Charming Charlie Keeps Chasing Zara Playbook With First NYC Store

Charming Charlie Keeps Chasing Zara Playbook With First NYC Store

Charming Charlie’s first NYC store took six months to build and more than a year and a half to plan, anathema to a chain that has been opening a new location nearly every week the last few years. Founder, CEO, and namesake Charlie Chanaratsopon tells Forbes the delay is acceptable in this case. In fact, selling merchandise isn’t the store’s primary objective.

“We don’t open stores to lose money, so we think we can be profitable here. But it’s bigger than that. One of our objectives is building a brand larger than a business, and New York is the epicenter of that,” Chanaratsopon says.

The 37-year-old Chanaratsopon started the company in 2004 as a side business to fill his Houston shopping mall development projects. But the business outgrew his real estate plans, as cheap prices on watches, necklaces, scarves, and handbags–displayed throughout the store by color rather than type–powered the chain to nearly $500 million in sales last year.