The jeweler is opening a café at its iconic New York flagship store and selling ‘Everyday Objects’ that include a $9,000 ball of yarn; an attempt to make the brand relevant for younger customers
It’s taken nearly 60 years but you can now Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Jeweler Tiffany & Co. has just launched a café at the flagship boutique on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue which inspired Truman Capote’s 1958 novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the eponymous film starring Audrey Hepburn as an “American Geisha,” as the author famously described his flighty café society girl. The Blue Box Café, which opened Friday, serves up brunch-y meals including a $29 set of coffee with either avocado toast, truffled eggs or a smoked salmon bagel made from that famous New York City tap water. And, of course, both the cutlery and walls come in Tiffany blue.
The new dining spot was completed as a part of a makeover of the flagship, a perennial tourist favorite. That said, the store has seen footfall drop in the past year thanks to online shopping and its location as an anchor of President Donald Trump’s Manhattan residence. The latter in turn has drawn the heavy presence of police and Secret Service personnel, but Tiffany’s is hoping the café will change things. “We hope it will draw customers up to experience the artfully composed home of Tiffany’s,” a senior executive at the company told Vanity Fair.
“Jewelry is a very planned purchase, but the food offerings are a chance for people to come to the door regularly and once they’re there, they may see something they want,” says marketing expert Chuck Welch. “And food by its very nature is a social lubricant. If you like the cuisine, you’ll come in not just by yourself, but with friends.”
And there’s also the fact that salmon and avocado toast is catnip for millennials, many who see Tiffany’s as a “staid, classic brand,” he adds.
The café’s chi-chi atmosphere jives with an early creation of Reed Krakoff, who took over as Coach’s chief artistic officer earlier this year: his first collection for Tiffany’s included a handmade tea set. The company also recently unveiled an “Everyday Objects” collection that includes $350 salt-and-pepper shakers and a $9,000 ball of yarn—all crafted from sterling silver. Tiffany has since been the subject of much recent online buzz—which was presumably half the point of the latter product range.
The ascension of the former Coach designer has coincided with signs of financial revival at the 180-year-old label. There’s some empirical evidence suggesting that millennials aren’t splashing out for engagement rings because they prefer spending on experiences over objects; consumer sales of diamonds dropped by 3% in 2015. And even when they do, millennial customers getting married later and turning to more inexpensive competitors for wedding and anniversary jewelry—a mainstay of Tiffany’s profits—the firm had seen almost two years of mediocre sales before beating earnings and revenue predictions in its most recent quarter. In August, Tiffany reported net income of $115 million, up from $105.7 million in the corresponding period a year ago. The company declined to comment for this story.
The improved performance was attributed to better sales in Tiffany’s cheaper fashion jewelry range, which is friendlier to cash-strapped millennial pockets. The $350 kitchen shakers and $375 ice cream scoop might strike some as ludicrously priced—but they’re also more attainable than the price-on-request 26 carat diamond rings Tiffany’s is best known for. (Some wealthy Gen Y-ers have also turned to the jeweler’s bestselling Hardware collection, which is fronted by millennial favorite Lady Gaga.)
“Tiffany’s is reacting to a reality that has already happened,” says Welch, founder and chief strategy officer of Rupture Studio. “Prada and Hermès create worlds and allow you to come into the brand through different doors. You may not like the jewelry, but maybe you love the food, art or the brand ambassadors. They’re trying to enhance the way you live through different means.”
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