Celebrating a decade in business, Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff, co-founders of the indie brand Jonathan Cohen, are reflecting on their journey and the success of their temporary store on Madison Avenue. Originally planned as a month-long experiment, the store has extended its lease until January due to the overwhelming demand for their merchandise. The brand has also recently launched its first capsule collection on Amazon Luxury Stores.

Leff attributes the store’s success to the forgiving post-pandemic retail scene, allowing young brands like theirs to test and learn. Pop-up shops have offered flexibility and fluidity to independent labels, who previously faced risks with long-term leases.

The couple initially tested the pop-up concept downtown, noting that downtown shoppers were more hesitant when it came to higher-priced items. To ensure robust sales at their Madison Avenue store, they introduced the Resort 2022 collection but will also feature the fall and holiday collections. During the pandemic, Cohen and Leff operated out of their respective apartments before deciding to open the Madison Avenue store, which now serves as a stockroom and office space.

Having a physical store has provided the opportunity to interact directly with customers, which Cohen and Leff have found rewarding. One customer even spotted a dress in the store window from her own window and ultimately made a purchase for a special family event. Cohen believes their brand brings something new to the Upper East Side, introducing fresh names to the affluent neighborhood.

In addition to showcasing their designs, the store has hosted trunk shows and collaborated with other fashion brands, such as Khiry, Gigi Burris, Aera, and Mark Cross bags. Monthly shopping events, including one featuring a Churro company, have also drawn attention.

The revival of the Upper East Side neighborhood, previously suffering from empty storefronts during the pandemic, has created a vibrant atmosphere with the arrival of new cafes and businesses. Cohen and Leff have found observing how customers wear their clothes enlightening, leading to adjustments in production and design based on feedback and alteration requests. Men have shown particular interest in their shirts, and the store allows them to test different styles and pieces not available through wholesale accounts.

A recent highlight for the brand is the launch of their capsule collection on Amazon Luxury Stores. This collection includes dresses in sizes XS to 5XL, offering their most extensive size range yet. Made from recycled fabric, the dresses are designed to be machine washable and packable, with prices ranging from $395 to $450.

Cohen and Leff also prioritize sustainability and take pride in their efforts to reduce waste. They creatively utilize fabric remnants, such as covering a black evening dress with upcycled fabric-covered metal appliques. Limited quantities of certain styles are produced based on leftover fabric, and they collaborate with artists to incorporate fabric scraps into designs. The store also features furniture by designer Fernando Mastrangelo, available for purchase. Their philanthropic arm, Flowershop, has expanded to include stationary by Dempsey & Carroll.

As Jonathan Cohen celebrates their ten-year milestone, the couple continues to innovate and experiment. The success of their temporary store and the launch of their Amazon Luxury Stores collection demonstrate their adaptability in the changing retail landscape. With a strong focus on sustainability and engaging with customers, the brand continues to make an impact in the fashion industry.

Useful Links:
Jonathan Cohen Official Website
Jonathan Cohen Capsule Collection on Amazon Luxury Stores