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Best Buy Teams With Designers for Tech Accessories

Photo By Courtesy Photo

NEW YORK — A new line of tech accessories — designed by Nanette Lepore, Anna Sui and Isaac Mizrahi New York — will be sold exclusively at all Best Buy stores.

The collections, which include smartphone, tablet and laptop cases, will launch at bestbuy.com and Best Buy stores on Oct. 5 and are available for pre-order, beginning today.
The designer series will be featured on Best Buy’s landing page, beginning today at 6 a.m. at bestbuy.com/designerseries.

Mary Ortizcazarin, Best Buy’s vice president of accessories, said when she came into the role 18 months ago, she discovered there was a gap in the retailer’s assortment, and specifically in its cell-phone accessories. “The gap was toward our female shoppers. Best Buy has always had an incredible assortment in ultimate protection, durable goods, things that really protect your device. The consumers were telling us that they wanted to personalize their device and bring a little more fashion and trend into their everyday life.”

To address that gap, the company started talking to a local partner in Minneapolis, which led to a collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Best Buy selected Lepore, Sui and Mizrahi for their initial offerings. “We thought that those designers would be recognized by many of our consumers, and even if they weren’t recognized by our consumers, they would quickly realize how relevant those designers are in the market,” she said. “We believe that by bringing in products like this, we’ll bring more customers into our stores.”

Lepore’s and Sui’s proceeds from the sales of tech accessories sold at Best Buy will benefit the CFDA.

There is no question that Best Buy has struggled in its revenues and comps due to weakness in the consumer electronics segment and stiff competition from online retailers such as Amazon Inc.

Ortizcazarin said the retailer intends to have an ongoing relationship with the designers. The merchandise will be housed in permanent locations in eight-foot departments in all 1,000 large-format Best Buy stores.

“We have an incredible holiday season ahead of us. The data will tell us what the long-term possibilities could be. It could be these three designers, or an additional option comes in. It’s all going to be how she reacts to these over the holidays,” she said.

Smartphone cases will retail for $29.99, tablet cases range from $34.99 to $39.99 and laptop cases are $39.99.

Each designer had input into their collections. “They basically handed over options to us and we selected which pieces we thought would make most sense for us,” Ortizcazarin said. “We tried to eliminate any repetitiveness among each of them. It was about providing interesting choices for our female customers.” She said the merchandise will hit a broad demographic and isn’t geared to any particular age group.

Mizrahi, for example, will offer his iconic prints: polka dots, stripes and florals mixed with hues of fuchsia, lavender and gold.

“My tech accessories are inspired by my favorite elements — hand embroidery, gorgeous sequins, intricate lace details, bold prints,” said Lepore.

“We continue to see the intersection of fashion and technology and have partnered with Best Buy to be at the forefront of this innovation,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. “These partnerships have allowed our designers to enter the personal technology space and enabled them to launch their collections nationwide.”

WWD By LISA LOCKWOOD

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