Opening of a Jonathan Cohen pop-up store in New York

Jonathan Cohen has opened a pop-up store on Madison Avenue in New York that will sell his brand and others until June 14. American designer, Cohen grew up in San Diego, bringing a spirit of West Coast influence as well as his Mexican heritage to New York where he has now lived for many years. Its Mexican prints and bright colors combine the laid-back ease of San Diego surf culture with a modern urban influence. The brand was launched in 2011 by Cohen and her co-founder and brand CEO, Sarah Leff. In an interview with the two, they talked about the importance of the pop-up store and how cultivating a deep relationship with their customers has shaped the company’s designs.

From trunk fairs to pop-up shops

Leff explained that since the beginning of the brand, the two founders would participate in various trunk shows and how the two enjoy interacting with customers. “Direct communication with customers allows us to bring the brand to life and we listen to customer feedback.” Cohen also spoke about the importance of collaborating with other like-minded brands, which is why the pop-up store also includes products from “friends of the brand.”

The diverse assortment of merchandise includes AERA, SUD shoes, Aromas of The Cote D’AZUR candles, Seven Cedars housewares, a curated selection of Dempsey & Carroll stationery, as well as a variety of Assouline books. Cohen enthused, “The boutique’s first customer bought a beautiful cocktail dress and wanted a shoe to go with it, and we were able to sell her an AERA shoe to complete her outfit.”

Customer buying behavior

Jonathan Cohen has built a very loyal following as the company has grown over time and expanded its product offering. Leff explains how ambitious the designs are and, at the same time, the pieces are bought from customers every season. “We love to hear from our customers when they tell us what they wore to what event and how the products made them feel.” Today, customers want a direct connection to the brands they buy. There has been a move towards owning quality products that last longer, and comfort is a key feature. The brand’s designs stand the test of time in both quality and style. Cohen said, “Customers have told me it feels so good knowing they have Jonathan Cohen designs in their closet,” which gave the designer a great sense of appreciation.

Tina Bhojwani, co-founder and CEO of AERA, a brand featured in the pop-up store, said the pandemic has shaped consumer perspective towards greater awareness of both sustainability and comfort. “In order to improve the comfort of our shoes, we created signature cushioned insoles that add extra cushion.” AERA offers a vegan line of luxury shoes.

A community of artists and collaborators

Both Cohen and Leff believe the company is where it is today thanks to the many people who have been with them along the way. Leff said: “We are where we are thanks to the community around us; Collaborating with other brands is a form of our art. The pop-up store includes seven other brands to complete the Jonathan Cohen design collection which includes the Spring/Summer 2022 collection and the first delivery of the Fall/Winter 2022 collection.

Bhojwani agrees on the importance of collaboration, saying, “I believe that one plus one often makes three and being part of the Jonathan Cohen pop-up allows for this kind of meaningful collaboration. Our shoes are a great complement to Jonathan’s beautiful, bold clothing. In addition, Jonathan Cohen’s creations are sustainable insofar as he uses recycled fabrics, which corresponds to AERA’s mission.

More than a great design

Jonathan Cohen’s designs have a history of social responsibility woven through the brand. “We wanted to be responsible and caring, and we’re very keen on making sure that the people who make the clothes work in a good environment and are paid fair wages.” Cohen also talked about how when they were starting out as a young brand, they worked in their apartment and saw all the trash from the clothing designs; This fueled their passion to create The Studio, which offers creative and innovative designs using recycled products. Using leftover fabrics from past collections, Cohen creates unique new styles of ready-to-wear and accessories, giving fabrics new life. He said: “We wanted to take immediate action and be responsible for reducing waste.”

Exclusive one-off pieces from The Studio, including returning men’s shirts, will also be available at the pop-up store located at 833 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021, open through June 14 (hours will vary depending on the day).

About Carl Schroeder

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