Since 1966, The Yellow Door has grown from a small little gift shop into a dynamic retail juggernaut, attracting customers from all over the country to its flagship stores in Brooklyn and Deal, New Jersey. The original core concept of the shop remains today and is key to its staying power. Great prices, luxury department store quality and selection, and the kind of small town concierge customer service that’s hard to come by these days.
Unlike many other small family owned businesses that often have difficulty adapting to new tastes and trends, The Yellow Door has grown under the tutelage of second-generation owner Luna Bijou Zemmol, who took over running the business in 2005. Previously the senior buyer for jewelry, Luna now manages the overall business, along with her husband Jonathan Zemmol. Luna re-focused and tailored the buying and merchandising to reflect today’s fashion trends. Today, in addition to in-store sales, The Yellow Door does a significant business online. Instagram and Facebook have been transformative. According to Luna “It used to be that our storefront was our best form of advertising. Now, with the advent of the Internet, we reach tens of thousands of customers everyday. The Yellow Door cultivates its clientele by providing a very high-level of customer service. Store employees offer a “concierge” approach.
Back when the store first opened with 500 square feet of retail space in a residential neighborhood, Brooklynites pretty much had to go into Manhattan for the best shopping. Founder Sallee Bijou, along with her friend Gladys Shabot, set out to change that by offering luxe “212” shopping to her “718” friends and neighbors. Shabot retired a few years later and Sallee nurtured the business and developed its identity. With an oversized personality, Sallee took risks in starting a business well before it was common for women to work outside the home. The original “door” was in the heart of a residential neighborhood, on Avenue M, right near the old historic Vitagraph studio. The store has grown in size and stature, with the flagship Brooklyn store now covering over 6,000 square feet. A second location opened in 1977 in Deal, a resort community on the Jersey Shore.
Fashion cognoscenti have long recognized The Yellow Door as a “go to” shop. It’s legacy – and tradition – passed down through generations. Designer Isaac Mizrahi fondly remembers visits to the store with his mother Sara, who recently said, “I’ve been going to The Yellow Door since it first opened it’s original little boutique. It was Sallee’s stage – and what a stage she set! She was like Auntie Mame, except her stage was a jewelry counter. She was irresistible and so was the merchandise.”
The Yellow Door’s success hinges on the unique and highly appealing product mix. The boutique-nature of the store provides shoppers with a pre-selected array of merchandise; one doesn’t have to wade through the vastness of an impersonal department store to find lifestyle enhancing treasures.
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