Astrid and Miyu, a London-based direct-to-consumer digital jewelry brand, opens its first store in the United States today. The mint green facade and tastefully decorated interior is located in New York’s cozy Nolita neighborhood, nestled among famous digital brands like Lunya, ba&sh and Sézane. The brand has grown significantly since its inception in 2012 and has become known for its stacking, styling and piercing services.
“In 2019, we launched three pop-ups in New York’s Nolita neighborhood where our online and Instagram fans lined up to experience the brand first-hand. Last year, during the fourth quarter, our sales online in the U.S. grew organically by 60%, so we decided to focus our efforts this year on launching a 360° experience for our U.S. consumers,” said Founder and CEO of Astrid & Miyu, Connie Nam.
According to a report 2021 per McKinsey, the consultancy firm expects global fine jewelry sales to grow from $280 billion in 2019 to between $340 billion and $360 billion in 2025, with brick and mortar accounting for 80% of those sales. Specifically, he predicts that branded jewelry will grow three times faster than the total market, driven by consumers’ desire to buy products that align with their values and desires. For a brand like Astrid & Miyu, these forecasts mean great potential for growth on a global scale.
There are complexities to international expansion, such as the uncertainty of a new market and the challenges of overseas operations. However, it’s usually worth it in a big market like the United States. For example, Wolf&Badger, another UK-based wholesale clothing and accessories brand, recently opened its second store in the United States in West Hollywood, after its location in SoHo. And Canadian brands like Knix and Mejuri have also recently increased the number of their stores in the United States, with Mejuri announcing plans to almost tripled its number of stores, opening another 17 stores in 2022, led by US sites.
Thus, Astrid & Miyu is not alone in its efforts to establish a physical presence in the United States. And it’s a different presence than many other brands. Its full line of stackable jewelry will be available in-store, with prices ranging from $49 to $319, a price similar to US-based competitors like Aurate and Gorjana. Uniquely, the brand launches new collections every six weeks, which is a frequent exciting opportunity for new products. Additionally, its new store focuses on the experience, similar to its popular locations in the UK. It will provide on-site bracelet piercing and soldering services, an all-in-one service and product offering that seems to be a trend in the jewelry industry, with brands like Rowan and Mejuri also providing piercing services. at the store.
The design of the space resembles its UK locations, but with a New York twist. “We always localize our store design based on the neighborhood we’re in, so each store looks a little different. With Nolita’s location, you’ll see a slight futuristic difference – we won’t have a designated checkout point. Instead, each associated store will have an iPad to enable easy and efficient customer service,” Nam said.
Astrid & Miyu plans to focus on New York for now, but the US customer base is growing, so more stores are likely to open in the future. The brand has also explored new locations across Europe, recently launching a pop-up in Berlin which was a big hit.
It’s far from the only jewelry brand looking to open new stores. U.S.-based Aurate and Brilliant Earth also shared plans to open new stores, like many other direct-to-consumer brands post-pandemic. However, it is perhaps more prevalent in the jewelry industry due to the monetary and symbolic value that jewelry carries for many of those who wear it and the need to touch and try that accompanies this high value. Either way, the country is set to have many more branded jewelry retail experiences, Astrid & Miyu being one of them.