Online retailer Everlane plans to open its first physical retail store on Saturday, marking a major departure from the company’s original vision.
The store, in New York, will sell Everlane’s trademark T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and shoes. There will also be space for dinners, workshops, and talks, according to the Washington Post.
A second store is planned for San Francisco in February 2018.
Everlane’s push into physical retail locations comes five years after CEO Michael Preysman told the New York Times’ T Magazine that the company would “shut down” before opening a brick and mortar store. Fortune contacted Everlane about the about-face and will update this article as necessary.
The change in direction follows a pattern for many online retailers. For example,Amazon and Warby Parker, both of which were originally online-only, have opened shops in the past five years.
Everlane’s physical retail strategy started with experiments with pop-ups—Not a Shop, Shoe Park, Cashmere Cabin—and open houses to learn about where the products are from. It also has “pop-ups” at a limited number of Nordstrom locations. Some of the pop-up tests were more experiential than consumer-focused, allowing consumers to walk around in Italian shoes, or hang out and sip hot coco with cashmere. The partnership with Nordstrom was said to be a success. Nordstrom co-president Blake Nordstrom told the Washington Post that the Everlane pop-ups were “most successful pop-in concept to date” for the department store.
Everlane’s decision to open stores was driven partly by shoppers wanting the ability to buy online, but return products in a store. The company also said there was customer demand to expand from online-only.
“Our customers tell us all the time that they want to touch a product before they buy it,” Everlane CEO Michael Preysman told the Post. “We realized we need to have stores if we’re going to grow on a national and global scale.”
Everlane, which grew from T-shirts made in a Los Angeles factory starting in 2011, and then into clothing basics, shoes and luxury items like cashmere sweaters, is based around ethically-made goods and “radical transparency” around prices. Shoppers know where their clothing comes from, where their money goes, and are given price options on “sale” items (i.e. if there are surplus items available, you can pay a lower price than the original listed price).
Today, the busy online discount day known as Cyber Monday, Everlane shoppers received an email with the subject line “No Sale Today. Here’s Why.” The email went on to explain that Everlane’s everyday prices are already lower than most retailers. In previous years, Preysman has completely shut down the website for Black Friday, the day of heavy shopping just after Thanksgiving, because it doesn’t have sales. Now, though, the company donates revenue from its sales on Black Friday to its workers.