Seaman Schepps has closed its store at 485 Park Avenue in Manhattan, a parlor-like space where the legacy jeweler had sold its classic shell earrings and wooden link bracelets for the last 60 years. The company will now base its sales out of its Palm Beach, Fla., boutique, located at 237 Worth Avenue, and will continue to operate a seasonal store in Nantucket, which runs from mid-May to mid-October.
Founded in in 1904, Seaman Schepps was an uptown institution — located on a stretch of Park Avenue known for its purveyors of fine goods, like linens stores E. Braun & Co. and D. Porthault and opulent home furnishings emporium Scully & Scully.
But with the closure of its New York store, Seaman Schepps’ designs, which strike a delicate balance between worlds both whimsical and uptight, will be sold to New Yorkers remotely — through its e-commerce site or over the phone via the Florida store.
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While Hopenhajm would like to open another Schepps boutique in Manhattan in the future, “I think we will wait to see what happens with New York, I think a lot of being in New York is attracting tourists. We have been fortunate to have two other prime locations [in Palm Beach and Nantucket]. Our clients’ weekend and vacation homes have become their primary residences [in these times] and we are focusing on our online business, which is more important now than ever,” Hopenhajm said.
The caselines, mirrors and furnishings from Seaman Schepps’ Park Avenue store — much of them original to Schepps’ first New York boutique 100 years ago — have now been put into storage until the dust settles. Its jewelry will continue to be made at Trianon’s New York workshop, located in the Midtown jewelry district.
In the meantime, Hopenhajm is focused on marketing the Schepps name to a new generation of collectors who appreciate the jeweler’s more casual nuances. “There are no big fancy parties now, so people want things that are easy to wear — a wooden gold link bracelet or gold and lapis earrings. I think people are sensitive today, our clients are well-off, they are not worried about paying their rent but have to be sensitive to wear something that’s elegant, tasteful and politically correct,” Hopenhajm said.
The Seaman Schepps brand is among a special class of enduring names in American fine jewelry. While another one of those names, Tiffany & Co., is currently in the process of a near-$16 billion takeover by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Hopenhajm has no regrets about keeping the Schepps name more niche and underground.
“I think what happens is that you expand too much, too quickly and you lose your path and have to maintain figures and numbers. I’m not lazy, I’m comfortable with where we are. We are growing, we attract new clients, we have never had a younger clientele than now. Even in challenging times, people are buying — it helps to be a brand that’s wearable,” he said.
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