California Cowboy San Francisco

California Cowboy has officially stepped into retail.

The apparel company, started by former Trumaker vice president and head of merchandising Drew Clark, started with the lofty goal of using its line of apparel as conversation starters to wean people off their tech gadgets and get them back into the real world. Clark has since secured space on an up-and-coming segment of Polk Street that’s sandwiched between the Russian Hill neighborhood and the marina in San Francisco for the brand’s first store at 1841 Polk Street. The store is set for a soft opening this month.

There’s about 1,300 square feet of main selling floor space which will be a mix of retail and workshops. The rest of the building’s roughly 400 square feet will be used as an office space for the company’s workers.

“My goal is to create some interaction between people and the brand,” Clark said. “I wanted a space for the team and for events. It’s really important for me, from a design perspective, to bring people together using style. Being on site is going to be important so we can learn about what’s working and what’s not.”

The company has plans to host networking events, art shows, guest speakers and live music shows.

“It’s about being able to drive traffic through events and having a destination. When you look at a store and the way retail’s suffered a bit, particularly the big box guys, it’s difficult to create a shopping experience,” Clark said. “Shopping isn’t always about shopping. It’s about having fun and engaging.”

California Cowboy will carry its line of branded merchandise, which includes more colorways of its High Water men’s shirt. The shirt comes with features such as an interior pocket for a bottle opener in addition to a zippered pocket to hold a phone. A winter version of the High Water, called the High Sierra, will also be available for men and women at the store, priced at $148.

The company is also in talks with a few other brands in the footwear and eyewear spaces for the store and there’s consideration of a temporary barber.

“You have to tell a good story [at retail],” Clark said. “You have to have clarity with your shopping experience and your brand messaging. A lot of people think they can just open their doors and throw their assortment in there and you’re off to the races.”

Up next for California Cowboy are pop-up shops, including one on Main Street in Santa Monica along with another at Los Angeles’ The Grove shopping center in February.

Clark, who has raised nearly $40,000 in May via Indiegogo, plans to raise a friends and family round in the near future.

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