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August 30 2014

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2 posts tagged "Kara Mendelsohn"

Cooper & Ella Succeeds With Basic Tops That Are “the Least Expensive Thing in the Most Expensive Stores”

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Cooper & Ella

Kara Mendelsohn launched Cooper & Ella just over a year ago with a singular, focused concept: offering pretty, versatile tops—all of those cliché phrases like “day to night” and “desk to dinner” apply here—at an ultra-affordable price point. With nearly two decades of industry experience in sales and merchandising (in addition to running KBL eyewear with her husband), Mendelsohn recognized this “white space” in the market and dove in. So far, her business plan has proved to be a lucrative one. Since its debut, Cooper & Ella has been picked up by major retailers including Saks, Neiman Marcus, Shopbop, and Harvey Nichols. “The awesome prices [ranging from $78 to $150] have been the key to my quick acceptance by the big guys. Basically, I’m the least expensive thing in the most expensive stores. People don’t need to wait for it to go on sale,” said Mendelsohn at a preview of her Fall ’14 collection. While the blouses are comparatively cheap, the quality level is there. Each piece features subtle designer details such as picot stitching, fagoting, or delicate gold hardware. Mendelsohn already thinks like a buyer, so she considers practical concerns like: Can you wear a bra with this? Is this fabric too sheer to wear to the office? Can you wash it? “My customers love design and fashion but ultimately need it to work for them in their everyday lives.” Highlights from the new collection include deep V-neck tops with an open back (yep, still works with a bra), as well as playful printed styles and easy tanks that have a multilayered look. At a price point like this, we’ll take one for each day of the week. Cooper & Ella’s swift success also made me contemplate why more up-and-coming designers aren’t starting out with this item-driven model. Surely, nailing down a signature early on paves the way for introducing more categories down the line…Young designers, Mendelsohn is available for consulting, by the way.

For more information, visit CooperAndElla.com.

KBL Offers “Trouble” Worth Courting

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Husband-and-wife team Adam and Kara Mendelsohn, the designers behind KBL Eyewear, take the slow-and-steady approach to growing their business. After starting with affordable, classically styled sunglasses back in 2009, they branched out into plastics the following season and now—with their business steadier than ever—are trying their hand at optical frames, too. More power to ‘em, we say. The new eyeglass styles debuted this week at Moscot in New York, where they’re offering both metal and plastic frames, like the bookish, two-tone Sheer Trouble specs (top left, $195). Speaking of stepping out, KBL is tiptoeing into collaborations. Two frames they made for Marcia Patmos’ Leroy & Perry Spring ’11 line are available for sale on their Web site, like the well-received Wild Promises style updated in a cool, puttyish camel (bottom left, $150). If you need a better reason than that, there’s this: 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, an initiative of the CFDA.

Photos: Courtesy of KBL