Last March, Brian Bolke—the cofounder and former president of Forty Five Ten—launched a chic concept store in New York City’s Hudson Yards. A departure from the buy-now-take-now retail model, The Conservatory blended brick-and-mortar shopping with online shopping, giving people a place to see and feel luxury goods before purchasing them for future home delivery.
And it worked. Sort of. People bought things, but an imperfect supply chain and a desire to control the customer journey prompted Bolke to pivot to a more traditional model a few months ago. Now, 70 percent of the wares available at the 7,000-square-foot Chelsea store can be carried right out the door.
In September, Bolke opened “a window into the brand” in Highland Park Village. Barely bigger than a walk-in closet, The Conservatory holds a collection so rigorously edited that it could cause heart palpitations in those who believe more is more. Tucked into its 400 square feet is an ever-changing mix of heritage and emerging luxury brands—from hand-poured French candles to the perfect pocket tee—and everything is available to take home immediately.
A return to the Dallas retail landscape was “not at all the plan,” Bolke says. “But I am a sentimental person, and when I found out that the address [of the available space] was 4 Highland Park Village, which was my original address in basically the same spot I opened Avant Garden 25 years ago, I thought it was a sign.”