The brand, which is the brainchild of award-winning retail and real estate strategist Emily Salsbury-Deveaux, was first launched in February 2018.
EMMYDEVEAUX first began as a pop-up in West Edmonton Mall, then in Edmonton City Centre, and found a permanent home in a two story building on Calgary Trail (6924 104 Street). The building houses their showroom, shipping & fulfillment, offices, and their studio.
“The Calgary store is going to open on August 15,” said Salsbury-Deveaux. “We really like the vibe at this mall, I have history with the team there and I wanted to work with a mall that understood and valued my vision. I had often said from the beginning that when we started to expand we would be a Cadillac Fairview play. We are excited to work with a landlord that presses the importance of innovation in retail and has a high performing portfolio of properties.”
The fashion retailer will be taking over the old Town Shoes space in the mall in a space spanning just over 2,000 square feet. The Edmonton store is about 1,700 square feet.
“When we were looking at our expansion, our largest customer base outside of Edmonton is Toronto. It is definitely high on our priority list. But since we are still such a young company trying to pave a path of innovation, we really wanted to test our concept a bit closer to home and with a clientele that didn’t already have expectations of us,” said Salsbury-Deveaux. “In Edmonton, our customer really knows who we are. We have a different relationship with them here. It’s a very unique business when 59 of them want to invest and another 25 want to work here. We are a customer centric business, we are devoted to them. We will be the same way in CF Market Mall.”
“The Calgary store will be similar to the Edmonton store. We’re really focusing on a seamless experience between the two stores as well as our e-commerce business and that’s been a really interesting strategy to look at with the mall.”
Salsbury-Deveaux said future expansion is definitely planned for the Toronto market with the CF Toronto Eaton Centre at the forefront of her ambition.
“Every time I’ve travelled to Toronto I’ve always stayed really close to downtown and really close to the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. I feel it’s very familiar for me. It’s a really great mall to be in. Right now, we’re currently focusing on Cadillac Fairview properties. They have a good portfolio of malls. So we’re really looking at how can we maximize our opportunities within their shopping centres across the country.”
“When choosing a team to represent us, Oberfeld Snowcap was the clear choice. I also have history with them and their support of the program and students when I was with the University of Alberta was something I really valued. This business is about relationships and I am fortunate that I have exceptional ones. In terms of growth, our plan would be to expand into the U.S. and other markets through a licensing model similar to LUSH and Zara,” she said.
Darryl Schmidt, vice-president of national leasing for the Western Portfolio Office of Cadillac Fairview, said it’s going to be a “good run” for Salsbury-Deveaux in the CF Market Mall space.
“We’ve energized the area. Mark’s opened their new Well Worn concept there. I’ve known Emily for about six years back when she was at the University of Alberta School of Retailing. She was an impressive young woman there, doing consulting. We were kind of connecting more so from a recruitment standpoint, making sure that Cadillac Fairview was in front of recent grads at the U of A and potential returns on operations or leasing,” said Schmidt.
“We kept in touch. She decided to venture out on her own with a fashion retail concept. We were on a panel this spring for ICSC out at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and I was getting updated by her in terms of how the new venture was going. She really understands retail. She understands how retail shopping patterns and trends are shifting right now. It’s right into her consumer base. A big part of her go-forward growth mandate is going to be experimenting with pop-up stores where she’s seeing traction online and then using that as a vehicle to turn stores into long-term commitments.”
The conversation began there which led to her expansion in August into CF Market Mall.
“From Cadillac Fairview’s perspective, we’re constantly prospecting and looking for new, innovative retail concepts. We get exposed to a real broad cross-section of new retail concepts. What I liked about hers is that it’s well thought out. It differentiated in terms of how rifle-shotted it is to that female customer,” said Schmidt. “We see a lot of stuff. But when I take a look at her retail viewpoint it is very unique and defensible I think in the long term. That’s something that appeals to a major retail landlord like ourselves. This is somebody we think has got a different perspective on fashion and somebody we’ll take a bet on and hopefully grow within the portfolio as she’s ready.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.