Simon, what is your work as a marketing manager at End Clothing? And how is a normal work day for you?
A typical day for me starts at around 8:30. I’ll have a meeting with the content, photography and social media teams, plan out the product that will be going online that day, social campaigns and styled shoots, etc. and talk over any ideas the team have for new content for the projects that we have on the go. From there, I’ll quickly check the blogs to see what is going in the world and then spend the morning attempting to clear the inbox. Making sure all of the publishers that we support have the product they need for shots and that our affiliates are up to date with latest products and content we’ve put together. Afternoons are normally reserved for special projects, so that could be meeting brand partners we are working on collaborative projects with, or spending a bit of time planning our next launch.
Like End Clothing, you are from Newcastle and previously you lived in Chicago. What differences do you find in the way of dressing between British and Americans?
The world over there are people that dress well and people that don’t. Working within the industry you can become somewhat critical of this, but I also understand that beyond clothing some people wear garments purely from a functional point of view (to keep them warm etc.) and other people for their aesthetic value. In terms of UK vs. US differences I think the real difference (overall) is the US tends to be a lot more preppy in style, while the UK is often more sportswear / technical focused.
We all know that London, Manchester and Glasgow are the top 3 of men’s fashion in Great Britain, what do Newcastle and End Clothing offer us that the cities previously mentioned cannot offer?
Newcastle isn’t normally mentioned as a style capital, we are normally missed off the standard London/Manchester/Glasgow list in the UK, but we don’t actually mind that. It means we don’t have any pressure to represent or be over the top/flamboyant in what we stock. Instead our buyers simply buy what they like and have a great understanding of what our customer base is into. The stores feature brands we love, brands with history, new brands with great ideas, and brands with great quality. Both stores have been phenomenally popular with the good men of Newcastle. We also have two universities in the city which helps our footfall. I think like everywhere there are pockets of guys into sneakers, others into the heritage stuff or higher end fashion and Newcastle is no different, but undoubtedly over the years our customers have trusted us in where we have taken it.
For those who are lovers of the ‘Street Menswear’ in its variation more ‘premium’, End Clothing is like the mecca of fashion. But, can you tell us how the beginnings were and currently who are the staff of the store?
The buyers/directors behind End are Christiaan and John. They started the first store pretty much fresh out of University and are still involved in the company every day and are responsible for all of our buying. Neither had a background in fashion, they simply saw a gap in the market for a menswear store through their own frustration with the lack of brands available here in Newcastle. Their values for the store are simple: to stock the best products with the friendliest and most helpful service.
End opened its door in 2005. We are located on High Bridge which is a small cobbled street in the City Centre which runs in between Grey Street (voted the finest street in Britain a few years back) and the Bigg Market (notorious drinking epicentre of the city.) In 2006 we launched the website and in the Autumn of 2009 we open End Hunting Co. which is just 2 doors down from the original End store. The website covers all of our brands, whereas the stores are set up to represent different lines. So in End we stock the sneakers, street wear and high-end sportswear, and End Hunting Co is the more casual, outdoors, fashion brands. We will be opening a new store in the next six months. I can’t say much other than it will be in Newcastle, in a more prominent spot in the city centre and we will be combining the two current stores we have under one roof. The aim is to make the new retail space a real destination and hub for UK menswear shopping.
More and more frequently we look the place of manufacture of brands. Not only for the quality of item, but by the fact that in some countries working conditions are not appropriate. What do you think about this? Do you agree with people in charge of some brands, who say that the quality of products manufactured in Asia is increasingly close to one made in Europa, USA or Japan?
Quality aside, made in Europe, USA, Japan are all very much selling points and points of difference for many brands. As a consumer I think we often associate non-Asian production with more artisan and small scale facilities. I think that is the real reason people home in on them.
You are one of stores with bigger catalogue of brands of clothes. What selection criteria do you follow? You usually often include new brands?
We try and go to all the major tradeshows throughout the year and we listen to what our customers are telling us both in-store and online. Ultimately everyone that works here is pretty obsessed with menswear so there is never a shortage of new brands to check out and ideas to push things forward.
Some of the brands you sell are used very much by fans of the casual culture. Do you know something about this culture? Are you part of this casual culture or have you been part of this?
I appreciate the quality, development and fabric technology that goes into product from brands like Stone Island and CP Company, but I wouldn’t say I was part of the casual scene. The guys that are into the ‘casual’ brands are obsessive about the detail that goes into those products and talk just as much about that as football in the pub.
I am going to tell you items of clothing and you have to write your favourite:
Shoes or trainers
Are you fan of a football team?
Yes I Support Newcastle, although I have confess to not being a massively fanatical or super fan.