J. Hilburn, a Dallas-based direct seller of men’s wear, is set to unveil its first brick-and-mortar location: a 1,400-square-foot pop-up shop at 91 Grand Street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Billed “A Fortnight in SoHo,” it will open Wednesday.
This story first appeared in the October 3, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The driver behind why we wanted to do a pop-up is brand building,” said Veeral Rathod, president and cofounder. “What separates brands is the deep emotional experience they have with their customers. Men’s wear is less about the piece you buy than creating trust in the brand and stylists.” J. Hilburn has a national network of over 3,000 stylists who visit customers in their homes and offices to sell custom shirts, trousers, sport coats, suits and accessories. “We believe that if we can create a physical manifestation of the brand, we can build that trust a lot quicker.”
J. Hilburn has a small showroom at its company headquarters and Rathod said the firm’s average sale from an office or home visit is $350, while it’s nearly $800 at the showroom.
Rathod said that if the New York City pop-up is successful, the company will move to other markets next year — cities such as Tulsa, Okla., where demand for its product is high and competition is limited. “This takes trunk shows to the next level,” he said, noting that the shops can be packed up and moved easily around the country.
“Our five-year plan is to have three to five brand statement stores,” he said. These would be located in New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.
J. Hilburn, which was launched in 2007, expects to have sales of $55 million by the end of the year. It has sold 300,000 custom shirts to date and bills itself as the largest maker of custom shirts and made-to-measure trousers in the world.