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Model Business

Suzanne Ennis | March 26, 2019 | Lifestyle Story Shopping

Maggie Rizer is a big online shopper. The East Bay-based supermodel with many Vogue covers to her credit, AIDS activist and mother of four loathes pushy salespeople, but loves clicking “buy” and having purchases show up the next day. It may seem curious that her latest venture, M by Maggie Rizer, is a physical storefront without an e-commerce arm, but it’s all part of the plan. “The whole idea of the store is something entirely different,” she says. Call it the virtual made personal.

In partnership with global retailer Maris Collective, Rizer opened the boutique in San Ramon’s City Center Bishop Ranch last November. (Rizer’s husband, Alexander Mehran Jr., is president and chief operating offices of Sunset Development Company, the developer of the luxury lifestyle complex.) The decor includes vibrant Matthew Williamson wallpaper and a giant Victorian birdcage, and the atmosphere, by Rizer decree, is welcoming and peaceful—“like an extension of my closet or my living room,” she says.

Featured designers include longtime Rizer favorites (Tabitha Simmons, Anna Sui and Dean Harris, the gold hoops of which are a top seller) and brands recently introduced to her by friends (Zimmermann, another customer hit). Also in-store this spring: pieces by Temperley London, Brock Collection, Lisa Marie Fernandez, HVN and Victoria Beckham, as well as Marni, Kenzo and Pixie Lily for kids. Gifts such as candles and Assouline books round out the selection, which is trending more casual and (relatively) affordable as Rizer finds her groove. “Anything is wearable for a model,” she admits. “In real life, you have to scale down and [consider], ‘What am I really going to wear as a mom living in the East Bay?’ ... Finding the fine balance between our customer and my vision, which is bringing the fashion world to our City Center, [is] my goal.”

The personalized customer service and communitycentric experience that Rizer is trying to achieve with the store—and that the center as a whole offers—is simply not replicable online, she says. But one needn’t sacrifice any conveniences. Those who can’t visit in person can check out the store on Instagram (@mbymaggie) and order via phone or email, free overnight shipping included. Plus, instead of facing the endless expanse of the internet, shoppers can trust Rizer has done the hard work for them, curating her store with a fashion insider’s eye. “I search online over and over and over because I’m trying to create an edit of my favorite things... so that’s what the store became,” she says. “It’s the perfect edit.”6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon

Originally published in the Mayrch issue of San Francisco

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