Retail | A Continuous Lean. - Page 4

Revisting Unionmade San Francisco

Nov 7th, 2011 | Categories: Retail, San Francisco | by Michael Williams

While out in San Francisco this past week, I stopped into Unionmade to see what the guys have been up to since I first profiled them on ACL two years ago. First of all, the SF store has grown considerably with a recent addition of the space next door, which in its former life was a dry cleaning shop. The addition more than doubles the selling space and houses a little book area, tons of Alden shoes and the shop’s new Indigo collection. On top of all of the happenings at the original shop, Unionmade is also about to open a new outpost at the Marin Country Mart, which will be the third store for the burgeoning Americana-loving outfitter.

It really is a remarkable thing what Todd Barket and the guys at Unionmade have done. The selection rivals any store in the world, corporately owned or private. In fact, there’s actually a rumor going around that Unionmade is owned by a certain preppy-cum-rugged East Coast retailer. A rumor that Todd says is totally untrue. In my mind that hearsay is easily dismissible because there’s no way a big company like that could actually get out of their own way long enough to make something as good as Unionmade actually see the light of day.





Grown & Sewn’s Permanent Home

Apr 25th, 2011 | Categories: Khaki, New York City, Retail | by Michael Williams

To help launch the brand in the fall of 2009, khaki outfitter Grown & Sewn opened a temporary shop in an art gallery on one of the best looking blocks of TriBeCa. With a few seasons under its belt and a good following with American-made khaki loving gents, the New York based label recently took up a more permanent residence on Franklin Street (again in TriBeCa) catty-corner from Steven Alan’s Annex shop and not far from the Liquor Store.





Camping Fjällräven Style

Oct 7th, 2010 | Categories: Camping, New York City, Outerwear, Retail | by Michael Williams

Team Fjällräven heading for the mountains of Mott Street.

The folksie crew from the Swedish label Fjällräven (pictured above) opened their New York store (the company’s only American outpost) last November on Mott Street, bringing much of their outdoor-centric gear to the States for the first time. Coming up on the store’s one year anniversary Fjällräven (who is a client of my marketing company Paul + Williams) got together with Jeff Thrope of Cold Splinters fame to refresh the space with all sorts of camping essentials and cool gear to compliment Fjällräven’s Greenland Jackets, G-1000 waxed clothing, packs, tents and other Scandinavian equipment. Basically the store stocks everything you need to have an adventure — and all in one place. I think Jay Carroll put it best when he called the Fjällräven US team “outdoor nerds.” I’ll go ahead and add that they are now “retail nerds” too, since they definitely know how to create an interesting store environment.  [Fjällräven | 262 Mott Street, NYC]





Back to the Rhinelander Mansion

Sep 17th, 2010 | Categories: Menswear, New York City, Preppy, Retail | by Michael Williams

After showing off the RRL corner of the newly refreshed Ralph Lauren men’s shop on 72nd Street & Madison Avenue, I wanted to share with you the rest of the beautifully done store. Dubbed the Rhinelander Mansion, the location is first and only Ralph Lauren shop exclusively selling menswear. The expansive space houses every single different RL collection (with the exception of Rugby). This is something the company has never done before, have everything all together in one place. Walking between all of the different collections, between Black label and RLX and RRL is one of the most amazing brand transitions in the history of retail. To switch moods and styles so seamlessly is impressive. As I said earlier, only Ralph can pull something like this off.

Ralph Lauren Purple Label

Ralph Lauren Purple Label





GANT Rugger Invades Bleecker Street

Apr 29th, 2010 | Categories: Men's Stores, New York City, Retail | by Michael Williams

The folks at GANT brought their Rugger range downtown to 353 Bleecker Street with their new industrial inspired shop. This new store is one of only two places (in the U.S.) where you can shop the entire collection of Rugger gear (something we showed you a while back). The collection —which I really like — was put together by GANT designer (who is a Swede by birth, but an American patriot in my mind) Christopher Bastin. The new downtown store is all inspired by GANT’s industrial past, with all sorts of factory like decor and a fitting room fashioned as a foreman’s office complete with archival order forms and historical press clippings. Good stuff.





The Office Supply Store That Time Forgot

Apr 25th, 2010 | Categories: New York City, Retail | by Michael Williams

One block east of the Diamond District on 47th Street. One half block west of J. Press and Madison Avenue. Do yourself a favor and approach via Madison and save yourself the punishment that is 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I remember someone once said that “real” New Yorkers say “Sixth Ave” and not Avenue of the Americas. I definitely say Sixth avenue, but I don’t consider myself a “real” New Yorker, and don’t think I ever will.

Anyway, the guys running Phil’s Stationery are definitely real New Yorkers. Walking into the shop took me back to 1970, yeah 1970 after what must have been some sort of riot, because Phil’s is a goddamn mess. The place is an amazing clusterfuck of boxes and dusty office supplies — some that clearly have been sitting there for years. It seems to stay afloat by supplying the diamond district with all sorts of specialty office supplies. The “office” in the back (if you can call it an office) is even more messy and completely old-school charming. There are boxes and boxes askew and four or five Windows ’95 era computers stacked on top of other stacks of old boxes. The place is just begging for one of those hoarding shows to come in and clean it up and get the owners checked into some sort of therapy. If you have any sort of spacial anxieties, you will definitely need to stop by the bodega for a Klonopin and a Coke before heading over.





Shopping Aspen | TENET

Mar 23rd, 2010 | Categories: Aspen, Retail | by Michael Williams

New Yorkers in exile and friends, Jesse Warren and Greg Buntain’s first foray in retail was a pop-up shop called TENET in the summer-friendly hamlet of Southampton. It was a huge success. They must have thought: “We figured out a way to live and work in one the best summer spots — want to do the same for winter?” and TENET Aspen was born. After spending a week out West and getting a chance to meet and hang out with Jesse and Greg, I’ll be the first one to say that you don’t meet nicer people. Not to mention TENET is far and away the best store in Aspen. Obviously, my idea of the best store is a different from that of the super-rich and the super-Euro that are running about, all drunk from Après-ski.