Corporate Associate Members offer NAPO-NY members the opportunity to provide above-and-beyond services for their clients. This month, Dayna Brandoff of Chaos Theory Inc. shares her experience working with Garde Robe.
Sara Lincoln, senior account specialist and VIP liaison, describes Garde Robe as a luxury wardrobe storage and valet service for people with expensive designer clothes and not enough closet space! They offer a “bespoke” storage experience, including purified air, humidity control, and overall museum-quality conditions. All items stored with Garde Robe are cataloged and clients can access their wardrobe details through their own personal “cyber closet.”
NAPO-NY member Dayna Brandoff had the opportunity to work closely with Garde Robe on “a very special project for a very special client,” as she says, in 2012. While working with the client to clean out her closets, Dayna found countless designer gems from the 1960s and 70s. The client was ready to let the pieces go, but Dayna pointed out the stories they held, and the client agreed that she’d like to work with an archivist to document her collection.
“At first we sent the clothes to Garde Robe just for the photography,” said Dayna. “We weren’t planning to store them. Then we got them back in the beautiful Garde Robe garment bags. Each had a hangtag with the size, a photo of the garment, the designer, and other details listed. Once my client saw the quality and level of detail, she wanted to store with them.” Dayna shared this example of a garment description: “Oscar de la Renta (Vintage). Size 10. Marigold & multicolor floral silk jacquard coat/skirt ensemble. Includes snap gold button decorate coat with fur collar and darted sheath skirt.”
However, the project didn’t stop at just storing and preserving the garments. Dayna and her client took advantage of Garde Robe’s capacity to create separate cyber closet log-ins for multiple people. They created a log-in for the client’s daughter, who doesn’t live in New York, but can use the service to request items from Garde Robe. Sara says that cyber closet log-ins can be created with different restrictions, such as view-only or granting the ability to request items. Garde Robe can deliver items anywhere in the world; for example, you can request to have items delivered to your hotel if you’re going to be traveling.
In addition to giving the client’s daughter access to the garments, Dayna says, “We created a really remarkable book and website for her children to enjoy. It’s a one-of-a-kind, museum-quality book. Each page had a picture of the garment and a picture of the client wearing it, if available, and each garment had a number, like in a museum. We embedded an iPod in the book, so you could punch the number and hear the story.” Overall, Garde Robe photographed and stored 448 of the client’s items, including handbags, gowns, suits, and shoes. Sara notes that for every 50 pieces a client stores, they get free storage space for 10 pairs of shoes and 10 accessories, such as scarves or handbags.
Sara says that Dayna’s client isn’t the only one to use Garde Robe to create an archive. “Some people catalog for insurance purposes, others for sentimental reasons,” she says. “We do have some catalog-only jobs. Some clients also request printed versions, if they’re not tech-savvy. We give them the flexibility to view their wardrobes however they like.”
However, the majority of clients use Garde Robe for seasonal storage. Sara says their busy seasons are from mid-September to December, and from March or April to June. “It keeps their home organized – we come, remove pieces such as their bulky winter coats, and give them more flexibility,” she says. “We store some wedding dresses, but typically clients must commit to at least one rack, which is 50 pieces.”
Garde Robe also works with major fashion designers to store their archives. “We have Carolina Herrera, we have Oscar de la Renta – everything since the beginning of his career. Several houses use us as an active catalog. They can view the pieces in their cyber closet just like everyone else, and request pieces for delivery to their showrooms or photo shoots.”
Garde Robe also works with professional organizers, referring clients to organizers that they’ve worked with previously, including Dayna. Dayna says, “They’ve sent me clients of theirs who needed my help – they take care of the contents of the closets and they recommend me for other areas of the house. We built a good relationship and level of trust with the first project.”
Sara adds, “Clients ask us for recommendations for organizers. Whether the organizer finds us, or we find them, we allow the organizer to be the facilitator, the point of contact for the client. We work with the organizer to make their job easier – we bring the pieces in and out. We’re very cautious and respectful of the trust built up between organizer and their clients. We’ll work with either the client or the organizer, based on their preferences.”
And Garde Robe’s attention to detail is greatly appreciated. “Everyone is beyond pleased,” Dayna asserts. “I think there’s a reason they work with some of the best designers in the business. Your stuff comes back in better condition. It reminds me of the closet in Clueless – it’s the dream! I think Garde Robe does that in a sense, in a more high-level, sophisticated way.”