Photo courtesy Mizzen+Main
Ladies, if you want to help outfit your man, send them to new Short North store Mizzen+Main. The shop, which began as an e-commerce site in 2012, recently opened a storefront in Columbus. There, you'll find dress shirts made with performance fabric-eliminating the possibility of sweat and wrinkles. Mizzen+Main also carries Henley-style shirts, and plans are in the works for blazers and denim. We chatted with co-founders Kevin Lavelle and Web Smith to learn more about Mizzen+Main and how they created the shirt concept. (Visit MizzenAndMain.com to check out the products). –Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley
Can you share the background of Mizzen+Main?
Lavelle: I was working in Washington, D.C. as a summer college intern and watched a businessman walk into a meeting soaked in sweat. I thought, "Why don't we make a dress shirt made out of performance fabric?" I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I thought it was definitely something I could do and it was a matter of problem solving. I spent a long time on the branding and background side of things. We launched in July of 2012, and we had two white dress shirts at the time. A week or two after we launched, I was introduced to Web through a mutual friend. I know problem solving and engineering, but when it comes to building a brand…I was a little bit a fish out of water. Once we started working together, we grew together. Web's background is in e-commerce. We started expanding our products, and working on making our brand not just a product.
How did you decide to make the jump from an ecommerce site to a brick and mortar store?
Smith: We were always going to be an e-commerce company. A brick-and-mortar location allows people to be introduced to our brand if they haven't experienced the shirt themselves. We're always going to be an e-commerce at heart. That's our opportunity to reach the most people.
Why the Short North?
Smith: We opened on Dec. 6, 2013 to about 100 or so people that night. I believe the Short North has quite the potential to transcend the city and the state. The fashion and arts scene here is something we really want to grow with. It was a no-brainer to open the shop here in town.
What's the customer experience like when you come into the store?
Smith: It's really simple-we have an open and welcoming format. The guys who normally love our shirts also appreciate what we carry-bags, scarves, shoes. There are small elements of fun…we have bourbon, whiskey and scotch on tap. We'll often have people buy things and then stay for another 45 minutes to learn about the brand.
What will you find in store?
Lavelle: Right now we have 13 different dress shirts and two Henleys. All of those are out of our proprietary blends of performance fabrics. The dress shirt is $125 and the Henley is $58. Our blazer that will be launched soon is $495, and we will be launching the performance denim in February. We have some solids and different patterns. We do things that we believe will be classic and that you can wear generally year-round.