The guys launching Pursuit clothing company plan on dishing out men's fashion from a camper like lunch from a taco truck.
"It's a more fun, relevant and intriguing way to buy men's clothes," said Pursuit owner Nate DeMars, 28, of his company's plan.
Pursuit begins business next week. DeMars and Shay Merritté, the chief creative officer, will sell suits, shirts and accessories through pop-up shops and a mobile showroom on college campuses.
"It's a fresh idea in a boring old business," DeMars said.
That idea began as an MBA entrepreneurship class project at Ohio State. DeMars and Merritté, 24, graduated in June and decided to make their assignment reality. Their Cleveland-based classmate John Horvath joined them, doing operations and logistics for Pursuit.
DeMars' initial idea for the business was to re-sell suits bought at thrift stores, though, he soon found that '70s-era leisure numbers were much more prosperous than the dapper deals he was hunting.
But he was onto something.
In college, conferences and formals abound and swarms of interviews are only a diploma away. Guys need suits. And, as later class research showed, buying one is a rite of passage not necessarily enjoyed.
"Some stores are not trying to appeal to anyone," DeMars said. "They'll have 50 suits in one size, and I'd only wear five of them."
Pursuit hopes to streamline the process, at least for their niche of 18- to 24-year-olds. It'll sell names like DKNY and Calvin Klein (phase two of Pursuit's model features a Pursuit line), and will have suits that start at the college-friendly price of $275.
"You've got 35,000 male students on OSU's campus," said Sharon Alvarez, an associate professor at Ohio State and the instructor of the class that hatched the idea for Pursuit. "Even if he captures only 10 percent of that market, he's doing well."
Pursuit plans on keeping things fun and productive for their targets - like snapping a LinkedIn profile picture for customers - all while making credit card-wielding parents happy.
"We'll make it easier to get in and out as you buy a suit," Merritté said, "and you'll leave looking good."
Pursuit's tips for wearing asuit
Make sure it fits. Appropriate fit is key to any suave outfit. Some things to keep in mind: Boxy jackets are unattractive, arm holes should hang close to your armpits, and, when buttoned, the jacket should make a "V." The dress shirt "doesn't have to be suctioned to you," DeMars said, "but it should be snug" to avoid a cloth muffin top.
When in doubt, follow one rule. At least if you're a younger guy: Two-button jackets, no pleated pants.
Play with color and mix patterns. Leave the khaki pants and blue shirts to Best Buy employees. Also, most guys start out with a flat black suit, but try a charcoal gray instead. The color works for nearly every occasion and can be serious or fun depending on the accessories paired with it.
Bowtie = Swag. "You can be up against the biggest, baddest guy at the party in an Ed Hardy T-shirt," Merritté said. "Doesn't matter. Ladies love bowties."
Photo by Jodi Miller
Secret Location Pursuit Launch Party
7:30-11:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23