&SONS opens first store in Cheltenham
Vintage Americana and workwear inspired British menswear brand &SONS has just opened its first ever “experiential” concept store at 60 Clarence Street in Cheltenham, called The &SONS Trading Post, and if the concept works then more stores are planned for the UK, US and Europe.
Customers can see the entire &SONS collection in store but won’t be able to take away, instead the brand will ship purchases directly to customers’ homes.
However, as it moves to become a more sustainable brand, the principles for the new store are built around "reuse/repurpose/recycle", and with that in mind it is offering the chance to buy repaired and altered stock, along with old season pieces, one-offs, samples and discontinued items from the brand’s archives at a reduced price to take away. Customers can also currently get 10% off their first order in store.
&SONS Founder and Creative Director, Phil James, said: “As we’re all aware, the shopping experience has changed in recent years, and as a progressive brand we have chosen to offer a slightly different approach to traditional retail. Like any other retailer, the store will carry all of our latest garments in every size and colour. What’s unique is that you can browse, try on and get to know the products, and once purchased, we will ship directly to your doorstep. We feel this combines the experience of traditional retail with the convenience of online shopping.
“As a concept, we wanted the space to showcase our existing lines but also to give our customers the chance to buy old, repurposed and discontinued stock. This concept will give our garments a second chance and avoid them going into landfills. As a growing brand we are very aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry so this is our way of helping.
“We live and work in Cheltenham so the location was an obvious choice for our first concept store. We can hang out there, meet our customers and learn so much before opening other locations. If the concept works, we hope to open more stores across the UK and overseas such as the US and parts of Europe.”
The store is also filled with curiosities and original vintage pieces, and James says it feels more like a home from home than a retail space. A record player with a collection of vinyl records has been installed, along with a coffee machine and even a few musical instruments for the occasional jam. The brand is encouraging customers to “pop down, grab a coffee and just chill with us.”
James added: “There’s something very special about bricks and mortar stores, a three-dimensional environment where we can interact with customers and they can interact with our clothing. One of the hardest things about being an online business was demonstrating the quality of our clothing and the attentional to detail. Seeing first hand our customers pick up an item, try it on and feedback is incredibly rewarding and insightful.”
In the future, &SONS plans on offering repairs as well as one-off screen printed garments mixed with open evenings, live music and get togethers.
Since launching just over five years ago through Kickstarter, &SONS has seen significant growth and has chosen to mainly be a direct-to-consumer brand, though it does have a handful of stockists around the world.
In a statement, the brand says that as the world began to change last year with the pandemic, it saw “an influx of new customers looking for a unique brand they could buy online.”
Since then, the brand’s growth has “surpassed expectations”, and although it enjoys the flexibility and global reach of digital, it “always wanted something in the real world,” hence the new store where customers can be engaged on a one-to-one basis in an environment that gives the full brand experience.