Jacob Cohen is back. The Made in Italy premium denim brand has recently opened a new 200-sq.-meter flagship store in Milan at Via Spiga 31. The brand’s first store in the city, it was designed according to a new concept that expresses a more contemporary luxury and lifestyle-driven direction.
Managing the brand’s relaunch is Jennifer Tommasi Bardelle, chief creative officer, heir and widow and of Nicola Bardelle – creative mind behind ithe brand’s past success - who unexpectedly died in 2012, supported by director Luca Levi. Levi is renowned in the industry as among his previous roles, he was co-founder of Napapijri, vice-president for VF International, and CEO for 460 West Broadway, a company that previously managed Baracuta, Spiewak and BD Baggies. He joined Jacob Cohen in 2016 as brand manager and now he serves on the board of directors.
Jacob Cohen is currently produced and distributed by licensing partner Giada SRL but significant changes will happen soon. “Upon expiry of our license Giada SRL (at the latest in 2021), we plan to bring the product and distribution process back within our own direct control, similarly to our main competitors’ business model,” Levi explains.
Tommasi Bardelle and Levi will focus on more openings involving the Milan-based Jacob Cohen Company SpA directly. Right now the company owns two other stores in France–one in Saint-Tropez, also recently restyled, and another one in Courchevel, to be renovated soon. Next openings are planned in Paris, by end of 2018 or by beginning of 2019, to be followed by another opening in London.
In addition to the three stores directly owned and managed by Jacob Cohen Company SpA, Jacob Cohen is sold mostly in Europe through about 1,600 multibrand stores and 15 monobrand stores that were opened through collaborations with external partners. Along the same format, a new monobrand store will open in Oslo, in the center of the city, at the beginning of August 2018.
“We want to further expand internationally,” explains Levi adding that the brand will close 2018 registering sales of about €80 million. Out of the total 70% is mostly earned in foreign countries, mostly in Europe, and 30% in Italy. Among the regions where it is more successful are Germany, France, UK and Northern Europe. “We don’t like to think of markets in terms of pure percentages of sold products. Our approach has always been to consider markets proactively in light of a holistic view where potentials for growth are equally important. That said, Germany is indeed an important market,” says Levi. He continues: "In the future, once we will have regained full control of all of our operations, we will consider also further strengthening of certain markets as well as penetrating new emerging environments.”
To reach its goals the company has refreshed collections and enlarged the product offer. Both the men’s and women’s line focus on luxury premium quality products and offer total look collections. The men’s line offers about 400 pieces including the Academy part offering tops, cotton pieces and knitwear. Academy is designed by Luca Poda, while the denim collection is designed by Maurizio Zaupa. The woman’s collection offers 250 pieces and is designed by Lorenza Chiavarini.
Denim continues to play an important role. “Denim is still the backbone of our business and what we are best known for worldwide, but we strongly believe that Jacob Cohen has a tremendous potential for growth in its female collection–and the opening of the Milan flagship store shows that, within the right store and marketing setting, this potential turns into sales beyond expectations,” says Levi.
In addition to the men’s and women’s collections, the label also started offering a capsule collection for kids, a line of Made in Italy luxury footwear, together with bags, housewares, stationery and fragrances.
“Our aim is to potentiate and upgrade the brand continuing what Nicola Bardelle had done,” explains Levi while showing an area of the store dedicated to private shopping exclusive clients, a tailor-made area where everyone can have his pair of jeans personalized with accessories, back labels and other details. As part of the further upgrading strategy of the brand’s identity, its Milan store’s windows will be curated by architect and window artist Jo Ann Tan, who is famous for collaborating with luxury brands including Hermès.