Shop Class – Sully & Co.
It has been a landmark month for Denver’s Sully & Co. This 1,000-sq.-foot specialty menswear boutique that carries made in America brands exclusively celebrated its one-year anniversary last week and just launched its e-commerce shop. Here, its owner, Mark Snipe, a former New York-based fashion-industry insider, discusses its initial success, terrific brand mix and what sets it apart from other guys’ shops in the Mile-High City.
What is the background of Sully & Co?
It just turned a year old on October 5. I lived in New York and I had worked for Ralph Lauren and was working for Lacoste and my girlfriend wanted a better quality of life. I frankly didn’t understand because what’s better than New York City? We happened to have family out here and Denver seemed to be a really good city to start a small business. I love clothing and the idea was to offer some simple, elegant solutions for the American male. As the idea continued to percolate I decided that I wanted it to be only American made product. So we got to Denver and opened the shop.
And the reception to the store has been good?
Yeah. I think Denver is not well served from that perspective. This has been a shop that people will go to if they don’t want to go to the mall. We are fortunate in that respect because less and less people want to go to the mall because they want a very curated store.
What sets you apart from the other stores in the area?
In Denver there are probably six or seven menswear stores and you have four stores that have opened in the last two or three years and then you have two or three historical ones that have been here for 30 or 40 years. We are kind of like the new kids on the block and we are all offering something that is a little bit different. We call the store “urban preppy” so it’s more denim with a sport jacket and button-down shirt and pocket squares and lapel pins. So for us it’s more of the bridge between stuff you can wear to work as well as out to drinks.
What brands do you carry?
On the denim side we carry Raleigh Denim, Shokoe and Baldwin Denim. And for other bottoms we carry Grown & Sewn. And we’ve worked with Southwick for our clothing. They are an old, venerable clothing company. And we have Hertling, which is out of Greenpoint in Brooklyn and they make trousers. And then there is a company called Haspell. And we work with a local designer called Wolfhill Brand. He’s great and he does small leather goods and belts. And a company called Dapper Classics for socks. We have about 10 to 15 different brands.
What prompted you to carry American made brands only?
I feel like we need to bring money back into the country and get the middle class back up and running and part of that is manufacturing. We shipped all of our manufacturing jobs overseas in the mid ’80s. And I feel like it is my little part to kind of mitigate that. There’s a lot of pride that goes into this stuff and I think there’s more and more American manufacturing taking place and while it’s still not a lot I think that the folks who participate in it take a lot of pride in it and it comes through in the product.
How important is that to you to your typical customer or do you even have a typical customer?
There is a range of customers. Some come in specifically because it is American made and whenever we greet a customer we tell them that our product is made in America and they appreciate it. I’ve only had one customer respond diffidently and he was a young guy who said, “That doesn’t matter to me.” Everyone else has been positive and has responded well.
What is the price range of the items in the store?
Not including socks, which are $22 to $35, the basic denim is $250 to $285 and sport jackets are $750 to $895.
Do you offer special services?
We do complimentary basic tailoring. If a guy needs his jeans or trousers hemmed we will take care of that. We also work with Southwick for made to measure. And we do special orders with our shirts. Denver is a pretty athletic and active town. We have a lot of guys with athletic builds who can’t fit into a normal shirt. So we have a pretty vibrant special order business.
Where does the store’s name come from?
Sully is my dog. We were in a park with some marketing guys and we were throwing out a bunch of names and decided “Sully and Co” had some kind of sophistication but is also welcoming. So Sully is my dog… and I am the company.