Douglas Mandel (looking pensive at left) is a talented guy with a lot of guts. A designer and retailer of understatedly gorgeous, high-end menswear, his Kamkyl boutique has been burglarized--get this, insurance brokers--three times (!!!) in the past six months, to the tune of $120,000 in losses.
Instead of wallowing in pity or packing it it, Douglas has taken a different tack, and is turning his misfortune into buzz.
Last week, he sent me an email announcing the cheekily-titled "It's a Steal" sale, where he's clearing out his remaining merchandise to start anew. Two shirts, two jackets, a pair of pants, a coat and a scarf later (these thieves have taste, I must admit), I consulted with the geniuses at Surprise Central to come up with ways to further turn his lemon grove into tanks of lemonade.
1) Expand the ballsy target role. Establish yourself as:
"The TRUE Fashion Victim"
and your stuff as
"Good Enough To Steal...But Better To Buy"
"Inspired Looks, Desired by Crooks"
2) Okay, no guard dogs, but why not flank your doors with Fort Knox-like sentries and overnight armed guards? Yes, it may be costly, but perhaps not as much as three break-ins and increased insurance premiums. Jewelry stores and art galleries do it all the time, but menswear boutiques? Establish a unique high-security look and you'll get invaluable media coverage around the world. Then dare the crooks to hit you again.
3) Set up a mail-order business from your site and deliver each piece in a lock-box that wails like a burglar alarm when opened. Have each piece delivered by Brinks.
4) Offer a reward of a year's wardrobe to anyone who can provide info that leads to the arrest of these S.O.B.s. Offer to design prison uniforms for the perpetrators once they get caught. Do it now and show it off in your store.
5) Better yet, stage your next fashion show in a jail.
Okay...I think it's time to stop drinking.
So go get 'em, Douglas. Take your place alongside Cartier and Versace and Rolex and Edvard Munch's "The Scream"--a creator of tangible aesthetics that people want so badly they will risk prison to get their hands on them.