Monday, January 22, 2024

[UPDATE] Sarah's Shoe Stores Struggle to Secure Sustained Success

A store heralded as part of the metamorphosis of Buckhead Village District has closed.  Sarah Flint, a women's shoe and accessory retailer, closed its store at 260 Buckhead Avenue after a little more than a year in business.  

Sarah Flint at Buckhead Village District - Photo: Leslie Andrews 

The store officially closed  Sunday, January 21 after hosting a brief liquidation sale. When the store opened [in place of Joie] in November 2022, it marked the third "permanent" store for the growing brand, joining others in Nashville and Dallas.     

One of our major goals is to continue supporting and expanding retail. I’m excited to continue to reach our customer base through brick-and-mortar,” Flint told The Vanderbilt Hustler in November 2022.  

The Nashville store at the posh Mall at Green Hills and the Dallas store at the upscale NorthPark Center both closed previously.   

A native of Massachusetts, Sarah Flint at age 25 started her eponymous label in late 2013 before going on to open pop-up shops in New York, Washington D.C., and Dallas.  Her classic designs have garnered a following from discerning female shoppers and celebrities alike, including Amal Clooney, Blake Lively, Lady Gaga, Kristen Stewart, and Jane Fonda, among others.    

Several reports indicate that the same Italian factories that produce shoes for Manolo Blahnik, produce shoes for Flint, too.  

In the years since her launch, Flint has expanded her line from shoes to belts, scarves, tablecloths, and more.  The line likely appeals to a shopper who might also be fond of Kate Spade, Veronica Beard, Tory Burch, etc.  That said, and despite her website, under the deadline "Luxury Reimagined," indicating  "We believe every woman deserves luxury, which is why we provide the highest quality shoes without charging the traditional retail mark-up," her wares are not cheap.  

A suede "Fireside House Shoe" will set you back $395.  Pumps start at $550, boots at $995, and Hermes-like scarves at $350+.  

Now married and 35, Flint's brand is seemingly popular enough to remain a going concern, but perhaps not so much that it needs its own retail boutiques.  Flint transitioned to a DTC (Direct to Consumer) model in 2017, and perhaps that is where she will perform best longterm.  Further, Flint introduced "Sequel," a dedicated marketplace off the main Sarah Flint website, where shoppers can buy and sell their gently used Sarah Flint shoes to others.  Sellers can opt to take the cash proceeds - where they collect 70 percent of the selling price, or opt for store credit towards their next pair, in which case they receive all proceeds.  

The capital - both financial and human - needed to operate brick and mortar stores, even a few, is significant, and Flint would not be the first brand to experience growing pains as they expand to owned stores.  

Despite general praise and reported leasing success under Jamestown, Sarah Flint's closure now adds to the glut of available space at Buckhead Village District where Tom Ford, Akris, Christian Louboutin, Brunello Cucinelli and Jimmy Choo have all vacated in favor of space at Phipps Plaza.   Etro, Dior, Moncler, and Hermes all likely to leave, too, as their leases run out and their stores at Phipps, and in the case of Moncler, Lenox, open.  

Are you surprised to see Sarah Flint close her stores?  Are you a fan of Sarah Flint shoes? What price do you consider "affordable luxury" vs. "unaffordable luxury" for womens shoes? 

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Not surprised, this place didn't even have hookah.

Anonymous said...

What is with you and constantly mentioning "hookah" every time this blog writes about Buckhead? Why dance around with silly dog whistles when you can just say exactly what you mean? Perhaps you're just too much of a coward to do so, even anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the store offered bottomless mimosas, hookah, had chicken wings on the ground and/or turned into a club after dark it could have survived? Buckhead is dead. COVID killed it.

Anonymous said...

If a New Year’s resolution was to use more alliteration in headlines, then I think you're killing it!

Anonymous said...

I have one pair of their shoes and they’re terribly uncomfortable. The price point is on par with other luxury brands, but if someone wants to pay that for shoes, they’re going with the luxury brand, not paying that for ones that are mainly worn by influencers.

Anonymous said...

@9:42 what's wrong with hookah? stop being a karen.

Anonymous said...

But Karen likes Sarah’s shoes!

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