Q&A: Sarah Jessica Parker Reflects on Great Retail

Sarah Jessica Parker

The queen of shoes herself, Sarah Jessica Parker, who played as the infamous Carrie in Sex in the City, knows a thing or two about fashion. Actually, as an owner of the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker product line and two brick-and-mortar stores, Parker knows quite a few things about fashion accessories, the female consumer and the importance of a great in-store experience.

Just before her chat on the AmericasMart LIVE stage in Atlanta, Parker sat down with Editor in Chief Lenise Willis to answer a few questions about her home and personal style, and what we all want to know: What is her go-to gift?

LW: Tell me a little bit about SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker; how would you describe its style?

SJP: We have three pillars that are important to us (in designing shoes). One is quality. All of the shoes are handmade in Italy. One is color as a neutral which is really important to us. And one is price point, which is complicated given that they’re made in Italy.

LW: SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker is a relatively young line, just three years old, and you just opened your second brick-and-mortar store in Las Vegas. What have you learned in the process?

SJP: We are a new business; we are in our third year and we’ve learned an enormous amount about being in business and our retail partners and how to connect with our customer. I think our design really reflects what we know about her. We design shoes for a customer we feel we know more and more. We do distinguish between need and want and we try to offer a party for your foot. But also we want people to feel like these are shoes that are an investment that should feel relevant five years from now. We try not to flirt with trends. Our shoes should feel like a relationship versus an affair.

LW: Do you think of yourself as a good gift-giver?

SJP: I love giving gifts and I try to be creative about it and thoughtful about it and consider the person. But there are also some things when you don’t know someone well, if you love it, it can be (a nice reflection of you and still a nice, thoughtful gift).

LW: When you need to pick up a general gift for someone, what’s your go-to?

SJP: There’s a candle that I love that I always give from a store in New York called Aedes de Venustas. It’s a perfumery and candle store and it’s been in the West Village for many, many years. They have beautiful candles from all over; they’re like a global repository. And they wrap their candles in a very wide, three-and-a-half, or four-inch wide double-satin navy blue or black ribbon with tight, fresh flowers within the bow. It’s really quite something. It’s just such a nice gift for whomever. I love that store. It’s really a special place; I love these small businesses. And it’s harder and harder to support these small businesses in New York because the rent is always so high (and it’s hard for them to withstand). We have a lot of small businesses in our community and we really like to support them.

There’s also a bookstore called Three Lives bookstore that’s been in our community for 20-some, 30-some years, and it’s famous for being incredibly cared for and a beloved bookstore. So, that’s my other go-to-gift, a good book.

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