New York–Bene Rialto, a new marketplace in midtown Manhattan, showcases an exciting mix of local, national, and international brands. It is one part emerging fashion and accessories brand incubator, one part retailer, one part wholesale showroom, one part event space, one part art gallery, one part florist, one part eatery and surely one part still yet to be discovered.
The brand new, five-story retail concept housed in a former button and trim manufacturing space is set to elevate a small strip of the ever-changing Garment District. Bene Rialto is located on West 38th Street, sandwiched between hip Refinery and Archer boutique hotels and Lord & Taylor with its new Birdcage concept, also focused on emerging designers.
Bene Rialto means “good marketplace” in Italian, and just like Mario Bataly’s Eataly is more than just eating, Bene Rialto will be much more than just shopping. The concept, aimed at both trade and consumer, offers a marketplace for designers, retailers, media and shoppers to discover brands, exchange ideas and grow the entire fashion category in the process.
The vision comes from Caryn Neary–a seasoned fashion executive and former Vice President at Saks who really wanted to find a way “to connect designers to buyers and consumers in a laid back, fun environment that was all about creativity.” The rest of the executive team is equally impressive: David Teeter was a former Divisional Vice President of Jewelry, Watches and Accessories at Holt Renfrew; wholesale expert Glen Lagerstrom has run brands like Havaianas, Anne Klein and Coach; and Jo Polanco, a luxury veteran with senior level experience at Saks and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
Nurturing and Helping Brands
The team is highly nurturing, working with brands on development, wholesaling and retailing. “We want the designers to do what they do best–design–and we can help them with the rest,” says Neary. “We asked each brand the three things they wanted to get from joining Bene Rialto, and there were several common threads; the opportunity to sell their product to customers, introduce their brand to retailers and influencers, and help them build their brand in general. It is all about connecting.”
The team is quick to point out that the marketplace is permanent, not a pop-up. “I launched a lot of pop ups in my career when I launched Pop Shops, but the downside to that mobile environment was that they were too quick for consumers to really learn the brands,” says Neary. “This is a permanent situation.”
Launching tomorrow with about 40 emerging brands, 60% of which are accessories, the five-floor space has room for up to 90 (retail will reside on the main two floors)says Caryn Neary. Skylights, exposed brick walls and views of the Empire State Building give visitors a sense of place right in New York’s Fashion District, and indeed many of the brands are Made in America.
Below, a lineup of how the merchandise breaks down:
- Ready to Wear – advanced contemporary to entry designer & dresses: $300-$2500
- Jewelry – fashion jewelry from $50 to entry gems & golds up to $450 (brands include Elizabeth Cole, Jewels by Maya, Julie Barkan, Nancy Nelson and more)
- Handbags – $250 for advanced contemporary and up to $1,800-$2,000 for tailored handbags, entry designer and exotics (brands include Eponymous, Mary Lai, Sea Bags, Joelle Hawkens by Treesje, Slightly Alabama, Ela, Ella McHugh and more).
- Gifts – Candles, stationery – up to $100 (including Effie’s Paper)
- Women’s & Men’s Shoes – $350 – $700
- Outerwear – $495-$1,400 (men & women)
- Active Leisurewear – $80-$250
- Men’s & Women’s Grooming
Many brands are Made in America or have a sustainable/repurposed angle. The handbag brand Slightly Alabama will feature the designer in store on occasion making handbags in front of the consumer and offering monogrammed or customizable services.
Bene Rialto, 13 West 38th Street, is having its kick-off party tomorrow evening, by invitation only.