Maggie Marilyn Opens First Store, Exits Wholesale

SYDNEY Maggie Marilyn is cutting out the middleman.

On Thursday, the four-year-old, Auckland, New Zealand-based fashion brand opened its first freestanding boutique — an 860-square-foot space in Auckland’s downtown Britomart precinct.

The first of a potential international network of 10 stores that founder/designer Maggie Hewitt plans to roll out in Australia, the U.S. and U.K. over the next few years, she told WWD, the store opening followed 24 hours after Hewitt revealed on social media that Maggie Marilyn is exiting all wholesale channels to become a 100 percent direct-to-consumer brand.

Beginning Thursday, customers will only be able to purchase the brand via the Auckland store and the web site.

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Accounting for 20 percent of the business, e-commerce sales grew 233 percent in the 12 months to October, according to Hewitt.

Sustainability has been one of the key pillars of the Maggie Marilyn business since it began in 2016. Future initiatives include a free-of-charge garment repair scheme and a collection program for old Somewhere garments, with all fabrics to be sea-freighted forthwith, to help reduce carbon emissions.

Outside the new Maggie Marilyn boutique in Auckland’s Britomart precinct. Motion Sickness

Designed by Auckland-based interior designer Katie Lockhart, the store features oak-paneled fittings and corrugated glass panels, with garments merchandised behind a series of sliding doors, reminiscent of a wardrobe.

“I think all of us working in this industry understand the challenges of being on that hamster wheel and feeling like you can’t get off,” said Hewitt, who was selling through more than 70 international stockists within two years of graduation from Auckland’s Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in 2015, including Net-a-porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Lane Crawford and Selfridges.

“We grew so quickly, the wholesale side of our business, so it became quite disconnected from who our customer was. I think we really just wanted to take the bull by the horns and own our story, own our messaging, own how our product is displayed in our stores,” the designer said.

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