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Chris Burch:

See Wonder

You first met him as the business brain behind the Tory Burch empire—but these days, Chris Burch is hellbent on making his own cheeky-chic, affordable-for-all brand, C.Wonder, one for the record books. And this is only one of his projects! BY EDDIE ROCHE PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIORGIO NIRO


our C.Wonder concept is a bit unorthodox. Everyone always says the customer comes first, but we do a lot of things here that no other retailers do. Personalization is the core of the store. Belts, shoes—everything is bright, whimsical, and high quality. These classics will live forever, but from a pricing standpoint, they can be disposable. And return them whenever you like! What’s the average age of a C.Wonder shopper? We believe that every woman is really 39. A 22-year-old woman wants what a 39-year-old woman has, and a 59-year-old woman is actually 39 at heart. How do you lure the ladies? Dressing rooms are important. In ours, you can choose your own music and lighting. And making a purchase is very easy—you can check out from anywhere in the store, and we’ll bring you a bag. On the weekends, we have a DJ. Our Hamptons store even has a candy bar. And whenever a customer returns an item, we give them some big, blingy earrings, because we know it’s a pain in the a** to return something. What’s the logic behind the gratis earrings? The more you do for a customer, the more he or she talks about your brand! We address negative experiences immediately. If someone returns a handbag, for example, we process it and offer a free monogram on the next one. When a client has a baby, we send flowers. We don’t really have any policies when it comes to customer service—except doing whatever we can to make them happy! What was the impetus for that initiative? My favorite hotel in the United States is The Peninsula, and during one stay, my hairbrush fell apart. When I returned to my room a few hours later, it had been glued back together. That’s the essence of customer service. How do you plan to grow the business? We just opened a location in L.A., and we’re hitting the Time Warner Center in September. We’ll open between 30 and 50 new stores in the next year. S T I L L L I F E : C O U R T E S Y O F C .W O N D E R

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