British retailer Ted Baker has just landed on a prime stretch of Fifth Avenue with a three-story flagship. It’s an iconic moment for CEO and brand founder Ray Kelvin. “I started in my kitchen, so if you start something in your kitchen and you grow to have a store on Fifth Avenue, that’s quite the journey,” he said.
The store spans more than 7,000 square feet and includes womenswear, menswear, footwear and accessories. It is the biggest Ted Baker store in the U.S. to date.
Kelvin founded Ted Baker in 1988 out of Glasgow, Scotland, initially as a men’s shirting store, expanding first within the U.K. and then internationally.
The CEO and founder is notorious for avoiding personal publicity and the only photos released of him include those with his head partially obscured. Ted was conceived of as Kelvin’s alter ego, while Kelvin’s mantra for the business has always been “twice the product at half the price,” a philosophy that has served the brand particularly well during the downturn.
“It’s a luxury-designed and produced product, but it’s an affordable price—the fabrications, the best stitching that we can afford," Kelvin said. "We don’t spend a fortune on advertising and PR and the customer benefits."
The Fifth Avenue store is modeled after a traditional London townhouse, “Ted’s Grand House,” set in the 1920s. Details include an Art Deco staircase, a chandelier made of vintage champagne coupes and butler bells on the wall. Dressing rooms are plush and complete with velvet curtains. The registers on the women’s floor were designed to look like a vanity. Current stock includes everything from ladylike dresses in vibrant colors like cobalt blue to leather clutches for women and checked double-breasted jackets and whimsical print ties for the guys.
This store opening marks the 18th in the brand’s portfolio, the third in New York City, and there are others in the works. “We are opening up another store in Singapore, we are opening three in China this year,” Kelvin said.
Kelvin hopes that the unique Britishness of the store will continue to resonate in the U.S. "The irreverence, the quirky English wit that seems to travel quite well and the love and care that we show to our customers [is what sets us apart],” he said.
Ted Baker’s new store is located at 595 Fifth Ave. at 48th St.