Monday, July 5, 2010

Interview - Shopmyclothes.com



Do you ever come across a name of a store and say…yes…that’s exactly what I want to do when I go there.
It’s no secret that Shop Detour or Detour Clothing store has me hooked.  I’m a loyal shopper, but I’m also an annoying shopper.  I wait.  I ho and I hum.  Then I ask questions and then I ask for measurements and so forth.  So when Jesse and Jason Meyer owners of Detour answer each and every one of my emails with patience and friendliness I can’t help but wonder why (truly I am annoying).  They treat each and every one of their customers as though they will be buying from them for forever.  An art that is not easy to duplicate and something in which is NOT practiced enough.  So when I had a chance to catch up with them on a real (and when I say real, via email) one on one interview I jumped at the chance.
Oh and if you didn’t know but this Milwaukee joint was just voted one of the top menswear stores in the U.S.  Hmmmm you think they might be something right.

So…lets get to it!
Jason and I just wanted to say thank you Jonathan for allowing us this opportunity to showcase Shopdetour.com and ourselves  to you and your audience.
What is the typical morning routine at Detour?  
 Our typical morning at Detour usually starts off with Jason and I chit chatting about different ideas that we came up with the night before. We usually bounce ideas about our current businesses off each and future business plans/ideas we have. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you ask Jason and I have caught the “entrepreneur bug”. Then we usually check emails, box up orders, go over messages and notes from the day before and get ready to open the doors to the shop.   
You guys are obviously very passionate about clothes and fashion in general what guided you two to pursue a store that was just recently named one of the best stores in America (I can attest to this btw)?  Side question to this - what was the inspiration behind the creation of the store and the message you are trying to communicate to your clientele?
We started Detour in 97 after we had recently moved back from living in Lake Tahoe Ca. and we noticed a void in the Milwaukee market for a better denim store. It started more as an expression of Jason and I just wanting to have something of our own. We didn’t really like working for other people or having a “regular job” so we put our heads together and came up with the idea of Detour loosely based off of some of the stores we saw in San Fran when lived in Nor Cal. 
I would say our main inspiration is seeing our dad own his own one man construction company for forty years. Maybe it’s in our genes or it’s just seeing him working for himself our whole life that gave Jason and I the inspiration to do things ourselves also. We try and communicate individuality and quality to our customers. It’s so easy for people to just go to a “big box” retailer and buy a shirt or a pair of jeans mindlessly and just bypass small independent retailers but we feel it’s our duty almost to try and open people’s eyes to better quality clothing that they can feel proud of wearing.  
I feel like you’ve built a pretty substantial internet presence, what can you attribute this success to?  There are a litany of online mens stores out there but you guys seem to do it better than most.  How have you built that presence and do you continue to see it as a core part going forward?
Online has been an interesting ride. When we started detouronline.com back in 99 we had no clue on what we were doing or even the potential of an internet presence at that time. It wasn’t until we received some inspiration/advice from a couple people that we started to look into more. Plus we saw the success ShopBop.com (which is located about 90 miles away from us in Madison Wi.) when it was starting off and we would chit chat with the owner of Bop when he would come in to Detour to shop (because they didn’t carry guys clothes) which put the bug into Jason and I to to take our website way more seriously. We then changed our URL to shopdetour.com in 06 and have slowly been building it since then. The main way we have built our website is by picking a niche and trying to stick with it (which hasn’t been easy at times) a store of our size would not be able to compete with bigger stores online so we don’t even try. We just try and do our own thing and hope our customers dig it. As far as online going forward Jason and I believe it will comprise about 90 to 95 percent of our business in the next 5 years.
One of the more popular undertakings from a lot of the bricks and mortar stores lately is the creation of a private line.  Do you foresee yourselves venturing down that path anytime soon?
This something Jason and I have wanted to do for a long time. We just feel that if we do create a line of our own that it has to be able to stand on its own. We don’t want to create a line just to create a line. It would have to make sense from the fabric used to the finished product. We don’t want to just create another oxford or raw jean for the market unless it’s something we can’t get somewhere else.
You have really increased the breadth of brands come Fall 2010 (which I must say I am very excited for).  Two part question.  When bringing on new brands what is the criteria or thought process that goes into each and every brand.  You have some obscure brands that are not necessarily considered mainstream, why pick them over something established?
We don’t really have a criteria for bring in new brands. It is more of a gut feeling for us. When we see a new line we usually know within the first 5 minutes of looking at it if it will work in the store. Don’t get me wrong there are certain things we look for in brands like where its made, what kind of fabrics are used, what “philosophy” is the company trying to portray but it truly boils down to gut feeling and budget. Choosing more obscure brands goes back to finding your niche online and trying to stick with it. We’ve realized over the years that trying to sell more mainstream brands just puts you into a position were you have to compete with department stores and chain stores which usually revolves around price wars which just kills us little guys.
An ongoing question I like to ask our stores is about their commitment to customer service.  Yours is BY FAR one of the best in retail that I have experienced.  It seems as though you look at each client not as an individual purchaser but as a customer for life.  How did this get instilled into the Detour ‘mandate’?
Jason and I just try to be ourselves. We try and treat everyone how we want to be treated. We don’t really have a rule book for this we just know that customers are our life blood if you treat them bad you don’t have a business for very long. There are to many options out there for people to shop at if you don’t give them a good customer experience they will go to a store that does.
Finally, what 5 items should every man have in their wardrobe?
A extremely well fitting suit (spend some money here guys this will last you forever), denim preferably raw, classic watch, white oxford, slim chinos. All these are more about fit then anything else. As long as an item fits you well for your body type it should be in your wardrobe.

I just wanted to thank both Jason and Jesse for not only consistently presenting one of the best retail presences in the U.S. and online but for their impeccable customer service and FREE WORLDWIDE shipping.  Throw in the fact that they have a customer loyalty program and once you buy you’re hooked for life.
For Fall, Detour will be bringing in some absolutely STELLAR brands.  Engineered Garments, Our Legacy and Garbstore to name just a few.
I truly wish these guys continued success well into the future, they are honest, humble and two of the nicer individuals I have met in fashion.  Thank you.

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