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Opening a high-end men's store

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by johnnynorman3, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. johnw86

    johnw86 Senior member

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    Personally, I think the advice to do what you love for a living is bad advice. If it's your job, you may not love it for long--there's always something that will grate on your nerves until you hate it (or the thing you love most about it will mutate over time until it's unrecognizable). I think it's better to indulge your passions (in this case as a customer) as a hobby and make your money doing something you find tolerable.

    There's just too much potential here for either running a clothing business that doesn't make money or for turning into a bitter person who hates the uncultured and the less-than-perfect clothes they insist on buying.
     


  2. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    How many of us will ever pay retail for all the high-end goods we discuss as opposed to Ebay? If we don't, how much of a market is there really outside NYC for $400 Borrelli shirts? As it is, I see a lot of high-end goods languish on EBay. In this environment, I'd rather be the consumer (in which we all have experience) as opposed to the seller ("I had one customer today and he refused to pay more because the buttonhole was handsewn"). The wealthiest people I know shop at Brooks-it's a standard look and inexpensive. From the discussions, many of us would want to open a store to get the goods at cost instead of operating a real business. Fantasy aside, stay with what you know (including law) [​IMG]
     


  3. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    the problem with passion is that you end up believing in your product so much that you aren't receptive enough to challenges that come up in normal business life. I  have a rather unusual niche - I usually find myself working in companies that have been around for a few years and haven't been able to sell as well as the founder thought they would, and now need a proffetional. typically, the biggest problem is that the managment love the product so much they can't think of why anyone wouldn't buy it, so they don't address the concerns that the customers have.

    oh, but hey, the best of luck...
     


  4. arvi

    arvi Senior member

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    (Manton @ 09 Nov. 2004, 09:43) Location would be another problem. Â I fear that any city with the clientele to support such a store already has enough options; the market is saturated. Â Cities that don't already have great stores probably don't have the clientele. Â This is a tough Catch-22.
    This is where I slightly disagree, mainly because of sprawl. Â Urban dwellers are moving to surburbia, and new suburbia in fact. Â Those are the places that don't have market saturation at all. Â That's why Mitchell's is so successful. Â It identified a suburban location where the NYC businesspeople live, and it makes for a much more convenient option during evenings and weekends. Â That's sort of the model I'm talking about.
    i agree..on suburban long island, n.y. there are two such very successful shops: Tyrones and Men's Town & Country..from what i have seen when i lived in suburbia men who cared (and even those that didn't, but had wives that did [​IMG] ) came from far and wide to shop..
     


  5. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Very good point.
     


  6. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    Funny you should mention this.  On my last trip to SF, a saleslady at Wilkes Bashford told me that their clientele includes many DC men who are not satisfied with the in-town selection.  So I think there is a market there.  (I would locate the store in the city away from its prominent competitors, possibly in the up-and-coming Penn Quarter area.)  A DC store is also perfectly situated to become the go-to place for men living in the mid-Atlantic states and along the eastern seaboard.
     


  7. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    There is a market -- Louis, Wilkes, Mitchell's, etc. proves it. Not everyone is willing to skimp on service to get the prices of Ebay. Those are people to whom a MTM Oxxford isn't an indulgence, but a standard way of life. There are lots of those people out there.

    Second, what can never be put on sale? MTM/Bespoke. I think that any great store should be built around this -- with the RTW options almost as teasers.

    Look, Mr. Sids in Newton does pretty well it seems. They tag Hickey Freeman suits at $1595, when the factor tag still on the sleeve says $1295. So you be the judge.
     


  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    That's why I think that an iron handed financial botton line guy is essential (especially if it isn't just a small boutique, but a reasonably large store no smaller than the size of say, Wilkes.) That's the guy who gets to say: "Yeah, I know you guys love Attolini AHarris, but the sh*t is just too expensive, especially with the weak dollar, and we have too much excess inventory at the end of the season. You've got three choices: Find a different line, negotiate a better deal with the vendor, or cut back Attolini inventory by 60%." or "LA Guy - I know you like Dries van Noten, but you keep on selling out of Earnest Sewn/Paper Denim jeans, and you can buy 20 pairs for the price of that one jacket. Now, the rule is that I let you have one mistake per quarter, but next buying season, I'd better see more jeans and fewer $2K blue leather trenchcoats - got [email protected][email protected]?...."

    I think that the best place for a store like this would be in the NE, NW, or midwest, where there are more pronounced seasons, and people *need* big ticket items for winter (better season for sales anyway.) What about Portland, Seattle, or Chicago (probably more saturated than those two other markets.) Seattle would have the benefit of the Vancouver market as well.
     


  9. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    Like I said, Indianapolis (midwest) has one decent store for men--Raleigh Limited--for a city of well over a million people. Raleigh's is dealing Kiton, Seraphin, and now has a Zegna corner. And no one is competing with them. The Saks men's store and the Nordstroms and Parisian are pathetic. The Oxford Shop is tiny and inbred. But hey, I'm only a casual observer.
     


  10. arvi

    arvi Senior member

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    (STYLESTUDENT @ 09 Nov. 2004, 10:14) How many of us will ever pay retail for all the high-end goods we discuss as opposed to Ebay? If we don't, how much of a market is there really outside NYC for $400 Borrelli shirts?
    Very good point.
    we don't have to sell $400 borrelli shirts;just as long as we're ssuccessful enough to buy them for ourselves..anyway being in the business would probably enable us to by at a nice discount [​IMG]
     


  11. mark34

    mark34 Member

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    On long Island (where I live) there is a store called Thomas Miller. The person I deal with is fantastic and they don't pressure you into anything. I just had shirts and a suit made there and I could not be happier. They also carry items that I have never seen anywhere else , that along with the personal attention make's the store a home run.

    Just my 2 cents
     


  12. cuffthis

    cuffthis Senior member

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    Retail sucks.

    Long hours, dealing with public can be challenging at best, even when you love what you do.

    And to be honest, I always envision myself as my best customer. Would I want to pay retail for the quality, handmade items I sell? My answer is a resounding NO. That's why I LOOK at the items in retail shops and BUY them on sale at discounters and Ebay.
     


  13. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    Amen
     


  14. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Personally, I think doing what you "love to do" for a job is a mistake because in the end it all becomes work at the end of the day. I founded a fairly large internet/retail business in the automotive industry because of a love of cars and while it was successful, it stopped being fun after awhile so I sold it and moved onto bigger and better things.
     


  15. arvi

    arvi Senior member

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    ops...i meant thomas miller..but isn't the full name thomas miller town & country ?
     


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