As a company, New York-based David Donahue has come a long way since its beginnings in 1972 as a maker of men’s jewelry. To show both existing and new customers just how much progress has been made in the past 45 years, the company will be hosting a month-long pop-up shop at Rothmans in Union Square, beginning with a swanky kickoff party on Thursday, October 19 – complete with appearances by former NHL players and NBC Sportscasters (and brand ambassadors) Anson Carter and Brian Boucher.
“I know all we did was jewelry for the first 31 years, and then 14 years ago, we moved on to dress shirts and furnishings. But to this day, we are still known by many people just for our cufflinks, which is now a tiny part of our business,” says Rob Donohue. “So having this shop at Rothmans, which is already an existing retail customer of ours, is an opportunity to show people that the brand has a much greater depth that they might be aware of.”
What that means specifically is that Rothmans shoppers will get the chance to view and purchase a much-expanded selection of offerings. “We’re bringing in everything from sportswear to outerwear so we can change our perception with the public and the industry,” adds Donohue. “We have added five-pocket denim and corduroy pants, more knit shirts, shirt jackets in a Loro Piana storm system, printed shirts, and so many other things we’ve never done before.”
Adds Rothmans co-owner Ken Giddon: “We are very excited about the David Donahue pop-up. Like many other stores, we have had great success with their dress shirts and furnishings. Frankly, though, we had overlooked the tremendous strides they had made in so many other sportswear and tailored clothing categories. To remedy this, in the last couple of years we have added their sport shirts, suits, sportcoats and tuxedos to our mix. This pop-up gives us the opportunity to really showcase the entire David Donahue Collection, and we are sure that our customers will be thrilled to have it.”
Since this is Donahue’s first pop-up store, he wants to make sure every detail is right. All the shelving and fixtures are being made in the company’s warehouse, where they are also building a mock-up in advance of the event. “Let’s say I am trying to take any chaos out of this event,” says Donohue with a laugh.
Once the pop-up is open, Donohue and his staff will be at Rothmans on a daily basis. And should the store run out of an item, there’s no cause for alarm. “We can be in the store from our warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey in 22 minutes; so if we sell-through something, we can feed the store as often as we need to,” he notes. “We often have to re-stock our shirts there three times a week.”
It might appear that the pop-up is a test-run for a standalone David Donahue store, but that might have to wait. “The jury is out on having our own store, although it would be wonderful to have a permanent destination,” says Donohue.
“It’s not because I think I retail is as difficult as people say; in fact, I do believe that if you offer a great product that is priced reasonably, people will not only buy it, they will buy it at a brick-and-mortar store,” he adds. “But right now, we’re building a new showroom in New York City at 1407 Broadway, which will have slightly more than twice our current space, and we’re also building a new warehouse. So, as far as a store goes, I don’t know if I want to add it to my to-do list right this second.”