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Your own boutique - Page 2

post #16 of 30
I actually knew that.  I just made the comment about Jhane Barnes (vaguely funny story about how the "h" got into the label name) because I've never seen Jhane Bharnes at any other multibrand store,
Hmm. The Saks in Atlanta carries her, and Nordstroms has a limited selection, too. Actually, I bought both my Jhane Barnes shirts from Saks Finale sales, one last summer and one last xmas.... As for the quality, I agree with you. They're pretty standard HK machine made, which means that they're precisely cut and sewn but without the flair and extra comfort of hand stitching. Buttons are plastic but sometimes have interesting textures. I'd put her shirts at the same rough level as Armani Collezioni, or the better Hugo Boss shirts. (Her only collar that fits properly around my neck is the concealed-snap polo collar.) I think some of the fabrics and designs are cool, though. Also, some of the colours are conservative enough for someone who might freak out in a Paul Smith or Etro shirt, but not white or French blue. Peace, JG
post #17 of 30
. Buttons are plastic but sometimes have interesting textures.
This is my personal point of contention with many brands. I just like mother of pearl buttons. This used to be my (only) problem with Costume National shirts. A lot of the buttons on their more casual shirts were either plastic, or made from a type of nut, neither of which have the satisfying clink and polished stone feeling of mother of pearl. Luckily, Costume seems to have been improving the quality of their pieces, and their more recent shirts have had thin, slightly oversized mother pearl buttons. That development, combined with the terrific cut, makes their shirts superlative in their category.
post #18 of 30
I have a pretty decent stock of shirts, sweaters and socks from Jhane Barnes, actually, just because I like the prints and weaves. But, yeah, the cuts and construction are nothing special. OK, if I had a store, I'd order exclusive fabrics from Barnes and have them hand-tailored as shirts. I might also press her for more interesting weaves suitable for suits and jackets, which again I would have hand-tailored. I guess this gets back to LA Guy's point about what you would do to make a store different. I'd be far more interested in having some sort of creative hand, commissioning talented designers to do different things which would then be exclusive to my shop, rather than simply gathering together cool things that are already being sold somewhere else...although there is something to be said for gathering things only available in another city, or country.
post #19 of 30
Second Joe G. on where to find Jhane Barnes. Saks often has a better selection than Neiman's, and about 30% of Nordstroms carry the line as well. In addition, about 25% of the specialty stores I've visited nationwide inventory her clothing. I have a few older pieces- I liked when she was doing the brighter colors.
post #20 of 30
The Modernmen are a little too conservative for my taste...,
Agreed. There are some people who know quite a bit who haven't seemed to have migrated here, though. As for the GQ Forum, I used to read it but quit when some twit started filling it with posts about how rich he was. But if it's better I might check it out again. This forum has, I think, the most intuitive format around, which is perhaps why it attracts the highest percentage of interesting people. Peace, JG
post #21 of 30
Some years ago, she was doing more interesting things with a wider array of garments, but now it's just the CG prints on the sweaters, shirts, ties and socks that are distinctive: everything else is pretty anonymous. Disappointing for someone who started out styling rock & rollers.
I have a few older Jhane Barnes suits that are very interesting, including one with one button and a zipper closure, that are covered under a piece of fabric- and another very casual 5 button suit that's light weight and fun for bumming around in. She use to do some VERY interesting stuff.
post #22 of 30
My store would be open late Friday nights with a bar and a DJ. Clothing would be 20% off during those nights.
post #23 of 30
What a brilliant idea. People who are tired, drunk, just-paid and shopping in semi-darkness punctuated by disco lights will clear all the crap out of your store at the end of the week.
post #24 of 30
Okay, true story - not particularly interesting, mind, but true - late in my dad's high school days, a family friend was starting a menswear business, and, since my dad had a nice respectable Anglo-Saxon name, asked to 'borrow' it. So, long story short, I already have a menswear business in my name. The only problem is - well, the product's not very good. Woeful, even. Lots of polyester, drab color and stodgy styling. When I'm out of university, I think I'll get some capital together, and make 'em an offer. I'd revamp it, and skew the design towards a more youthful market, but with an eye for traditional style. Narrow cuts, side vents, ticket pockets, three-piece and double breasted suits (including 6-on-2 and 6-on-3 models). Bold striped and checked suits, colorful ties and pocket squares, and patterned double-cuffed shirts. Camelhair sportcoats (comparatively rare in Australia), long camelhair and cashmere-and-wool overcoats in camel and charcoal. I'd get a made-to-measure deal going with a local factory I've been happy with, maybe computerise the front end to make it easier for customers to select their favorite details. Maybe buy some time at a silk-screening place, so customers can design their own ties... Oh, and hire shop assistants that actually know what they're doing. In my super-fantasy store, however? I think I'll steal Ralph Lauren Purple Label's shtick entirely. Their 'insane British aristocrat' styling greatly appeals to me. Made-to-measure by SaintAndrews, or Chester Barrie, shoes from Edward Green, Berluti and Esquivel Shoes. Off-the-rack suits from Corneliani and Canali. Shirts, ties and cufflinks from Etro, Richard James, Duchamp, and Paul Smith (but none of those tacky 'Paul' and 'Smith' logo links), Hilditch and Key, Hackett, and Charles Tyrwhitt, as well as a custom shirt service. Sweaters and fabrics from Loro Piana, and on and on it goes, to infinity... Enjoy, Nick.
post #25 of 30
For my personal store, I would include the most high end, and exclusive brands money can absolutely buy. I would eschew the Armanis, Burberry's, etc. The labels I would carry would would be Kiton, Attolini, Luigi Borelli, Charvet, Hermes and the like. Also I would have a special license for craftsmen, and fitters from Berluti, anbd John Lobb to be in-store. There would be of course, a prodigious selction of ties from Stefano Riccis to Marinellas, and Bulgaris. And a perfumery to provide the customers with special perfumes from houses like Creed, and the British marque, Clive Christian. Perhaps I would have the cabinentry made by Clive's as well. In addition, a custom suit section would be added with representaves from Chester Barrie, Richard James, Pooles, and various other Saville Row tailors. Jermyn street shirtmakers would be there as well. Affectations like walking sticks, spats, and the finest English umbrellas will also be provided. True tortise shell glass frames, lighters(Dunhill, ST. Dupont, Caran d'Ache), and amber cigarette holders will be present as well. So that is the basic plan of my fantasy store.
post #26 of 30
I don't think that I could actually afford to shop at any of our fantasy shops. my own included. I know that a lot of the other fantasy shops are catering to the fantasies of affluence, but my shop caters to pretensions to hipness rather than to wealth, and in my experience, the truly hip are seldom also rich. In L.A., you don't go looking for the coolest people in Beverly Hills, and in New York, the real bohos are not to be found shopping on 5th, or these days, in Soho. To put a twist on an old adage: the successful man is not intimidated by those hipper than himself. In order to up the coolness quotient in my store, and buld a reputation besides, I would purposefully attracting cool but possibly poverty stricken types. I would give (very selectively) special consideration to certain people who I think might be good for the image of the store (sort of like a fashion bouncer.) Of course, if my shop were in L.A. or New York, the synthetic hipness of celebrities would be courted. That's a given in the business. However, I would try to surround the store with originals who may or may not give a damn about fashion, but have style nonetheless. I know some old dudes who hang out at Griffith Park playing chess who look like they got very well dressed some day in the 50's, and haven't bothered to change since. They might not care for Dries Van Noten, or even Savile Row, but I'm sure that they wouldn't mind dropping in occasionally to a picnic inside the store and talk chess. Similarly, I know a guy who works at the nearby bookstore who tails around on a beatup mountainbike, who probably can't afford Margiela, but would better in it than the over-muscled, fake-baked narcissists whom I've seen fawning over Yamamoto in Barney's. There's a part-time grad student/ part-time coffeemaker who would look better in the Yamamoto. Not that I would have to literally give away the shop. A few substantial, in season discounts (practically giveaways.) and a whole lot of word of mouth, and we'd be off to the races. Of course, if GQ got wind of my arbitrariness, I wouldn't be too offended either. Oh, and I'd add a smattering of womenswear to draw in girlfriends. Balenciaga, Catherine Malandrino, maybe some James Perse casuals.
post #27 of 30
Interesting topic heh. I'd have a store that would stock for people anywhere from their early 20s to the time when they're much older and affluent. The 20 yr olds would probably have to be subsidized by daddy to shop there, but I'd have some "cheaper" stuff in there too. My priority would be service and quality, but at the same time I wouldn't want to alienate potential future customers by only carrying stuff with prices in the stratosphere. I'd have to think hard about where I put the store, a depending on who else I'm competing with (if anyone), I might have a different inventory. I'm also considering one more thing, a store needs to make money I'm not above carrying stuff that sells really well just because I want to be elitist. Bespoke: I'd try and get an arrangement with someone on savile row. OTR and MTM Suits and sports jackets: Armani Collezioni (This stuff sells. How often do you think people walk in to stores looking for an Armani suit cause it's mentioned on frasier all the time or 3/4 of the men at the Oscar's wear Armani) Hugo Boss (again I'm not super keen on the quality but it's still upscale and it covers the lower end of the price spectrum) Attolini Canali Zegna Oxxford Brioni Zegna Napoli In terms of % composition of my inventory, i'd probably have a lot of Brioni, Canali and Zegna since that covers a good range of prices and those brands are well known and would probably do the most volume. For Kiton, Zegna Napoli and Oxxford, I'd only carry a relatively small selection of it so that clients could see and feel the suits. Once they have, I don't think it would be much of a challenge to get them to go the custom route since they're already spending a lot on their suits. Shirts: Hugo Boss Zegna Borelli Kiton Lorenzini RL Purple Label Ties: Hermes, Zegna, Brioni, Kiton, Canali, Charvet, Attolini, Hugo Boss (same reasons as above) Shoes (it really annoys me that in Montreal, I have to change stores depending on what brand of shoes I'm looking for): Lobb, Ferragamo, Prada, Tod's, Gucci, Bruno Magli, A. Testoni, Cesare Paciotti). Even if I didn't stock everything from all these brands, clients would at least have the option, if possible, to special order out of their respective catalogues. Other labels I'd want to carry to round out the store that would also change a lot from season to season are: Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries van Noten, Loro Piana, Etro, Armani, Martin Margiela, Jil Sander, Prada, RL Purple Label. I would carry the hugo boss golfing line and Zegna Sport. I'd also carry other stuff like cuff links, wallets, some briefcases and bags, good cologne and skin care products, etc. I guess the store might be bigger than what you'd call a boutique, but whatever
post #28 of 30
I'm not above carrying stuff that sells really well just because I want to be elitist
Interesting point, but sometimes it may actually (literally) pay to be an elitist. If you have one lower priced brand in the middle of a bunch of super elite barnds, you may actually be diluting the value of those other brands - one of the reasons, I suspect, why Wilkes Bashford and Maxfield does not stock Hugo Boss. If you are larger, department style store like Sak's or Barney's, you can afford to split up your store for different demographics. However, given the constraints of the original poster - menswear only, boutique style - I would NOT stock two different levels of stock. My "entry level" pieces would be in casualwear and streetwear, where the price and prestige difference is not a large as in formal and business wear. The poor guy (hey, that's me.) who can't afford to by a $3000 Brioni suit might nevertheless buy $50 James Perse shirts or even occasionally splurge for a $300 Raf Simons jacket.
post #29 of 30
That's a good point, but when you say diluting the value of the other brands do you mean what happens when the average guy looks at a hugo boss and a Zegna and says "well I don't really see a difference and the boss is way cheaper so I'll go with it instead?" Wilkes Bashford is in a place with A LOT of VERY rich people so it probably doesn't matter so much that they lose some potential clientele at the lower end (even though they might be future bespoke customers if properly educated on the finer points of being well dressed). Most cities don't have that luxury and I was kind of thinking along those lines. The most important thing for a boutique to do is cultivate relationships with it's clients. That's how Harry Rosen got me hooked. The staff I dealt with were always very good to me, even before I started spending a lot on clothes. In the first few months I started going there, I bought a couple pairs of casual boss pants, an armani collezioni sweater and a hugo boss overcoat. That's not a lot of money, especially since it was spread out over 3 months. The thing is though, it got me in the door spending money and developping a relationship with the staff. Now I'm at the point where if I can buy it there instead of somewhere else, even if it's a little out of my way, I do. I also spend more on clothes than a large majority of people with 6 figure salaries and most of that money is spent in one store so it paid off for them. I find that even among people who like clothes, everyone has their spending limit and it's often psychological (unless they're extremely well off). I'll use my dad as an example. He makes good money and can afford Brioni. He has a general appreciation for good clothes, but he never really bought a suit that cost more than 1k. Not cause he didn't have the money, but because he was never properly introduced to it and never made to appreciate the details when he was younger (now he's the age where he couldn't really care less). Maybe if the store he bought that suit from had knowledgable staff and more exclusive brands, things might have turned out a lot different (and I'd be stealing his stuff heh). I think that if you can get reasonably well-off people shopping for their first suits (which they usually won't pay 1.5+k for) at your store, there's a good chance that they'll come back once they get their job or have a higher disposable income. I'd also bet that a lot of people wanting to pay Hugo Boss prices can probably afford more, they just don't know they want to yet Make them try on a Canali and maybe they'll buy that instead, but if you didn't have the "lower end" they wouldn't even be there. I think it's probably a safe assumption that someone walking in to a store like this has a general appreciation for good clothes in the first place (although he may not know a lot) and that it would therefore be pretty easy to impress upon them what makes a good suit and spend some time with them trying on some of the better suits. Most people probably aren't that hard to convert. I used to cringe when I looked at the price of Ferragamos, now I won't spend any less cause I know they are worth every penny (and in terms of comfort they're so much better than what I had before). You don't really see value in a $500 pair of shoes when you can get another pair for $100 that kidna looks the same until you own a pair. The same thing applies to suits. When I first went shopping at HR I was looking at the boss suits thinking "wow those are so nice." It didn't take long for me to become a more sophisticated customer demanding higher quality. Now I don't even bother looking at boss, but it did get me in there ;p The last time I went shopping I was made to try on my first Zegna Napoli (they just started stocking it). I wasn't ever very fond of zegna since I'm skinny and they have a boxy cut, but napoli is another story altogether. Right now I'm kinda pissed that I don't get to wear suits anymore (school and regular student job, yay) cause I was really looking forward to a couple purchases heh. I wouldn't be trying to carry something for everyone. I would however be trying to include the upwardly mobile in my clientele. Get them when they're young, establish loyalty and voila a lifelong customer. I was also reading robb report recently and it said that there used to be ~60 tailors on savile row and now there are 9. The ones that are left are doing Shanghai bespoke and licensing their name for mass production to boost their bottom lines. People who are born in to money or were constantly surrounded by it are going to go straight to their boutiques or tailors without hesitation. People on their way up from the middle class often need that bridge though. It really depends on where you're setting up shop though. If there are enough really affluent people to justify only carry the Kiton's and Borrelli's of the world, then go for. As I said though, I don't think that's the case in most cities.
post #30 of 30
I would like to try to get brands and lines that are hard to find in the U.S.  I'd probably concentrate on sportswear with a few suitings.  Here are the brands, I'd try to get in my store--some personal faves and some brands that are hard to find here: Clothing Helmut Lang Calvin Klein Collection Marc Jacobs Prada Strenesse Romeo Gigli Etro Mandarina Duck Samsonite Blacklabel Trussardi Rodier Homme Krizia CP Company Clements Ribeiro hLam Knize CoSTUME NATIONAL Incotex Malo Agnona Battistoni Jaeger Burberry Prorsum Cerruti 1881 & Arte Michael Kors Balenciaga (if Nicolas Ghesquiere ever does the menswear line he's been promising) Neil Barrett Yohji Yamamoto Gianfranco Ferre Bally Laura Biagiotti Dior Homme Louis Vuitton Ready to wear Bottega Veneta Ready to wear Holland & Holland Lanvin Givenchy (menswear only available in europe & Asia) Rykiel Homme Leather Goods and Accessories Brigg Delvaux Trussardi Gucci Prada Loewe Seeger Goldpfeil Tanner Krolle Valextra Bottega Veneta Asprey Lunor (sunglasses) Oliver Peoples (sunglasses) Morgenthal Frederics (sunglasses) Shoes Berluti Tod's Hogan A. Testoni Edward Green Tanino Crisci Ludwig Reiter Heschung Gravati J. Fenestrier J.M. Weston G.J. Cleverly John Lobb Bally Carshoe Fratelli Rossetti Gravati Sportswear Adidas Puma Ellesse This list probably seems a little random.  I just picked my favorites and other brands hard to find in the U.S.  The only notable name for me that I left out is Jil Sander.  I just don't like it now that Jil has left her company.
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