Mizzen+Main is expanding its reach as it seeks to build a premium lifestyle brand.
The menswear brand, which was founded in 2012 and is rooted in dress shirts and performance products, is bolstering its retail stable and will add three stores this year to bring its total to 10.
The new stores will be located at La Cantera in San Antonio, Texas; Rice Village in Houston, and Kierland Commons in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ryan Kent, chief executive officer and president, said Mizzen+Main opened its first pop-ups in 2017. That was soon followed by permanent leases, first in close proximity to its Dallas headquarters, and subsequently in other cities in the immediate vicinity.
“We signed our first long-term lease in Fort Worth in our backyard,” he said. “We wanted to build muscle before expanding beyond that.”
Today, the company operates most of its stores in Texas as well as one in Oklahoma City and another in Tampa, Fla.
Kent said going forward, the goal is to continue to expand into the Midwest and eventually the West Coast.
Although the company has strong business in other major metropolitan markets around the U.S., the “economics” of opening in prime locations is challenging for a smaller brand. “We look at tier two locations where we can have a stronger presence and connection with the customer rather than being just another store on Michigan Avenue.”
Beyond these three new stores, Mizzen+Main is also hoping to bolster its wholesale presence. “A key part of our strategy is to be omnichannel,” he said, adding that the brand is carried at Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Van Maur and other major retailers as well as at some 200 men’s specialty stores and 350 green grass golf shops.
“The majority of our sales still come from our direct-to-consumer channels, but that ebbs and flows,” he said. “But we still see growth opportunities in digital.”
Over the past two years, the company has added a couple of key executives to help “build a premium lifestyle brand,” he said. They include Noreen Naz Naroo-Pucci, chief product officer, and Bethany Muths, chief marketing, digital and omni officer.
“We started as a dress shirt brand but now we have bottoms, shorts, T-shirts, knitwear and a blazer that we can’t keep in stock,” Kent said. There’s also a knit suit that was introduced for spring and a stretch wool model was added for fall to address the “core wear-to-work” market. “It’s polished and clean and offered in innovative fabrics.”
Kent, whose background was in the military and the supply chain industry, knows that companies need to have more than just amazing product and have to connect with customers “on an emotional level” in order to succeed.
Long term, he said, the goal is to continue to grow all channels. “We’re bullish on physical retail — it’s a profitable channel for an apparel company if done right. There are a lot of locations across the U.S. that we’d consider as the brand grows. We don’t have a target number, but we have a pipeline of opportunities.”
Mizzen+Main began with a seed round of $250,000 in financing followed by a $1.25 million Series A round in 2014 and a $300 million Series B round in 2016. L Catterton provided a “significant growth investment” in the company in 2017.