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Opening a high-end men's store

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

  1. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    How much money do you make? (Rhetorical question).

    Haven't you ever walked into a high-end store, saw the Belvest, Kiton, Borrelli, Purple Label, etc. stuff -- in all cuts and fabrics, as opposed to the limited selection you get at Filenes, etc. and on Ebay -- and just wondered, "Wow, wouldn't it be great to just be able to buy things like this, at this store, for full retail without thinking twice about it?" Well, there are lots of people who actually live that way. These are the customers I want. These are the customers who would be fun to sell to (even if they are demanding).

    I was in Polo about three months ago, and the sales guy said that someone had been in the store an hour before me and bought 20 MTM Purple Label suits, plus an additional 5 OTR. Can you imagine that? Now, that is exorbitant, but it just shows that there must be lots of people who would go in and make a purchase 1/8 that big.

    "Do what you love" is a mistake? I'm sorry, but I just don't see it. Sure, work will be work; but it won't be AS BAD if you are working in a business you really love. In fact, it may be SUBSTANTIALLY less bad. And that beats having a job you don't really like at all and finding solace in a "hobby."

    Plus, when you do a job that you don't positively hate, you will do it better, which is why I think those on this board could run a store better than someone like Trump could.
     


  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Stylish Dinosaur

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    My point is that you no longer get the enjoyment out of it as if it were a hobby. After dealing with the BS and other associated travails of the automotive aftermarket for 4 years, I no longer enjoy working on or dealing with cars. I have talked to a number of other people as well, and some have similar stories, and others have different mileage but all of them have said that it has changed how they relate to their "hobby"
     


  3. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    I understand what you meant; my point is that I'd rather not have a hobby and only marginally hate my job, than to absolutely hate my job but to have a hobby I really enjoy.

    I'd venture that you found another hobby to replace working on cars. Am I correct?
     


  4. cuffthis

    cuffthis Senior Member

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    From all accounts I've read, the Polo Mansion in NYC loses money each month, to the tune of $1M PER MONTH. I would venture to guess most of the free standing Polo retail stores do. Polo makes up for it with all the lower end polo shirts, oxfords, etc. it sells to department stores and through it's (very) lucrative licensing arrangements for other products.

    Sure, there are big spenders out there but to create a business model that relies on them is foolhardy at best and a recipe for failure.

    I would assume that most of the posters on this Board are VERY well informed about sartorial matters and love a handmade buttonhole more than the other 99.5% of the population.

    BUT, look at the threads that often happen here. People get excited when a bargain comes up on Ebay or Bennie's has Grenson shoes for a great price.

    In my opinion, it's all about VALUE, perceived and real. I recently purchased 5 pairs of Grenson's from Bennie's. Why? Because they were a great value. Would I have purchased them at retail? No, because I didn't really need them but value if what drives me, and I believe it is what drives like minded people who appreciate quality in their clothing, accessories and in their lifestyle.

    This is why I furnish my house with antiques and quality reproductions (used). They hold their value much better than new items and are usually available for much lower price points.
     


  5. arvi

    arvi Senior Member

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    Maybe i'm crazy but....i've lived and loved clothing long enough that i can't imagine losing interest..perhaps my attitude might change, but i'll always enjoy dressing and looking my best..it's who and what i am. [​IMG] i would prefer to love my chore than hate my job because it's a chore
     


  6. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    I see if from a different direction from Drzzt, although I agree with him, also. I think that it would be too hard for people here to take a businesslike attitude to running a store like this, because the subject would be too dear to them. you would find yourselved loaded down with too much inventory that you liked as opposed to what sells, pay too much to suppliers that you respected, have a hard time being flexible enough to meet changes in the market. That is the type of thing that offen happens in businesses that are started by people who are passionate about what they do.
     


  7. Stu

    Stu Distinguished Member

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  8. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    I think that you can do a high-end business that also provides value, both by having an assortment of price points and by providing value with your service. The Polo Mansion provides service that I would think vastly inferior to a store that I'm proposing, and their price points are not varied for the high-end stuff. For instance, once you get down from Purple Label (which is already overpriced by about 20%,) then next best suit is a fused Corneliani at the same price point (almost) as regular Corneliani.

    I'm not talking about having a store like the Polo Mansion. I'm talking about a Mitchell's type place, only smaller, geared toward men, with great personal service. We could include items at Brooks Brothers price points as well as at Kiton price points -- the point is that we would create value by ensuring that a customer never made a foolish purchase.
     


  9. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Stylish Dinosaur

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    The problem is that customers don't really know that they are making a foolish purchase and telling them that other stores are ripping them off is not a good way to do business, and if you don't they won't know the difference between your inventory and that of other stores.

    I think it's a good idea and could potentially be fun, but I don't think its quite that simple, and making money could be rather difficult although I think that a high end men's store in the right environment could do reasonably well, but there are a number of other issues to consider. There is a high end men's store in Newport Beach (Gary's) that does quite well, and that is probably the business model you want to follow.

    However, my original point about losing interest/being burdened by the realities of doing business in an area still apply. Everyone goes into this type of business intending to bring customers the best possible product at the best possible value, but at some point the economics of the industry come into play and you'll see that you're able to offer a much better value to customers and make a much higher margin by selling a lower priced and probably inferior product, and you may be forced to do this by economics and the laws of supply and demand. That's the point at which you have to decide whether you want to 1. make money or 2. just run the business for the fun of it without being particularly profitable. I tried to do both, succeeded for osme time, and ended up more towards path #1, and eventually just abandoned the business despite it being quite profitable because it wasn't fun to do anymore.
     


  10. arvi

    arvi Senior Member

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    if that's the way someone would be, then certainly they'll fail..let's assume that that we're capable businessmen or at least smart enough to partner up with someone who is.. i don't know if ralph lauren is so popular here but he's a teriffic example of passion and success in business. sorry if i'm belaboring the point, but i guess i'm just frustrated haberdaher a t heart [​IMG]
     


  11. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Sometimes frustrated haberdashers grow up to be President.
     


  12. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    Arvi,

    I would hate to rain on anybody's parade. I am very commercially concervative by nature. but who knows, maybe I will be in, leafing though your ties, one day.
     


  13. arvi

    arvi Senior Member

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    (arvi @ 09 Nov. 2004, 1:20) sorry if i'm belaboring the point, but i guess i'm just frustrated haberdaher a t heart  [​IMG]
    Sometimes frustrated haberdashers grow up to be President.
    i'd rather own a clothing store [​IMG]
     


  14. arvi

    arvi Senior Member

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    just don't come only at sale time [​IMG]
     


  15. 1Dgaf

    1Dgaf Senior Member

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    Apparently COnfucious said if you find a job you love, you'll never work a day again.

    If someone wants to sell clothes, my I think the best thing to do would be to try and do it in his/her spare time over the internet or at market stalls or something. Make it a weekend hobby and take things from there.

    Also, I suspect that if someone is passionate about what they sell, they may find it difficult to sell things they aren't as passionate about, but that potential customers are; and that would be a bad thing.
     


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