There are few young menswear execs with the merchandising talent and business savvy of Spencer Singer. His passion for the industry began at Scoop, where he worked at the Hamptons store during the summer of ‘06 to supplement his nightlife career. From there, Scoop founder Stefani Greenfield asked him to manage the Meatpacking District boutique.
“I credit my time at Scoop for providing a strong foundation: I learned great merchandising and customer interface,” Singer maintains. “Since then, I’ve worked for Missoni, for Billy Reid as wholesale sales manager, for Gant running the Rugger and Michael Bastian divisions, and for Project where, as sales manager and show director, my job was to create a culture. It combined everything I love: hospitality, brand building, merchandising, all skills that will serve me well at Stone Rose.”
The company, founded by Shai Medalsy (creative director) and Jonathan Torjman (managing partner), launched in 2007 with a collection of highly acclaimed “party shirts.” In 12 years, Stone Rose has become a well-loved brand at Nordstrom and at many top independents. Now adding new categories, Torjman explains the evolution. “At the beginning of our journey, I was 27 and into partying so we started out with party shirts. Now I’m 39: instead of partying, my life is mostly work and travel so we create styles that are comfortable, functional and stylish. Our biggest challenge is overcoming preconceptions.”
Singer, who knows the team well from working with them at Project, believes their success comes from their sourcing expertise, fabric knowledge and risk-tolerant focus on staying relevant. But equally important is the character of the players. “I had dinner with Jonathan and Shai and five minutes into it, I knew I would join them. I hadn’t planned to go back to wholesale but these are really solid people and that’s hard to find. As VP of business development, I’ll be involved with product development, brand culture, and messaging, in addition to sales. I think it’s a good match.”
Asked for his crystal ball on the business, Singer maintains that with change comes opportunity. “It’s scary at first since everything is changing so quickly and everyone needs to change the way they do business. But at Stone Rose, we’re ready for it! Our technical fabrics have a natural fiber base which sets them apart from much of the poly/stretch fabrics around. Jonathan gave me one of our new performance knit shirts (a solid white) and while I’ve never loved technical fabrics, I find myself wearing it several days a week.”
Asked about the possible impact of tariffs on future business, Singer points out that at $125 to $145 retails, the shirts give a lot of bang for the buck with exceptional construction and finishing. Torjman adds that most of their production is not in China (except for private label and a few basics) but rather in Turkey, Peru, and Italy. “We’re a small company but sourcing is our strength. We have an amazing design team in Montreal and because of our size, we can be very nimble.”