Banners under TGS Holdings Co. cater to different street style-savvy consumers. Extra Butter is a destination for sneakerheads. Rooted is a progressive fashion boutique. And Renarts is a sports-inspired neighborhood sneaker store. But the company’s CEO, Ankur Amin, believes an opportunity remains to win over an underserved segment of the market.
“There are kids who got into streetwear at 10, 11 or 12 years old and by the time they’re 19, 20 or 21 they’re done with the song and dance of the culture. They’re not willing to stand in lines or jump through hoops or fall for marketing,” said Amin. “They’re a more refined, progressive customer. They have great taste and sense of style, they take inspiration from their travels and [they] are fully adept in food, world politics and social issues.”
To target this demo, Amin (along with his brother, Nick) opened Crusoe & Sons in June. The store is geared toward the “global citizen” — men and women who grew up on streetwear but now have a more cultured palette.
“Brands always want the youngest and coolest person, but slightly older people get forgotten. They have the money, they want to look great just like the younger kid and they’re more established,” explained Puma key account manager Scott Saltzman. “That customer falls into the cracks.”
The 1,200-square-foot space is located in Huntington Village, a bustling and trendy shopping district on Long Island, N.Y., replete with upscale restaurants, bars and posh nightlife establishments. The store features a clean aesthetic with passport stamp and naval-inspired imagery, as well as a library with worldly literature and posters of travel destinations. The intention is to inspire the sense of discovery its consumers already harness.
Stocked on the shelves are top-tier shoes from brands including Nike, Adidas (and its Y-3 label with Yohji Yamamoto), Teva and Puma, among others. Alongside the footwear are several apparel brands such as Patagonia and Stone Island, and luggage from labels including Porter and Herschel. (By the holidays, Amin said Crusoe & Sons will offer luggage customization.)
Partners, including those that have worked with other TGS stores, are confident of Crusoe & Sons’ potential.
“The ceiling for Crusoe & Sons is endless. As generations in the sneaker and streetwear scene mature, they will need a shopping destination that will cater to them,” Adidas senior sales manager David Ting said. “The global citizen consumer has been underserved and not many retail destinations can give the experience that Crusoe & Sons does.”
Amin is hoping to replicate the success of other TGS stores. Extra Butter, according to Amin, has grown 70% per annum over the past two years, Rooted is improving 30% consistently and Renarts is growing 5% annually.
However, Amin admitted debuting on suburban Long Island rather than a fashion-conscious urban market has presented obstacles.
“The big challenge is getting our key vendors on board. Most of the brands tend to focus on big cities and big markets, so maybe Huntington or Long Island goes by the wayside in terms of priorities,” Amin said.
But Crusoe & Sons isn’t limited to one suburban Long Island door. Amin is confident this format is scalable, and by 2021, he plans to have more locations in different markets.
“It has potential to be in lots of cities around the world, even as a small format store in airports,” he said. “We’re going to work this right and then pursue bigger cities. The project, to me, belongs in New York City or the boroughs, where there is this passionate millennial with hunger for what we offer.”
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