founded little over a decade ago in seattle, founder jill wenger knew from the very beginning what to bring to the table for totokaelo. having little experience in the retail industry, but astutely perceptive of the shifting needs and requirements of a new generation of shoppers, wenger crafted a concept that struck a sensitive chord. fast forward to 2015 in new york city where the young entrepreneur has taken a new leap of faith. wenger has relocated her operations to the u.s. east coast to make her biggest retail statement to date, and create a new blueprint of sorts for even bigger endeavours in the future.
settling for a five-storey red brick building in the heart of soho, and was previously owned by artist arturo di monica who left a mark on the interior that has been lovingly incorporated in the new setting. the totokaelo store measures a whopping 8,500 sq.ft. [790 sqm.] but manages to evoke the feel of a private apartment, albeit a rather fabulously designed one. as a result, each space has a distinct setting and atmosphere that effortlessly matches the tightly curated merchandise on display, and the aesthetic very much reflects wenger's aim to provide a shopping experience that's unusually personal.
mind you, the same can be said of totokaelo's staff as most of them are hand-chosen and mostly friends. but let's go back to the store, shall we? while all fixtures across the premises have been custom-made, it was wenger herself who sourced all the beautiful furniture pieces. a true perfectionist, she even flew in her trusted gardner from seattle to design the roof terrace garden. and although the store may easily impress by the fabulous way it looks, its the clever details that make it stand out. for instance, fitting rooms come with ipads that allow shoppers to communicate with staff on the sales floor, and even totokaelo-branded robes for the more assertive.
so, what's on the shelves of this quirky emporium? obviously, the curated stuff it has gained quite a reputation with, but in amplified form. you'll find key men's and women's apparel pieces, the kind that lends one's wardrobe a happening edge, in addition to matching shoes, accessories and bags. the brand list is fairly elaborate and packed with fashion power, featuring a cool mix of both established names and smaller niche labels such as rick owens, anntian, robert geller, vetements and the row. location: 54 crosby street [soho].