What other store has a moving day “conga line” of more than 100 customers/friends to help relocate dozens of racks of clothing and assorted elements? But then Butch Blum is no ordinary store.
Just in time for their 40th anniversary, Butch Blum Seattle has re-located (to a perfect juncture of office buildings at 1332 Sixth Avenue), re-branded, and reinvented itself. The new store features a media center and a demonstration tailor shop. Customers can discover the Butch Blum philosophy of life etched in placards “hidden” throughout the selling floor and fitting rooms. “Luxury is a matter of money, elegance a matter of education” is just one of their many mantras.
“After a complete re-branding, we’ve gone from being a ‘luxury living room’ to completely modern and mobile,” explains Kay Smith-Blum, a well-respected former fashion exec at Neiman Marcus and more recently named Seattle’s Woman Business Owner of the Year for 2013. “We’re introducing numerous new designer exclusives this summer and fall that will raise the bar in both men’s and women’s. And we’ve created a whole new e-commerce concept that we call our Curated Collection.”
Other interesting facets of their business: a robust internship program that develops new staff members (and has launched fashion careers around the globe for many young participants) and a successful customer rewards program similar to Neiman Marcus’s with participation from many of the best non-competing merchants in Seattle.
Known for his sophisticated taste level (vendors say he tweaks their collections in ways they never thought of themselves) and the introduction of many new men’s and women’s brands (Armani in ’76, Donna Karan in ’92) to the Northwest, Butch Blum (who started his career in his family’s shoe business, moving on to Nordstrom and The Bon) is a true legend in the industry, as well-liked personally as he is admired professionally. Asked what he’s learned these past 40 years, he responds thoughtfully, “I’ve learned that nothing stays the same, and that the strength of our business lies in our ability to change with the times, as exemplified by our new store.”
Butch Blum’s 40th Anniversary celebration on August 1 will feature an outdoor fashion show and a benefit for children’s literacy (Kay just recently completed her term on the Seattle School Board.) For more info on the event, see their website.
Congrats Butch and Kate on 40 fabulous years!