Despite Recession, Teen Vogue ‘Haute’ to Trot

Despite questions about the strength of consumer spending, Teen Vogue is going into the retail business.

The Condé Nast title is signing a one-year lease at the Westchester Mall to operate the Teen Vogue Haute Spot, building on its pop-up store by the same name.

But unlike the pop-up store, which stayed open for a month and was designed as a place for girls to lounge and try on clothes from Teen Vogue’s advertisers, the semi-permanent Haute Spot will sell products.

A portion of the goods, representing some eight to 12 marketers, will be sold. Keds is one of them.

Laura McEwen, vp, publisher of Teen Vogue, said the success of the pop-up concept led her to consider expanding on the idea.

“We had over 1,000 girls on the weekend coming through the store and wanting to purchase the product,” said McEwen, who was tapped last week to be publisher of sibling pub Self. “It gave us the belief that we can generate revenue and create a store that can be profitable in its own right.”

Teen Vogue will work with a retail management company to operate the store and will get a cut of the sales that will vary depending on the product and category, McEwen said. The 3,600-square-foot store will open in August.

Another key difference between the temporary and semi-permanent store involves the magazine’s relationship with the marketers. Similar to the pop-up store model, Teen Vogue’s marketing department would choose items that were approved by the magazine’s editors, McEwen said.

To be included in the pop-up store, marketers also had to commit to buying pages in Teen Vogue. Going forward, items will be chosen only based on whether Teen Vogue thinks they’ll be interesting and appeal to the store’s target shopper, she said.

Other Condé Nast titles have sold items at events, but the forthcoming Haute Spot is the first time one has sold items on a long-term basis. Historically, the company has been cautious about lending its magazines’ name to products and services, but recessionary pains have forced it to look more aggressively at new business streams.