As every independent store owner knows, the key to a successful business is passionate sellers. Here, we catch up with Tim Pait, a native North Carolinian who recently relocated back home, moving from one great store (Oak Hall, Memphis/Nashville) to another: Taylor Richards & Conger in Charlotte. With 20+ years of menswear experience, Tim graciously shares some success secrets.
Q: How are you able to maintain your enthusiasm in these trying times?
A: The opportunity to return to North Carolina and continue my career with one of the premier men’s stores in the nation is keeping me excited. What motivates me is evolving my skillset and building relationships within the industry, community, and with my clientele.
Q: What kind of mood are customers in these days?
A: Our world is continuing to change and so are the needs and outlooks of our clients. While our customers are seeking comfort to a greater extent than ever, they want to be comfortable in a fashionable sense. For let’s face it: we all feel better when we’re dressed well. My goal is to find the mid-ground between comfort and fashion, creating the best possible version of each individual.
Q: Could you be more specific about what guys will be buying?
A: First of all, I definitely think there will be pent-up demand post-pandemic: guys will be looking for the next evolution in their wardrobe. You’ll see knitwear continue to be dominant with niche knitwear items becoming the new sportcoat. In suits, guys are learning to expand on a great piece worn nested or separate, in soft or empty construction. Good examples of this are from Sarttorio, Isaia, Cucinelli. Layering tailored clothing with knits, an open-collar shirt, and killer boots or sneakers is a truly modern look that also works with cargo, jogger, or five-pocket pants. I’ve always believed in made-to-measure for that wow factor, and for providing a great client experience. Merchants have to be willing to take risks and reimagine what’s on hand. A thoughtfully curated environment is crucial.
Q: How important is e-commerce? What sells best online?
A: Our more casual brands such as Faherty and Gran Sasso have been performing best online. We’ve received orders from all over the country in the past six months of our e-commerce adventure including from Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, and California. We also receive orders for free local delivery or free local pickup, both better for the environment and economically beneficial for all parties involved. We’re excited to see e-commerce grow.
Q: What about social media: how do you assess the potential?
A: It’s a major tool for retailers to expand upon. With a sufficient allotment of time and creativity, social media broadens our reach and gives us limitless opportunities to network and establish our own brand. More importantly, it’s a very personal form of selling and communicating, which is relationship building in its purest form.
Q: What’s your best advice to other sellers?
A: Know your audience and be well versed in your product. These factors give you the ability to translate a general idea into something specific for each customer. Remember, most customers rely on you to be the expert. And since it’s always easier to work when you have a comfortable rapport with your clients, make the effort to regularly stay in touch.