Cushnie et Ochs plotting major brand expansion
Cushnie et Ochs is looking to expand its offerings in a major way.
The American brand was founded in 2008 by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, who met at Parsons School of Design in New York during their junior year. The duo are known for their cut-out fitted dresses, and received a massive publicity boost in 2011 when U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of their designs to a holiday party.
Following a minority investment from Farol Asset Management last year (15), the company launched e-commerce and activewear, and is now seeking to expand further, with the addition of 13 more staff members and plans to extend the brand to handbags and footwear in 2017.
Chief Executive Officer Peter Arnold says the brand hopes to use their New York manufacturing base to their advantage.
“Since the investment, the company has the wherewithal to focus on broadening the assortment and investing in the development of those classifications,” he told WWD. “Because we make everything within three-city blocks, we’re very nimble and we’re able to replenish very quickly, so it’s a different variant on the ‘see now, buy now.’”
Cushnie at Ochs currently has more than 150 points of sale around the world, including department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Harvey Nichols. They’ve also opened a temporary shop through the CFDA Retail Lab store at Cadillac House, and are now considering finding a permanent home in downtown Manhattan.
“It’s our first tangible expression of the brand in our own space,” said Arnold.
While Cushnie et Ochs doesn’t do any traditional print advertising, they are finding promotion on social media is paying off and Arnold explains they’ll continue to focus on digital marketing, via Instagram and paid Facebook ads.
“We’ve had double-digit growth year to year. For us, given the challenges of the wholesale environment, it’s quite an achievement,” he shared.