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, it's Don Vu, the owner of Gargyle, a charming, well-curated boutique on New York's Lower East Side.
What are your recent best sellers?
Rivieras, in all colors, and we have trouble keeping any of our Illesteva sunglasses on the shelves. Finally, we just got them in, but we've been getting a good response from the D.S. Dundee selvage jeans and their less-eighties-looking shorts. We've already sold a bunch.
How do you select pieces for Gargyle?
We pick items that are fashionable while not totally surrendering masculinity. Our labels, like Surface to Air and Billykirk, do an especially good job at retaining it, while companies like Velour have good staple pieces.
Gargyle may be a popular store, but there's not a lot of square footage to spare. How does that affect your curation of the inventory?
We'd prefer to have a larger space—what shop owner in New York doesn't? It would give us more room to do all the creative things we have bouncing around our heads. But I feel like we've made the most of the limited space, it definitely makes us more selective. Fortunately, we do a lot of business online, where we don't have space concerns. It's a lot easier to add Web pages than rack space.
Is there a difference in your customers' buying habits online as opposed to your brick-and-mortar retail space?
People in the store make more impulse buys, which makes sense. You see a lot more stuff when walking around a store than you might by clicking page by page in a Web store, and it's a lot easier to get drawn in by that pair of socks or unique hat that's hanging around the cash register.
What's the last in-store item you took home for yourself?
These deck shoes from Swear. I like their simple update on a classic shape.
Visit Gargyle at 16A Orchard Street, New York City, or online at www.gargyle.com