With the influx of multinational, single-brand, undercutting conglomerates setting up shop in Vancouver over the last couple of years, local independent clothing retailers have had to up their game to stay competitive. Some are doing so by pimpin’ up their social-media presence, some are focusing on the kind of personalized customer experience that shoppers can’t get from chains, and others are working hard to set themselves apart from fast-fashion outlets by offering even more carefully curated merchandise.
At Boys’Co, they’re employing all three tactics in tandem—which means more Facebook giveaways, more highly sought-after exclusive labels, and more innovative shopping services at this iconic, family-run men’s clothing store that now boasts five locations (in Richmond Centre, Metropolis, Oakridge, Park Royal South, and at 1044 Robson Street), along with the new Ivy Room at Metropolis. The downtown spot is where the Straight met up with owner David Goldman to talk about some of these recent changes.
“We can come to your house and edit your closet,” says Goldman, who also offers this service electronically—privately and securely, of course. “We can track your purchases for you to see what you’re buying, and by seeing everything you have in your closet—at least from what you purchased here—we can build wardrobes around those pieces. So you don’t have to come in and replenish an entire wardrobe; you can just get a piece or two that we know goes with what you already have.”
And for dudes who are really crunched for time and/or hate to shop but love to look good, Boys’Co offers other services to speed up the process.
“As a rule, guys don’t really like shopping,” theorizes Goldman. “It’s not so much that they don’t like the buying process; they just want to get it over with quickly—get in and get out kind of thing. That’s fine. We understand that.
“So if he wants to call us up and say, ‘I’m gonna be down in an hour,’ we’ll say, ‘You know what—we’re going to have about five outfits put aside for you. Take all. Take none. Take one piece—it doesn’t matter. You’ll be in and out in 30 minutes.’ ”
In terms of selection, Boys’Co still carries mainstay labels such J.Lindeberg, a Swedish clothing company that specializes in fresh-looking lifestyle pieces such as premium puffy vests ($295), super-soft plaids ($175), and mini-check, long-sleeve, spread-collar shirts ($195). And of course, HUGO Boss is still in da house.
But if you’re after a hot new label you can’t get anywhere else in the city, Boys’Co also has the likes of Work Shop, a high-quality SoCal denim label with a relatively budget-friendly price point ($85 for sweatshirts, for example). As well, there’s the V :: room, a high-end Japanese label that sells luxury basics like super-soft French terry zip-up hoodies for $335.
And for the second fall/winter season in a row, Boys’Co is carrying Fidelity Sportswear. Not to be confused with the Canadian denim company, this is an all-American Boston label that has mastered the traditional double-breasted pea coat ($339), complete with U.S. navy anchor buttons—classic!
The idea is not to combine pieces like that to create an entire head-to-toe Fidelity outfit but rather inspire guys to layer select garments together and make them their own—even if it means working in a quick buy from a fast-fashion outlet.
“What we like to teach them is to mix and match,” says Goldman. “So if they wanna buy an item from anther store, like a $30 shirt, and come in here and mix it with a $300 casual jacket, they can do that. And we’ll encourage them to do that because there’s a lot of wonderful choices out there.”