A fascinating evolution is unfolding at Irvine Spectrum Center.
Three former online-only brands are opening storefronts at the outdoor shopping center to successfully grow their companies.
“We’re so thrilled to be in Spectrum Center,” says Catherine Pike, vice president of retail for Vuori, opening this month. “We’re known for our fabrics, so getting to actually feel them on your hands and body really brings them to life.”
Vuori was founded in 2015 by Southern California surfer, rock climber and yoga enthusiast Joe Kudla, who saw a niche that wasn’t being filled: quality activewear for men.
Kudla wanted to make clothes that he “actually wanted to wear” rather than what mainstream athletic brands were offering at the time. He focused on clothes that could be worn for a workout followed by an errand around town.
“We set out to create a brand and products inspired by that active, coastal California lifestyle,” Kudla says.
Vuori now sells lines of men’s and women’s wear using sustainable fabrics that incorporate products such as upcycled coconut husks, wood pulp and algae to create a soft, supple and environmentally friendly “angel fabric.”
The draw of Spectrum Center
If you want to know which retail centers are top-of-the-class, watch which ones are attracting successful e-commerce brands.
The most successful e-commerce brands are now adding storefronts, in part because of rising advertising costs and in part because well-placed storefronts, in prime retail spaces, attract new and valued customers.
Last month, the La Jolla-based Pura Vida, which began selling ethically handcrafted bracelets online in 2010, chose Spectrum Center to open its first storefront outside of San Diego County.
Over 1,000 customers attended the grand opening, some waiting in line for hours to purchase the popular bracelets worn by celebrities David Beckham and Rihanna.
In a few months, Warby Parker, the world’s first e-commerce eyeglasses brand, will also open a storefront in Spectrum Center.
What’s the attraction?
A smart investment
First off, Irvine Spectrum has a proven track record among first-time brick-and-mortar shops. It is home to the nation’s first storefronts for Oakley, Stance and Hello Kitty Cafe. It also is home to flagship stores for national brands such as Apple and H&M, while Bristol Farms recently opened the first-of-its-kind Newfound Market there.
“New” works at Spectrum Center. In addition, when Spectrum Center received a $200 million reinvestment in 2018 – by replacing a big-box store with 30 new fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants – it created a welcome opportunity for up-and-comers and evolving e-commerce retailers.
“We’re really excited about Spectrum Center,” says Vuori’s Pike. “It’s outside, it’s beautiful, and you’re even surrounded by parks, where the types of activities we make garments for are done every day. In terms of health and wellness, Irvine is off the charts.”