounds. Siyana has an MBA from Emory University and worked at ING for nearly seven years. Andy has an MBA and a law degree from Columbia University and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Morgan Stanley for several years.
Despite the wild ride, the Huszars maintain their mission to help women and girls have a better life. Marcella partners with the Campaign for Female Education, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty in subSaharan Africa by educating girls and empowering young women. For every clothing item sold, Marcella supports three days of school for a marginalized girl. So far, the company has provided 730,000 school days for girls.