Bird, the ‘Burg & Jen Mankins’ Brooklyn-based Bet

This is the first of 5 feature pieces in our series on Retail Alchemy 101, a weekly Wednesday feature for the retail, indie fashion and entrepreneurial-marketing inspired set.

So much has been said and written and video’d and blogged about Jen Mankins, the polite visionary behind Brooklyn-based Bird, a no-joke powerhouse purveyor of smart styles, fashion hip and chic. Adding to this list with another deep-dive or tribute seems daunting at best, potentially redundant at worst. But there is something that has not been said over the 2 years that Bird’s Williamsburg mecca first took off. With the gutsy move to expand her chainlet in 2009 to a fast-changing strip of retail on Grand Street, off Bedford and south of the psychological divide that once was Metropolitan Avenue, Mankins staked her position in the pantheon of indie shops in New York City by going Brooklyn.

It used to be that location was the sole driver of a business’s lifeblood. Or perceived as such. Everyone has that elderly family member coaxing him or her to consider location, location, location. But today’s emboldened entrepreneurs are fast demonstrating that you can make a name for yourself by going where no other has gone. Or, so far in the life of Bird, by choosing NOT to go where others have gone.

So far Bird’s bets seem to have paid off with high-profile collaborations with J. Crew’s Madewell and the loyal shoppers able to get their Rachel Comey, Isabel Marant, Steven Alan or Band of Outsiders fix without having to leave the borough.

[photo credit: @eqx1979 via Flickr]


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