It took a pandemic for legendary Los Angeles fashion boutique Maxfield to launch e-commerce for the first time in its 50-year history.
“We changed our computer system a year ago with the idea to go into online, and we probably would have rolled it out in the fall. But faced with the virus and having zero idea when we can reopen, we gathered all the assets we could get our hands on and went for it,” Maxfield buying director Sarah Stewart told WWD.
The site launched this week with a Casablanca for New Balance sneaker drop “that sold out in two minutes,” Stewart said, explaining that her team is uploading new men’s and women’s merchandise, jewelry, gifts and antique furniture photos about three times a week. The fashion assortment includes Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Maison Margiela, Rick Owens and Givenchy spring collection clothing, pieces from the Facetasm x Levi’s collaboration, as well as Maxfield’s edit of L.A. cool labels Amiri and Fear of God, and one-off exclusives, like a Jay Ahr hand-embroidered vintage 1969 Hermès Kelly bag for $55,000, a Mad reworked Rolex watch for $44,000 and a Rogue Bespoke roach clip for $3,895.
Stewart said the store’s loyal Instagram following (126,000) was a clue that the online customer was there. “We started DMing to sell on IG a bit, and we had a lot of response to that,” she said, adding that Instagram is the number-one driver to the new web site.
Maxfield is faring about as well as other speciality stores during the coronavirus pandemic. Closed since the third week in March, it had to furlough most of its employees at the main store on Melrose Avenue, the Gallery store across the street, and the Malibu outpost. Like others in the industry, Stewart is ruminating on what the world will look like post-pandemic, whether she and Maxfield founder Tommy Perse will still travel to Paris to buy collections, or do more virtually, and how the store will operate when the stay-at-home order is lifted.
“We’re looking forward to the day we can open up and hire back those people. They will have to wear masks and gloves, customers coming in will need to wear them, and we will need to limit the numbers at any one time,” said Stewart of the future of the Hollywood hot spot that routinely opens its doors to Angelina Jolie, Kanye West and the like. “The days of people who like to travel with their posses and bring 20 people into the store are over.”