DAVID GRIMES, 49, of Northern Liberties, is the owner of Armour Philadelphia, a menswear boutique he opened on Fabric Row in Queen Village in fall 2013. Grimes worked for 20 years in corporate jobs, first in Philly and then at American Express and AIG in New York. A Philly native and former Brooklyn resident, Grimes wanted a more creative path.
Q: What differentiates Armour from other boutiques?
A: At Armour you'll find neat clothes and accessories, but you'll also see art. I like to promote local artists and have art that's affordable, that people can buy. Besides carrying established brands, I also carry stuff by up-and-coming local designers - pocket squares by Ikire Jones and bow ties by Terese Sydonna.
Q: Where do you find brands?
A: About 90 percent of what I carry I find at New York trade shows. The rest are via friends, word of mouth or online. I also want the shopping experience to be intimate, so I carry just a few select brands and sizes.
Q: Your top sellers?
A: Circle of Gentlemen is a button-down-shirt brand in the Netherlands whose shirts are made in Turkey. It retails for $225. Another brand is WRK (Work Rest Karma) out of New York. They make blazers ($285), button-down shirts and trousers ($95 to $145). An accessory is Fine and Dandy. They design ties, bow ties and pocket squares that are made in upstate New York. Prices are from $25 to $60.
Q: A typical customer?
A: Somebody in his mid-30s and up. A creative type, an entrepreneur or corporate guy, with his own sense of style.
Q: Biggest challenge?
A: A lot of guys who discover Armour are either running errands or living in the neighborhood. I'm trying to attract guys in other neighborhoods. Nobody is coming down here to go to one shop. He'll have lunch, pop in some stores and make a day of it.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: It's between $50,000 and $100,000. I have a part-time creative director and an intern who comes three days a week and gets college credit for it.
Q: What about the name?
A: Traditionally, armor means going into battle with protective clothing. Armour is how we want to be perceived. It's all about being ready for battle and the next day.
Q: What's next?
A: I want an e-commerce site. I get visitors from outside Philly, but they don't always come back. I want to be able, when I get new product in, to sell online. Secondly, I want to find more creative ways to get the word out. I'm doing a pop-up in Rittenhouse Square later in the fall.
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