Monica Rich Kosann Charms Customers with her Jewel Box of a Freestanding Boutique
If you haven’t yet visited Monica Rich Kosann’s freestanding boutique at The Shops at Columbus Circle, I would head out as soon as possible if you live in Manhattan. For those that live out of town, put this stop on your things to see and do list next time you plan a trip to New York.
Monica and her team have created a jewel box of some of her more accessibly priced sentimental and iconic designs—in the prime location to the right of main entrance on the ground floor of the grand hall. “The all glass structure of the shop, framed in stainless steel with mirrored walls offer a truly clean slate, which was the perfect neutral format to communicate what is so indigenous to the brand: the visual imagery, and the idea of the pieces each celebrating a moment in the story of a woman’s life,” Monica explains. “It was so wonderful to finally be able to bring our message into one cohesive space and focus on the affordable luxury part of our business.”
When I met Monica inside the store –she was dressed in her chic uniform of white shirt, black pants—and a black wool gabardine sleeveless jacket—“I was trying to be a little more creative today with my clothes, “ she laughs. Her bangles and charm bracelets jangling on one wrist and her stack full of poesy bracelets climbing up her other. We chat about the benefits of simple clothing when you love jewelry—“all that you wear, the necklines, sleeves, colors, are chosen to show of your favorite talisman or good luck charms –the pieces you either wear everyday or trade off and/or add to” says Monica. She is preaching to the jewelry obsessed. I am dressed casually in jeans with a v-neck cashmere sweater and multi-charm necklace, with fingers full of rings
Walking through the boutique I notice the mood board—which has some of Monica’s favorite inspirations-and how the shops streamlined display cases are designed to show each collection with inspiration of it’s meaning and/or photos of how to wear the pieces. Monica’s best selling Poesy necklace rings with sayings, mottos or words—a modern concept inspired by the 18th century finger rings line one case, while the extension of that collection—the Poesy bracelets are displayed in silver and gold in another case to illustrate how the metals and pave set gemstone styles can be layered together. Each case houses a different collection: charms, pocket watch keys, lockets and the chains that work with them. A new collection of rings with masks called ‘Reveal Yourself’ is one of the featured displays. “We are making it as easy as possible for the customer to see everything clearly and then help her mix it up and tell her personal story.” Monica explains.
Speaking of personalization, Monica has installed a 26” touch screen, which downloads photos, crops and prints them out to be the correct size to place in a locket. “Our customers love the fact that they can walk away wearing their loved one close to their heart.” The screen also provides access to website if pieces are out of stock in the shop.
Bustling with a steady flow of customers, The Shops of Columbus Circle provide these freestanding cube-like spaces which house luxury brands as well as the rest of the ‘mall’ which features Michael Kors, Thomas Pink Hugo Boss, Lucky Brand and True Religion, J. Crew and H&M as some of the fashion shops. The beauty and gift and decorative venues include Joe Malone, L’Occitane en Provence, Sephora, Aveda and La Maison du Chocolat on four floors interspersed with fine restaurants. “We are thrilled with this location, not only due to the traffic it brings, but also the customer demographic. It is a venue with high/low retail mixes which is similar in philosophy to our collections. We can mix a one-of-a-kind locket with a poesy ring necklace or silver with gold. Our customer base is a broad range of 25-60 year old women.” Monica continues, “It’s all about individualization and what you want to project about yourself and your life through your jewelry.”
An accomplished black and white photographer, Monica has a very specific visual aesthetic for the collection as well as all aspects of the advertising and branding. “The store allows for my entire image,” she says.
One of my personal favorite aspects of the shop (besides the gold and silver treasures that lie within the cases) are the six outer showcase windows which were created by Spaeth Design, a company which has created decades of magical Fifth Avenue windows. The six showcases designed for Monica’s shop are open books with a character named Agnes, one of Monica’s muses, and each book relates a part of her story of coming to New York City and settling into her life. Each of the books has a corresponding piece of jewelry, just like every woman has a significant piece that represents a memorable moment in their lives. “Launching this store was truly a memorable one in mine,” says Monica. On opening day, she purchased herself one of her own Poesy bracelets—“It’s supposed to be good luck for the shop to do this,” Monica explains. What more could you ask for than a designer who sincerely believes in all facets of her collection and her brand.