Best Sellers: Odin's Eddy Chai on His Customers, Men's Jewelry, and Selling Wool Suits in the Summer
Every week we turn to the top retailers in men's fashion—from the owners of small independent stores to buyers from multinational chains—to find out what items have been selling like hotcakes and how they stock their shelves. Today we talk to Eddy Chai, who, along with his business partner, Paul Birardi, founded the famously well-curated downtown New York City favorite Odin.
What are your recent best sellers?
We're launching Odin button-down shirts this fall, and, as a precursor, we released a handful of button-down styles appropriate for the New York summer heat. We've been really pleased with the response in general, but the chambray style sold especially well, and we've just put in an additional run of them that should be available before summer's end. Our Legacy speckled-wool suits have also done surprisingly well. They're beautiful, but the sales numbers are a complete shocker, given the heat wave we've been having.
Along with a small clutch of stores, Odin has forwarded a new movement in men's retail in New York. Have you noticed a change in people's shopping habits and in your customer base since you opened?
Happily, our customer base has remained fairly consistent. There's been a shift in how customers spend money, though--we find that they look for deeper product value. They want to know they are finding items that they will be able to wear beyond one or two retail seasons. Everyone wants to be on trend without investing in items that will be dated in six months' time.
Do you notice different shopping habits in your customers from store to store?
Actually, more than a difference between customers from location to location, we've noticed a shared desire for well-curated pieces and person-to-person assistance—remembering their sizes and styling preferences, for instance. At the East and West Village sites and our larger SoHo store, our customers come looking for and expecting a warm, neighborhood approach to retail. We've worked hard to develop that.
If you could expand your business into any new area, what would it be?
We're interested in jewelry, accessories, bags, and footwear—not merely because we want to expand our business, but because we have a genuine passion and interest. Right now, though, we're focused on developing and improving what's on the table now: personal fragrance, home fragrances, and as I said, those button-downs.
What should shoppers look forward to this fall?
We're adding White Mountaineering, a Japanese collection by the designer Yosuke Aizawa, who worked with Junya Wantanabe and Comme des Garçons. It blends function and technology into this truly unique urban and outdoor sensibility.
What's the last in-store item you took home for yourself?
Fatboy hair putty. It's the only item I consistently snag from the stores.
For Odin's locations or to shop their inventory online go to www.odinnewyork.com
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