Russell Wilson and Ciara’s fashion start-up, The House of LR&C, is opening its first pop-up store, CEO Christine Day says

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  • House of LR&C, which launched online in 2020, plans to open a pop-up store near its Seattle headquarters in early February.
  • The apparel business was co-founded by Grammy Award-winning singer Ciara, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, and former Lululemon CEO Christine Day.
  • Day, who serves as CEO of the House of LR&C, said the retailer plans to open three or four permanent US stores this year.

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Singer and entertainer Ciara, a fashion start-up co-founded by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and former Lululemon CEO Christine Day, is preparing to open its first brick-and-mortar shop.

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House of LR&C, which launched online in 2020, will open a pop-up near its Seattle headquarters in early February, Day said in an interview, with its three brands to choose from: Wilson’s Good Man brand, LITA by Ciara and Human Nation. , a gender-inclusive clothing label.

The brands are currently sold online and through wholesale partners Nordstrom, Kohl’s and online fashion site Revolve. But the House of LR&C has been plotting a three-pronged approach to retail since its inception, according to Day, who is the company’s CEO, in which consumers can go directly through their stores and through wholesalers such as department stores. Includes a plan to sell through.

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“The future is omnipresent,” said Day, who said the strategy is the most profitable way to go into retail today. “Stores act like showrooms for people to be able to actually shop in the moment, to touch and feel your product, and to convey your entire brand story.”

“And there’s an advantage to wholesale as a smaller brand in the beginning, because … you also get customers, awareness and marketing from those points of distribution,” she said.

Day said the company expects to open three or four permanent stores in the US this year, and is also looking to find a larger location near a Seattle pop-up shop in University Village.

House of LR&C’s expansion plans fit into a larger trend in the retail industry as brands launching on the Internet invest in outlets in malls and shopping centres. Retailers such as Allbirds, Warby Parker, Woori and Mack Weldon are opening more shops this year to help offset the expenses that come with running an online business.

Sales in brick-and-mortar locations can yield higher profits because the retailer saves online shoppers shipping costs — and store-bought items are returned less frequently than those bought online. Rents have also dropped in some markets during the pandemic, making this an opportune time for retailers to sign leases.

Savage x Fenty, a lingerie business that was started online in 2018 by pop star Rihanna, said last week it would open its first store in Las Vegas later this month. It also plans to open locations in Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC this year.

“What we’re doing is establishing the evidence point, right now,” Day said. “In our [direct-to-consumer] business, we’ve seen that is consumer desire.”

Day was the chief executive of Lululemon from 2008 to 2013, then the top job at health food company Performance Kitchen. She currently sits on the board of Kohl’s.

Like many start-up fashion retailers today, House of LR&C places an emphasis on sustainability, favoring materials that are less harmful to the environment in their products. It’s also in the process of becoming a certified B corporation, and it donates 3% of net revenue to charity, Day said.

“If we don’t really make fashion sustainable and transparent, we’re never going to change the industry,” she said. “That’s what we believe whitespace is and no one is doing well.”

Day said that House of LR&C’s sales grew nearly 70% over the previous year, from seven figures to eight figures. He did not provide any further details.

The company recently closed a more than $7 million convertible offering with participating investors including private equity firms Ames Watson, Harlem Capital and Darko Capital, she said. It plans to use the money to invest in adding more stores.

Tune in: House of LR&C will present at ICR’s virtual conference on Tuesday at 4:30 pm.

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