Winter of 2015 was unusually warm, which was bad news for retailers. According to CNN Money outwear sales were down 10 percent across the country for the season. But despite the good (but bad for retail) weather, menswear sales were still smokin. Barclay published a report this January that menswear sales were up over 24 percent in 2015.
Men’s fashion, menswear, men’s clothing – whatever you want to call it, it’s booming. Someone has woken up the men’s retail market and dudes are ready to shop. Companies such as Trunk Club, Men’s Style Lab, and The Mr. Collection have all sprouted to support the styling goals of working men. And they do it online because it’s easy. Now, two locals have started their own style site. And yes, it’s easy too.
Retail expert and Bellevue resident Molly Kuffner and her long-time friend and Washington State University classmate Joe Blattner launched Sharply in June – a curated online shopping site for men. They sell simple essentials that will outlive seasonal trends. Sharply also has its own line of T-shirts that are 100 percent cotton and made in the U.S.
“Understanding that gentlemen are not only creatures of habit but they really appreciate an easy shopping experience, [Blattner] wanted to provide a vehicle for men to have a shopping experience that didn’t take any more time than was absolutely necessary,” said Kuffner on how the idea of Sharply sprouted.
Unlike Trunk Club, Sharply is not a subscription based business. It’s a clothing site with the main goal of convincing the shopping experience for guys who seem to fit the Sharply bill.
“Our guy, our demographic, he’s 25-45, he’s a working professional, he knows he needs to look good but he doesn’t have time to shop,” said Kuffner.
Kuffner and Blattner launched Sharply out of Seattle. It currently has five employees. The company is still small and young but it’s leaders are excited about the path menswear seems to be following.
“Women’s is a very, very large market but men’s is growing and men are paying more attention to what they’re wearing. And, they’re being a lot more thoughtful about what they’re wearing which is why we thought it was a great idea to focus on the essentials,” said Kuffner.