I’ve recently come back from London and the experience in a lot of the larger fashion chains reminded me, in 2022, of Pretty Woman. If your whole thing is making people feel uncomfortable or that they don’t belong, then I don’t think there’s any point in opening a bricks-and-mortar store. For us – and I always tell my team this – the atmosphere we’re invested in is one where people feel ‘hugged’. At our first store in Fitzroy, we wrote ‘Welcome Home’ on the floor: we wanted a place where people could come and have a memorable experience, even if all they were buying was a pair of socks.
The business of luxury clothing, and of menswear in particular, is repeat business. If you buy one shirt from us and never come back, we’ve not done our job. Of course, the first question we always ask is whether the product is up to snuff, but often in these situations, the reason a customer doesn’t want to return is because of a negative interaction they’ve had.
Let’s take a quick spin around that new store – located in the suburb of Armadale. Who are some of the other notable local businesses in this part of town – mutual friends and operators whom you support?
Not too far from us, there’s a great spot called Beatty & Rose. I guess you’d call it a deli, but they also have a strong focus on desserts and pastry. Around the corner from that, you’ll find Toorak Cellars: a buzzy wine bar, well-known across Melbourne, that also has an interesting retail selection.
The High Street area of Armadale, which we’re in the vicinity of, is generally renowned for its womenswear. But equally, there are some very solid food and coffee options. There’s a new butcher, originally from Sydney, called Victor Churchill, where you can buy a range of dry-aged beef and have it cooked to order.