Meet The Retailer – Rivet And Hide

Meet The Retailer is a series where we want to give the spotlight to our retailers all around the world. The Retailers get their chance to introduce their shop, themselves and talk about all the things they want to share. This episode is about Rivet And Hide in London.

 


Episode 3

Rivet And Hide, London, England / Selvedge Run Edition

Rivet & Hide

5 WINDMILL STREET
LONDON W1T 2JA

Rivet And Hide website



The Rivet And Hide interview

There’s only so much you can fit in one video. Therefore you can read the whole interview made with Danny from Rivet And Hide at Selvedge Run in Berlin below and see all the things he had to say about Indigofera, retail business and other things. Enjoy.

 

Let’s begin by introducing yourself and your store

My name is Danny and I’m the owner of a store in London, Rivet and Hide, which I started back in 2012 online from home. It was just an online store to start with and two years ago we opened full on brick & mortar store in Fitzrovia which is just North of Soho, Central London.

It’s a denim store and we predominantly sell Japanese denim. So this is either Japanese brands, that we represent really well, British or American brands and there’s one exception, Swedish brand, Indigofera—who predominantly use Japanese fabrics whether it’s denim or other fabrics for shirting and outerwear.

The concept is just to have the best casual classic clothing. The best construction, the best fabrics…

This wasn’t part of the mission but we can trace every stitch basically, so we could take our customers to the people who make all our garments ’cause we have that very close connection. We travel here to Berlin, travel to Japan twice a year, travel to America… and there’s not an endless chain back to a remote place somewhere where you don’t know who is making the garments. We know how well treated those people are, how well paid those people are. We work with some of the best craftsmen in clothing and that’s not just a privilege but very satisfying.

How did you start the store in the first place? What inspired you and how did it all begin?

I was fortunate to travel a lot in my previous work. I travelled frequently to Japan, United States… and discovered some great stores. I’m very good friends with the owners of Self Edge in America that was a big influence. I wanted to bring brands I was beginning to discover and learn to love to the UK—it didn’t make sense to me that they weren’t being represented in the UK. I wanted to start my own business and that’s how the idea came about. I contacted some key people in the business and they seemed to let me run with it, which I’m eternally grateful for.

It’s not the easiest business. Retail is a tricky business especially when you’re a niche. You’re dealing with expensive clothes basically, you know. They’re expensive for me to buy and they’re not cheap for my customers to buy either. They’re not mass-produced so it’s not easy to do restocks and there are lots of challenges. But it’s very rewarding working with some really fascinating and exceptional makers in the world.

How about Indigofera? How did you decide to start stocking them in your store?

I was in New York about four years ago when I was starting my business and I was with Andrew Chen from 3sixteen and he told me that the Indigofera guys were in town. That was Kari and Mats. So I went over to their showroom to meet them and I just instantly struck up a good rapport with Kari who I met. I speak a little bit of Finnish and so I sort of impressed him with my knowledge that had normally anything to do with alcohol-related… So we bonded over my knowledge of Finnish and he showed me the brand and I really liked it.

“Is this selvedge? Is this selvedge?”

There’s always something that I remember from that meeting. I kept saying: “Is this selvedge? Is this selvedge?” and he said to me: “We don’t always deal with selvedge because we don’t want our customers to focus just on the edge of the fabric, we want people to focus on the whole fabric.” That has stuck in my mind. We sell mainly selvedge and we work with people who make wonderful selvedge, but we have some products from Indigofera that aren’t selvedge and the fabrics are amazing. That’s the one thing I spotted when I first met Indigofera, how great their fabrics were that they were using. Works for us also ’cause the sizing is very different from the Japanese sizing so it helps balance out the different body types that come in to our store. There’s quite a unique vibe to Indigofera.

One thing that we buy a lot of that we absolutely love are the blankets, these 100% wool blankets from Norway and we have one in the wall in the shop, the Wes Lang collaboration. We did really well with that blanket. They couldn’t believe how quickly we were selling it and how quickly we were re-ordering it. It meant so much to us that blanket. We always say it helped us move being an online shop to having a physical store. It’s quite symbolic of that time that we made the decision to move to a physical store. That hangs proudly in our storefront.

“You just see that the customer is drifting off to some imaginary place. That’s rather lovely.”

Every year we buy all the blankets and when I show them to the customer I always tell them what their names are, the blankets. For me that’s an integral part of the blanket: Smoke Stack, Sheridan Lake, Montauk Stripe, Montauk Falls… and they sort of tell a story. We throw out the blanket to the floor in the store and tell them the name and you just see that the customer is drifting off to some imaginary place. That’s rather lovely.

Tell us a little bit about the area in London where your store is located. Any recommendations besides your store perhaps?

Fitzrovia is an area in North of Soho. It’s a little bit off the beaten track, a little bit off the tourist track. A lot of people who work there, work with film, post-production houses, other media businesses, designers… There’s quite a community of people living in there. Most people bought there years ago when they weren’t so expensive. It’s impossible to buy there now, it’s so expensive in that part of London.

There’s a lot of independent businesses in that area which is nice. Has it’s own unique vibe. One really important near to us is Lewis Leathers, the heritage motorcycle brand. It’s just literally 20 meters away from our store. We have a big crossover of customers. They send us a lot of customers and hopefully we do to them. They are definitely worth checking out. There’s a guy next to us called Mark Tallowin who hand makes hand bags and wallets to an exceptional standard. He makes them there in his little workshop/storefront immediately next door to our shop. There’s plenty of other people to check out in the area.

We are a 5 minute walk from Soho as well, so…

Anything else you’d like to add about your store or life in general?

This is really important to us. When people walk into the store they are treated like they are our friends already. We know when not to be over familiar you know. There’s some people who just wanna come in discreetly and have a look around and we want to make people feel comfortable if that’s what they wanna do. But we have people there for two, sometimes three hours trying on clothes. Getting the right fit on a pair of jeans or a shirt… Some people want to talk about the clothes. They want to tell you about things they bought in the past and that engagement with people is something that we make them feel very, sort of, very at ease to do. That interaction is very much part of the service.

It’s also a part of our online service. We ship very fast around the world: next day to New York, 2 days to the rest of the States, Canada. Australia like 72 hours, three days.

We have built up the online store by having that same interaction so when I get an e-mail, I don’t send back like a one word answer, I engage with them. Because I’ve travelled quite a bit in my previous job, I’ve sometimes been to the place that they are e-mailing from so I bring up something about that place that just shows that I recognise where they live. I enjoy that. Otherwise online can be very anonymous, it’s nice to bring a bit of familiarity and make it a little bit more like you talk to a real person. That’s part of the style of our service.