NEWPORT BEACH

 

Talking to Rodd & Gunn Managing Director, Mike Beagley, it was clear the milestone Newport Beach premise was an achievement of great pride, punctuating end of one story and the beginning of another. 

“We could never have got to this point without the enthusiastic support of our wholesaling partner Nordstrom”, says Beagley. “They believed in us and encouraged us to go places we really weren’t really sure would work”. 

Citing Southern California as prime example, Beagley points out that it was Nordstrom’s success with Rodd & Gunn’s range in five such locations that convinced the Antipodean brand to consider this part of the States for its first full store. 

Lifestyle is core to the Rodd & Gunn underlying message and for this reason Beagley’s intuitive choice of site would not have been in a mall. Fashion Island, in Southern California’s Newport Beach, however, presents a special case. 

“I’d checked out a nearby site, initially thinking it would be more suited to our needs but wasn’t convinced we were on the right track”, said Beagley. “However, a chance stroll through Fashion Island really impressed. It’s an open air facility near enough to the sea to smell it. With sunshine and that relaxed Californian vibe, it felt like we could make something work here”. 

As chance would have it a later email from a local real-estate agent offered a site in Fashion Island the managing director had already mentally earmarked as a potential winner. In Beagley’s words, “It was a landmark site, two stories and surrounded by strong menswear brands. In Rodd & Gunn’s view it ticked the right boxes”. 

Mike Beagley speaks highly of the whole process. The Fashion Island management understand how important it is to give shoppers a reason to keep coming back. Diverse offerings of high quality are an essential part of the ingredient. It feels as though the proprietors are as committed to the store’s long-term success as the brands themselves are.

 


The October 7th grand opening party for the Newport Beach store was a special milestone for the whole team.

“This event was our way of bringing Rodd & Gunn’s New Zealand heritage to the great community of Newport Beach. We really wanted to celebrate and honour all the key elements of our brand and culture, from an appreciation of the outdoors and active lifestyle to highlighting the best of New Zealand ingredients”, said Beagley. “It means so much that we were able to open right here in Newport Beach. It really feels like our home away from home”. 

As for the future? Rodd & Gunn is committed to building its brand in the US. To do that it needs flagship stores in key locations. 

“In the simplest terms, we must showcase the whole Rodd & Gunn story. Its roots, its width, its heart and its soul”, says Beagley. 

“Expansion is on the table but it must be strategic”, he continues. “Dallas is a possibility in the relative short term. I’d like to see 20 to 30 stores in the next three years”. 

Ambitious? Certainly. But the company now has momentum and with momentum comes speed.