The 59th Street area of New York City has long played home to traditional Bloomingdale’s shoppers, and those residential shoppers who frequent the typical New York stores like Zara and H&M. Some customers have longed for something different, and they finally have it with a taste of a new boutique on 60th Street and Third Avenue, Madonna & Co.
The boutique, now in its third month, might be new to the neighborhood, but it certainly isn’t new to the New York fashion scene. About five years ago, Geralynn Madonna, a veteran of the fashion retail industry, decided that she wanted to do something original that was her own. She spent years working on the mass market side of fashion, and her dream was always to create something small and unique.
Five years ago, she opened her first boutique in SoHo on Prince and Lafayette, and she amassed a very loyal customer base. That customer base was so loyal that they even followed her from SoHo to Midtown when the new boutique opened three months ago.
“My clients tell me I brought SoHo to Midtown, everyone loves that boutique uniqueness,” Madonna says.
The inspiration behind Madonna’s move to the East Side was actually a desire to add a beauty bar to her store. The story behind the beauty bar concept to her store all started with her curly hair.
Madonna & Co opens on 60th Street and Third Avenue
“I’ve had curly hair my whole life, and for years I hated my curls,” Madonna said. “That’s when I found Jessica Scott, or as I like to call her ‘the master of curls.’ I’d have women coming with curly hair saying how much they loved my hair and asking me for tips on what do with theirs, and I’d just send them all to Jessica. Two years ago, we decided to do something to really help women with curls, and that’s how we created our signature curly hair gel.”
After years of hearing customers say that they wish they had somewhere where they could get both a full shopping and beauty experience, Madonna saw the right opportunity come along for her to take the new space on 60th Street and she jumped at it.
“Everyone came with me,” Madonna said. “I took everyone from my stylists, to those customers who come in and tell me they wouldn’t go past 14th Street.”
While her boutique is in the heart of an area where people are no stranger to spending money on big name designer brands, Madonna keeps her stuff very affordable, but still very quality.
To do this, Madonna goes directly to the factories where things are produced to cut out the middle man that drives up the costs. The store has their own private label where items like silk dresses will be an average of 150 dollars, much more affordable when compared to the almost four figure price tags of silk dresses at department stores.
In addition to the private label, Madonna & Co. also does one or two capsule collections every season. They also never do basics, but rather, “basics with a twist.” For example, instead of your standard white t-shirt, they will do one with details like a sequin pocket. They will also have high-end luxury items, like the Gelerah coats they carry which can cost upwards of 2000 dollars.
For Madonna, the goal is to try and put the thrill back in shopping, because she believes that shopping should be the kind of experience you get from a high intensity activity you love.
“I’ve been a huge shopper my whole life,” she says. “When people ask what your hobbies are, some people say I tennis, I say shopping. Walking in and having a head-to-toe experience from a new outfit to the beauty treatment is something I’ve always wanted to do for women, and I’m glad that this new store helps me do that.”
As for the kinds of women who shop in her store, her clientele base includes everyone from teenage women to their mothers. She’s never made marketing her clothes to any one demographic a priority because she believes “in psychographics, not demographics.”
When she isn’t on the floor helping run her boutique, Madonna is networking to meet new designers to see if they’d be a good fit for the store, and having designers show her their lines so she can decide whether or not they’ll be a good fit for her boutique. She really focuses on trying to give a voice to artisan designers.
As for where she hopes her retail business will take her, Madonna hopes to eventually open a second boutique back in SoHo, and another somewhere in Brooklyn. Currently, she is working on making the boutique known more for the beauty part as she grows her unique business.
photo Madonna & Co Facebook