Haute Hippie Opens Boutique on Sunset Blvd.
Haute Hippie opened its West Coast store in the Sunset Plaza complex on Sunset Boulevard, opting to take a more daring approach than other stores who chose Beverly Drive and Melrose for their outposts.
"Everyone who came to me after I decided to drop on Sunset told me that it wasn't the smartest idea. Because of the traffic and because there are not a lot of other contemporary brands that sit in the corridor that we are seating in, they believe we are going to have a difficult time. I hope that we are right and they are wrong," said Jesse Cole, chief executive officer of Haute Hippie. "I wanted to have a bit more respect for the Los Angeles community and not be another retailer popping up in the obvious locations that could potentially host a brand. There is a resurgence in West Hollywood with Equinox, SoulCycle and Drybar next door. I saw that there was parking, and my wife and I are SoulCycle enthusiasts, and I just felt that the area was synonymous with our brand. Why not take this leap of faith and put our store there?"
Cole and his wife Trish Wescoat Pound, Haute Hippie's founder, president and creative director, loved the Old Hollywood feel of the location. All three of Haute Hippie's New York stores play up the contrast between elegance and rusticity. The Sunset Plaza store uses that aesthetic with a little more emphasis on the elegant elements. There are couches in red and ivory velvet, a taupe shearling bench and dark wood flooring. There a suspended crystal chandelier, antiques with gold finishes, works of art with nude women, cowhide rugs, red oak bays teeming with holiday merchandise and suede curtains used in the dressing rooms.
Cole said Haute Hippie's New York stores have been profitable from the start. "When we first opened up our pop-up store in South Hampton, we estimated a number and we did 150 percent above that number in that first season," recounted Cole. But of course he is keeping his expectations in check for the Sunset store. "I do recognize what is happening in the world, and I do recognize that we are new and we are sort of off the beaten track," he said.