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Young Designers Who Can't Afford Retail Rents Now Have a Store of Their Own

Ronde Coletta

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Yazid Aksas is coming to the rescue of young New York labels, including his own. The founder of Beau.com, a custom men's clothing brand that runs on user requests, is setting up a shared retail space for emerging designers called Public Factory. It's a much cheaper alternative to establishing a permanent shop — a process that most couldn't take on otherwise, between crazy-high rents and long leases.

"The terms and conditions to open your own store are so out of whack compared to what most people can afford," Aksas told Crain's of his concept; the brick-and-mortar space opens at 310 West Broadway (within the Soho Grand hotel) on September 22nd. He explained that he's shooting for the middle ground between a short pop-up shop and the standard ten-year retail lease. "We build the space and manage it, pay electricity and Internet and those things designers don't want to deal with."

What's left is the stuff that got designers into the business in the first place: their product. A $3,000 monthly fee (there's a minimum three-month commitment) gets each brand about 100 square feet of space at Public Factory, which is starting out with eleven other menswear designers next week.

If all goes well here, Aksas plans to open up a similar set-up just for womenswear; he says that 25 brands are already on a wait-list for that hypothetical space.

Public Factory

310 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA