It’s been a busy couple of months for Ramy Brook Sharp. Her gorgeous UES flagship debuted in September and has hosted a steady stream of loyal customers and charity shopping events, while her inaugural denim designs swiftly sold out, and will be expanding in a big way. Next up? Her first scent.
What’s new with you and your brand?
We opened our new flagship in September at 980 Madison Avenue, which has been really exciting. Now that we have a larger space, we’re able to do a lot of great events, the majority of which are charity-related. We’re planning to do a lot in 2020 — we’re scheduling at least two a month, but we’re always willing to do more.
Before I started my company, I was involved in different charities. I had more time on my hands and I was able to give back more, and it was very fulfilling. As my company started to grow, I started to work more and not have as much time for charities, but I still wanted to make a difference. I’ve always felt it’s important to give back in any way you can, whether by volunteering, writing a check, introducing your friends to this charity so they can help and get involved. My customers can feel good, too; you have a different mindset when you purchase something, knowing the money is going to help people.
Is your Madison Avenue customer different than those at your other boutiques?
It really spans a range of ages. Teenagers at schools in that area come by, and it’s a big mother/daughter shopping destination. You also see a lot of daughters pushing their stroller with their mothers, so it’s multiple generations of women shopping. It’s not like the mother sitting on the couch waiting for her daughter to try on a bunch of stuff. She’s also buying stuff, the daughter’s buying stuff; the mother will get something in one color, and her daughter will get another color so they can swap. We also have a lot of international clients because we’re surrounded by three major hotels.
You launched denim last February. How are customers responding?
It sold out in the first 48 hours on our website, and denim is already a top-selling category in stores. I didn’t expect that, actually! It took me a while to get the right fit. The customer is excited that we have denim that fits the body well, sucks you in, and lifts you up. We’re continuing to add new denim silhouettes. We have core styles our customers have been gravitating to, and we’re repeating those styles, in different washes. I started my brand because I had so much denim, and I just wanted a top to wear with my denim. I’ve always had piles of denim in every wash, color, and style, yet there were certain styles I could never seem to find.
What voids did you want to fill in your jeans collection?
I wanted something that would look good with high boots, and also styles that would look cute with my booties. I really couldn’t find the fits I wanted for my body, so it was time for me to figure out how to develop denim, which is a whole other animal.
What was the process of developing denim like?
The great thing is, denim is done in L.A. It’s nice to have your product developed in the U.S. What’s interesting is that there are actually only a few types of denim out there, and the way you wash it affects the fit. I love jeans with stretch but didn’t want them to stretch out to the point where you’re upset you didn’t buy a size smaller, which was happening to me.
By the end of the day, I needed to put on a belt, or a pair was so stretched out, they had to go back in the dryer for me to get the fit back to what I wanted. Fixing that in my own denim was a priority for me. Also, 10 years ago, there were a lot of low-waisted denim that I loved, and over time, brands seemed to not be making low-waisted styles anymore. Everything seems to be mid- to high-waisted, and that’s great, but I also miss my low-waisted.
Are we talking early aughts, Frankie B. sort of low-rise?
Not quite Frankie B., even though that was one of my faves! I wore a lot of True Religion, too — super low, the kind of jeans you can literally only stand up in, because if you sat down when wearing those, the top of your tush would show. I used to call them cocktail jeans; you could only stand at a cocktail party. Mine are somewhere between a mid- and low-rise. You could still sit down and half your tush isn’t showing.
What are you most excited about in your Fall collection?
We’re doing some of our popular styles in corduroy, and we’ve added denim jackets—cool, untraditional styles in denim and corduroy, some with faux fur. We’re also doing a whole canvas collection, mostly jackets. It’s the first time we’re offering true outerwear. We’ve done faux fur, but more as toppers for dresses. We have a puffer with faux fur and another puffer that’s reversible — one side is rose gold, and the reverse is ivory, with rose gold hardware. It’s chic and super cool! I love a two-for.
If you’re going to invest in a piece of clothing, you might as well get to use it in many different ways. We’re also adding suiting. We’ve done a few blazers and pants, and outfits here and there but not necessarily in a big way. Now we’re focusing on more suiting. Another category we’ve increased a lot for fall is sweaters, using different types of yarn and silhouettes.
So much is happening for your brand! What’s next?
We’re developing a perfume. Well, it’s already been developed; we already have the packaging. That’s probably going sometime around April, and we’re also doing sunglasses. That’s going to be a new category for us as well.
What has the scent development process been like?
My dad’s a chemist, and the company he worked for was also big in the perfume industry. So I grew up with perfumes all over my house. My mother was one of those all-day, all-night perfume wearers. She always had something to spray! I have fond memories of perfume. I used to wear perfume a lot, but once I was pregnant and had kids, I didn’t wear it anymore. Either the kids didn’t like it, or I didn’t have the time and just didn’t think about it. So it became important again to me to have a fresh, nice perfume. We worked with a chemist at a company in New Jersey, who my dad actually knew. It’s a small world!
How did you select the scent?
Putting perfume on your skin makes it smell different. So I did a ton of different trials of me wearing samples out; if anyone said, “Oh, who smells good?” I’m like “Okay, that’s a winner!” If no one said anything, I was like, “Oh, that one who doesn’t work.” There’s been a bit of trial and tribulation, but I think it’s going to be awesome. It’s floral and feminine but not hugely strong in a way that offends people. Some people have perfumes where it’s like… woah! This is very fresh.
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