MILAN — High-end puffer brand Khrisjoy is in expansion mode.
A year after Alsara Investment Group took a majority stake in the Italian label established by Maurizio Purificato and Marzia Bellotti, the investment company’s view to expand the brand’s global reach, product offer and digital capabilities is taking shape.
“This is a strategic, operative partner, rather than just financial. The deal was about a synergy of visions that can help us to take the right steps in the coming years,” said Purificato, the brand’s managing director. “The push this partner gave us was primarily in terms of structure, it helped us to organize the company,” he added, citing hires in key roles from sales to marketing.
As a result, Khrisjoy has just internalized its distribution activities, which had been handled by Milan’s Riccardo Grassi Showroom for the past five years.
Since its launch in 2017, Khrisjoy and its bold padded jackets have been picked up by 300 points of sale worldwide, including Lane Crawford, I.T., Harrods, Selfridges, Tsum and Galeries Lafayette.
Defined by a touch of eccentricity — the color palette is bright and vibrant, the fit oversize and each style comes embellished with logo drawstrings — Khrisjoy has a luxury positioning, often appearing next to names such as Balenciaga and Gucci.
Italy is the prime market — the brand has 70 doors here — followed by European countries such as Germany, the U.K. and France. China and Russia are also key for the brand, while North America keeps growing via a solid footprint both in the U.S. and Canada, counting on players such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster and Holt Renfrew.
South Korea and Japan are additionally seen as strategic and full of potential, with Purificato underscoring that further distribution deals are in the pipeline for these markets.
Asked if he’s considering opening stand-alone stores, Purificato sounded cautious, postponing the operation to “when it will be the right time, maybe in a couple of years.” Already cofounder of luxury Milan-based multibrand store Antonia, Purificato instead finds pop-ups more interesting.
“They don’t necessarily have to be temporary but even annual or biannual corners could work, as traffic is guaranteed and you intercept a customer that is much more interested compared to passers-by on the street,” he said.
For the time being, his priority is to cement the wholesale presence and focus on the online store, launched earlier this month. Also part of his agenda is to enhance brand awareness through communication and investments in marketing activities. “We’re known in the industry and among fashionistas, but not so much with a larger public,” he noted, although the brand has already been sported by plenty of influencers, models and celebrities, ranging from Heidi Klum to Rita Ora.
A well-known stylist, Bellotti “has had a visionary idea in developing a fashion alternative to an item considered technical as a puffer,” Purificato said. “We found this interesting gap in the market. There are other brands but they have a completely different approach and size compared to us.”
Among these, Purificato praised Moncler for elevating the perception of the category and making a technical item “iconic” through its collaborations with designers such as Giambattista Valli and Thom Browne and, successively, with the Moncler Genius project and all the respective communication activities.
First introduced as a capsule at Antonia, Khrisjoy launched with a women’s offering, which garnered a cult following thanks to its Khris cocooning hooded puffer jacket. Still the bestseller, today the style accounts for 30 percent of sales even as the range expanded to include other cuts — from cropped to sleeveless versions — rendered in different materials, from nylon to tweed and faux leather, in shiny or matte finishes, solid or printed.
As the assortment expanded, the brand attracted customers aged from 20 to 50 and the price tags stretched from roughly 1,000 euros to 2,500 euros.
The company is now working to further boost the collection, including by developing lightweight alternatives to extend the brand’s reach into warmer months.
Menswear was introduced last year but Purificato underscored that a greater focus will be put on the category going forward to balance the offering. Knitwear will be added starting from the fall 2023 collection, while a ski capsule is in the pipeline.
After a mini-me collection produced in-house garnered positive feedback from buyers, the company decided to further delve into this category. Purificato revealed a licensing agreement for kidswear is to be signed shortly, with the deal kicking off with the fall 2023 collection.
On the collaboration front, so far Khrisjoy has developed capsule collections with Nigo’s Bape by A Bathing Ape and Kenzo, with the latter rolling out in 45 flagship stores of the LVMH-controlled brand. Next up, Purificato is eyeing a tie-up with a more technical partner to “explore new territories.”
Alsara Investment Group is an international private investment company based in Switzerland and founded by Rachid Mohamed Rachid. He is also the chairman of Valentino and CEO of the brand’s parent company Mayhoola, which also owns Balmain and Italian menswear manufacturer Gruppo Forall, the producer of the Pal Zileri brand.