I’ve mentioned this business before, but only in passing. I’ve had a hard time finding it open which I understood last week when I stopped by and learned they close around the time I reach downtown each day and aren’t open on the weekends. Patricia Nash Designs opened on Gay Street in December and they’ve been quietly settling into their new store and headquarters. This is not your typical opening on Gay Street.
Patricia Nash has commuted from Knoxville to New York in recent years and operated her international business from the larger city. The official headquarters and her heart was, apparently, in Knoxville and she made the decision to move most of the operation, warehouse and eleven employees to Knoxville. She also made the decision to open her first storefront, as her products had been sold directly to wholesalers via the showroom in New York City. Her purses and shoes are carried by such companies as Dillard’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s along with many other stores nationwide.
It’s not as if Ms. Nash lacks for other connections to the city. Her husband Jeffrey owns several properties in the Old City, including the Crowne and Goose which he and Pat opened in 2008. He also owns extensive properties in London, making the Nashes the most international of our Knoxville power couples, at least to my knowledge. I like having a mix downtown of local and international people as well as local and some larger businesses. I think it diversifies our portfolio and makes the city more stable.
As for the storefront, it is billed as a “concept store,” where customers will get the first glimpse at new products and have the opportunity to offer solicited feedback. The goal, according to Ms. Nash, isn’t simply to move product, though it is available for sale here as well as on the website and in numerous large department stores. Italian leather is the primary medium and items range from small pocketbooks or wallets to purses and shoes.
The price isn’t cheap, but I’ll be honest and say I expected the prices to be higher. Some items can be had for less than a hundred dollars, but the top-end is what really surprised me: nothing in the store reaches $400. For a large purse or pair of boots to be made of Italian leather, prices between $300 and $400 don’t seem that bad. Not that I’m begging Urban Woman to go there to pick up a few things but that, likely, is inevitable.
Honestly, the products are beautiful and look to last for years, so the value is there. It’s high-end retail by Knoxville standards, but as I said earlier, I think diversity will be our best bet. In the meantime, it appears another shop on the same block may be offering shoes very soon. I’ll let you know about that as soon as I get the scoop.