Inspired by the taxidermy 12-point head of an elk he shot during a hunting trip, Garrett Hilgendorf launched his men’s clothing line and its physical store Elk Head Clothing in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market in 2015. Offering immensely wearable clothing and accessories that are “rugged yet refined,” Hilgendorf also sells his wares online.
The Michigan native recently shared the story behind his need-to-know collection and shop…
What is the background and history of Elk Head?
I started Elk Head as a pursuit of passion. I have always been interested in fashion and style, and I am from Michigan and very much inspired by the outdoors. I decided to create a brand that fit the modern lifestyle and aesthetic…minimalistic and refined, but also with rugged qualities.
What prompted you to open the store?
I felt that being online wasn’t enough and that I needed a physical space to really showcase the brand and what it was all about. Ponce City Market’s aesthetic and feel is modern, yet it has timeless qualities. I felt that opening a store in PCM made sense.
What are your current bestselling brands and items?
Our signature elbow patch shirts are customer favorites and so are so our popovers. The leather goods, the wallets and belts are also really popular – they are handcrafted in Pennsylvania.
How would you describe the overall aesthetic of the shop and its selection?
The shop has a modern, minimalistic, aesthetic overall. I’ve used a lot of timeless and sturdy materials like wood and steel when designing the interior.
Who is the customer who shops at Elk Head?
We have a truly diverse customer base, but they all have one thing in common- they like timeless style that is also versatile and made of quality materials.
What sets Elk Head apart from other stores in the area?
The shopping experience. We’ve curated an atmosphere that is laid-back and casual, and very different from big box stores. We want people to have a good time while they’re shopping.
How big is your online business versus brick-and -mortar?
We are growing our online business every day, but our brick-and-mortar is currently the heart of our business.
What has been the best part of running the store so far?
By far, the best thing about opening the shop has been meeting customers and getting their feedback. I’ve been blown away by all of the positive responses about our products. Talking to people and hearing what they like about the brand has made my pursuits worthwhile.
What are the future plans for Elk Head?
I’d like to open more stores locally, but also nationwide. Ponce City Market will always be our home. I think there are also other cities that would appreciate our design-centered aesthetic.
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