Will Giddon is making his mark on the family business.
The 26-year-old son of Rothmans president Ken Giddon is the catalyst behind a shop that was installed at the company’s Union Square flagship last week. Called Rothmans Next, the 1,000-square-foot shop on the lower level features an assortment of fresh brands that are designed to appeal to a younger customer.
Will Giddon, whose title is director of business development, said the store has a solid following among men over the age of 30, but he saw the opportunity for a concept that would appeal to guys his age. “Is there a market we’re missing,” he asked, “and the chance to target a new audience? We want to cover every avenue for style.”
His father added: “We do a really good job of finding great sportswear and clothing at great prices, but we lose some of the younger crew because of our price points. So the idea was to give the Rothmans experience at a more approachable price. This makes us bolder and more experimental and allows us to test some things.”
The initial assortment includes Ace Rivington, an exclusive assortment of men’s accessories from Paige Novick, Alpha Industries, Marine Layer, American Needle, Goorin Bros., Crwth, Liverpool Los Angeles and Hedge.
Will Giddon said Rothmans Next will carry between five and 10 brands and will rotate often in order to keep the mix fresh. “We’ll pivot every season.”
In addition to the apparel, the shop includes an arcade cabinet with Atari games so customers can stop by and play. The retailer is also taking Polaroids of customers who visit the shop and adding them to a wall that will remain on site. “It’s a place to have fun,” Ken Giddon said.
Rothmans has promoted the addition on its social media channels and is also depending on word of mouth to get the news out.
“We have generations of families shopping with us,” Ken Giddon said. “That’s our secret sauce.”
Although Rothmans operates stores at Manhattan West as well as in Scarsdale and Bronxville, N.Y., the Next concept will remain at the flagship only — at least initially. “We’re not opposed to expanding this to our other locations,” Ken Giddon said. “But for the integrity of the new brand, it’s only at the flagship now.”
Will Giddon said he grew up working in the family business before moving to the West Coast to work with a talent agency. But during the pandemic, he came back to New York and decided to join Rothmans full time.
“I started working to relearn the business and feel part of the family fold,” he said. Rothmans is now run by Ken Giddon and his brother Jim, grandsons of founder Harry Rothman who opened a men’s store in Greenwich Village in 1926. “I discovered such a passion inside of me and realized there was an avenue to make Rothmans better and bring in a younger touch.”
He started on the sales floor and worked on the website before being named to his current role.
Will Giddon said going forward, he will concentrate on making Rothmans Next a success and help ensure the company remains relevant. “As a 26-year-old, I want to find ways to cater to that customer and have every occasion and age covered. So we’ll keep experimenting.”