VICI, the northern California women’s brand known for selling trendy clothes at affordable prices primarily online, is putting out some retail feelers with two new pop-up stores in trendy Southern California locations.
In October, VICI unveiled a 640-square-foot store, which will be open for one year, on popular Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the shopping hot spot in Venice where other California brands Aviator Nation, Faherty, The Great and Everlane also have outposts.
On Wednesday, the brand unveiled an 1,800-square-foot pop-up, to be open for six months, in the upscale Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, Calif.
“We are seeing the opportunity to meet our customers where they are and further build upon the VICI community we have already established,” said Lindsay Shumlas, the company’s chief executive officer. “Our business has always been powered by our social and influencer community.”
Since 2019, VICI has had one permanent store in Nashville. The large 3,000-square-foot location has done well for the company. “We strongly believe in the in-person shopping experience,” Shumlas said, “and to further share what the brand is all about.”
The Fashion Island store, whose neighbors include big department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, looks like a stylist’s closet with modern details. Polished concrete floors with marble accents are complemented with wood elements, greenery and textured couches for touches of warmth. There’s contemporary lighting and clean spaces for an uncluttered feel.
The brand is all about trendy clothes and accessories sold at affordable prices, including embellished velvet blazers, sequin flared pants, plaid miniskirts, metallic cowboy boots and pearl headbands. Most of the company’s merchandise is manufactured in Asia, including China, with an average price point of $50. Some knitwear production is done in L.A., including knit dresses, which have been a popular seller for the company.
VICI was founded in 2012 by Sandra Sayegh Dudum and her stepdaughter Aimee Dudum Colorado, in Walnut Creek, a bedroom community 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. Sandra graduated in 1984 from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in L.A. with a bachelor’s degree in advertising before she took on several fashion jobs at Nordstrom and at GlamBomb, a skin care products enterprise where she became the CEO.
As part of their business model, the two founders opened a VICI store years ago in Walnut Creek and grew the label to include clothing, accessories and footwear. That store was closed. At one time, there was a store in Corona del Mar, a town next to Newport Beach, which was shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, VICI was sold to San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity company primarily focused on growth-capital investments in consumer companies. TSG has worked with companies including Paige, Revolve and Planet Fitness.
After the acquisition, Aimee stayed on as the chief brand and fashion officer while Sandra recently stepped down as chair of the board.
Shumlas, who previously was the CEO at Manhattan Beachwear, one of the country’s largest swimwear manufacturers, came on as VICI’s CEO in 2022. She works from Newport Beach and commutes to northern California. Earlier this year, VICI set up a 12,000-square-foot design studio in the Arts District of Los Angeles where the brand’s photography, merchandising and design are done.
Key to VICI sales has been daily merchandise drops, whether it be online or at stores, catering to the VICI customer described as a modern millennial woman balancing work, family and her personal life. “On average she is in her 30s,” Shumlas said, “and likes the styling tips offered to put outfits together.”
Consumers will have more opportunities to do some in-person shopping next year at VICI as the company contemplates opening more pop-up stores to test the market.