Anthony Graziani didn’t start out in menswear, but he did see something happening in the industry that he wanted to be a part of. “A few years ago, I started to see a really positive wave in menswear happening nationwide,” he observes, “but it wasn’t necessarily being reflected in Cincinnati. In addition, Cincinnati was also starting to experience its own kind of renaissance.” Graziani envisioned a menswear shop with a vibe that reflected what was going on in his city and the industry, and so in September 2013, he opened Article.
Article carries goods that are made to last (much of their assortment is made in the U.S.). Graziani describes the store as “rugged classic” with a cedar log rack that runs from floor to ceiling, rusted steel walls encased in black glaze and custom-welded racks. Article stocks brands like Billy Reid, Tanner Goods, Wolverine 1000 Mile and local denim brand Noble. “The owner of Noble, Chris Sutton, helped me with my first buy. We have a good friendship—we support him, he supports us and his brand has done really well, retailing for $250.” Graziani says they’re going to expand into suiting and are looking for made-to-measure suiting and shirting partners for fall. “There’s a custom shirt maker in Cincinnati who we’d like to support. We’re planning to expand our overall shirting assortment (currently 30 percent of the business) with existing vendors, as well as new vendors for spring. We’re also looking for brands that want to collaborate with us on exclusive product. We’d like to migrate towards more private label, or at least collaborative merchandise. We’re looking for things that are unique to our customer.”
Getting guys to shop at a new store can be difficult, but Graziani is up for the challenge. He’s using the obvious social media outlets, and says that outreach is most effective whenever they can partner with one of their brands. For example, they just teamed up with Biltwell motorcycle helmets on an event that also promoted their Deus Ex Machina pop-up shop. With all three partners highlighting the event through social, Graziani says so many people showed up that he was certain they broke the fire code that night!
He’s also going outside of the shop to create local buzz. For example, in May they participated in their local City Flea. “We wanted to participate in the City Flea, but we didn’t think it made sense to transport our whole store there. So we came up with a unique way to continue to tell our story with our OAK MKT concept (OAK stands for one-of-a-kind). We’re a vintage-inspired store, but we also look for true vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces; it’s not a core business for us but it was very successful at the Flea. It also gave us an outlet to sell more of our small leather goods and grooming items.”