If you thought Target would just sit back and enjoy the marketing spoils of their latest hotly-anticipated designer collaboration with Jason Wu (which, need we remind you, goes on sale Feb. 5), you've underestimated the mass retailer.
Today, Target unveiled the next chapter in its design partnership model: The Shops at Target.
The program, in which shop owners of specialty stores, mom-and-pop shops, and boutiques across the nation co-create affordable (we're talking from $1 to $160), limited-edition collections, will appear in Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com.
The first flight includes five different shops — from beauty and fashion to curated candy to cute dog toys and home goods — and will debut May 6 for six weeks. Then, it's on to another handful of unique shop owners to get the star Target treatment.
After scouting every corner of the country, the powers-that-be at Target already have the next set of shops selected, and although they won't give details, they do say they won't be in the same product categories but will definitely hit stores in Fall 2012.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's meet the lucky boutiques that are joining the ranks of Rodarte, Missoni, Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon …
The Webster — Miami
[image id='41ac0863-7a71-4121-9094-c3f6a4e2d61c' mediaId='73276b13-ac31-45f9-a599-2a0d7c74bab7' loc='C'][/image] The multi-brand boutique, founded by Laurie Heriard Dubreuil and Milan Vukmirovic, has been in business for only three years but has created a mix of luxury accessories and men's and women's ready-to-wear. For Target, the apparel is inspired by Miami Beach with flamingo and deco prints on flowing maxi dresses, wedges, and belts.
The Candy Store — San Francisco
[image id='3fcbdc62-1d4c-4108-bebd-2f97469e0439' mediaId='780158b5-c44b-487d-b848-a182cb6973ba' loc='C'][/image] Co-founder Brian Campbell joked that he almost threw out the initial letter from Target, having assumed it was junk mail. Since then, and like the other shops featured, he and his wife Diane have been working closely with Target's creative team from concept to creation for the past eight months. Much like their shop's curated sweets, the Target collection will feature nostalgic favorites like jaw breakers, black licorice dogs, and gummy fried eggs.
Privet House — Connecticut
[image id='1f09678d-0378-47d4-a64c-36b1512334e6' mediaId='fc04f6ea-0a00-4818-8069-f4d45c3c80c6' loc='C'][/image] Antique and vintage furniture has been the focus of both Richard Lambertston and Suzanne Cassano when they opened their home and garden store. Their Target line will showcase their preppy aesthetic on stationary sets, wire birdcages, metal planters, and melamine plates.
Cos Bar — Aspen
[image id='9e850ab7-f1e1-4a06-9ee8-2e027b3a42a3' mediaId='e91e90a4-be56-4301-932e-0dead300eab5' loc='C'][/image] The longest-running shop to make Target's first-round cut is this beauty boutique, which has been in business in the small Colorado resort town since 1976. And although owner Lily Garfield has since opened 12 stores in eight states and sells products at even the four-digit price point, all the items in her exclusive line of body care creams and beauty tools will sell for less than $30.
Polka Dog Bakery — Boston
[image id='906c3044-59ce-4dee-ac77-3c3c1bba14bb' mediaId='7e999845-a218-41a7-8fb9-5a5c406a3671' loc='C'][/image] The mascot of this quirky pet shop, opened by Robert Van Sickle and Deb Gregg, happens to be a one-eyed boxer from Puerto Rico. So, it was a surprise to Robert when they were selected to go national with their natural, freshly baked goods and dog accessories. For Target, they'll be offering edible treats as well as brightly colored dog bowls, collars, and harnesses.