New York--Designer and philanthropist Kara Ross is taking her Madison Avenue boutique for an innovative turn.
On Jan. 16, Ross will launch the #655Madison Curated Collective, a concept in which eight jewelry designers will share the 350-square-foot space and divide the monthly cost equally among themselves.
Every four months, a new group of designers will move in and take over.
“I was recently at a CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) board meeting with fellow jewelry designers,” Ross explained. “Everyone was speaking about the challenging state of retail and how best to get ‘direct to the consumer.’ That’s what sparked the idea. I can use our jewel box of a store to highlight all the amazing talent in jewelry design that’s out there.”
Participating designers will donate 10 percent of proceeds earned at the collective to Diamonds Unleashed, Ross’ foundation that supports organizations that work toward female empowerment.
“I’ve completely reconfigured my business to be a vehicle for philanthropic initiatives supporting girls and women around the world,” said Ross of incorporating Diamonds Unleashed with the collective.
For the initial four-month period, Ross and seven other CFDA jewelers who participated in Ross’ “Jewelers Unite” auction at Art Miami will inaugurate #655 Madison: Dean Harris, Simon Alcantara, Anndra Neen, Stephen Dweck, Kenny Hwang of KH Studio Designs and Katrin Zimmerman, plus one last designer who is yet to be named.
Each designer participant will showcase approximately 15 to 25 pieces at the store in their own designated case. The store’s center case will rotate between the designers weekly.
“Through this creative collaboration, we can redefine the retail landscape.” - Kara RossOn the marketing front, the collective will provide social media exposure, monthly e-mail blasts via the Diamonds Unleashed e-mail, monthly store events and the ability to switch product out on a weekly basis.
Each designer will have the opportunity to take over the store for a special trunk show for one day during the four-month session.
During the length of their participation, designers also will receive support in the form of two store sale associates, trained in each designer’s product, plus all housekeeping amenities from surveillance and security to visual merchandising per each designer’s direction.
Ross is looking for designers to participate in the second session of the #655Madison Curated Collective, which will begin in May 2017, and future sessions.
She will personally select each group of designers.
“I truly believe that by uniting top talent in the industry through this creative collaboration, we can redefine the retail landscape and creatively display fine jewelry offerings in a unique way. With the collective, we are looking at retail through a new lens,” said Ross.