Early in their careers, brothers Khajak and Haro Keledjian set out to do much more than just build a store: They wanted to transform the way people shopped. “Most customers were geared to buying head-to-toe single-designer outfits,” Khajak says of the prevailing retail experience in 1993, when he and Haro opened the first Intermix in the Flatiron District. In that shop, the inventory was not displayed by brand; instead, it was mixed, matched and merchandised with the aim of creating a specific look. “In a way, we became the stylist,” he says.
This ingenious approach, which championed personal style, was a hit in Manhattan. And it didn’t take long for the one-store operation, where Khajak wore every hat, from buyer to sales-floor manager, and Haro oversaw the back end, to grow into what Intermix is today. Now, just weeks after joining retail heavyweight Gap’s family of brands, the men are preparing to open a boutique on the Bowery. They’re careful to make sure the same ingredients—stock that speaks directly to neighborhood residents and an interior that complements the clothing—that have gone into every one of their bricks-and-mortar stores are present. “We have a different profile for who the Intermix customer is based on where it is,” Khajak explains. “There’s uptown, downtown, Greenwich, Miami. So even though we have more than 30 stores, each shop comes across as very specific to that location.” The Bowery outpost, with its exposed brick, tin ceiling and lush greenery covering the walls, will feature some of the edgiest pieces yet for Intermix, a fitting way for the brothers to embark on their next 20 years in business.