by John Russel Jones

When partners John Crocco, Jarrett Reicher, and Rosemarie Grieco took over the Scott Barber brand in 2020, they knew they had a pretty loyal fan base to keep happy: Both retailers and consumers. Catching up with Crocco earlier this season, it looks to us like they’re doing a great job, not only with updating the collection of updated traditional sport shirts that the brand was built on but also with a solid knitwear group. A small selection of pants and shorts have also been added, taking baby steps towards building a complete collection. Perhaps most unexpectedly from a mainstay specialty store brand like this, though, is the addition of an edgy high-tech element.

Crocco points out that the product has been updated in the last six months or so with some subtle evolution of the silhouette and collar, and with a commitment to using better European fabrics. (The in-store shirt assortment ranges from $175 to $195 retail.) “We still stick with classic patterns to offer something that is understandable. The collection is still primarily known as a sport shirt brand, but we also have a very loyal customer for our knit program, especially on our own website. Our tech pique quarter zips, Pima pique polos, jerseys, and T-shirts don’t have logos and are super comfortable: These guys fall in love with the product and then buy it in every color. They’ll buy 10 of them and it becomes their uniform. We still do the bulk of the business with specialty stores. We’ve had a terrific reaction to our spring ’23 offering and think that they appreciate that we’ve moved the brand forward a little.

“For my entire career, people have been touting the demise of the specialty store. And yet it’s the department stores that are most challenged right now. Specialty stores have done a terrific job over the last few years of evolving their product selection and updating and renovating the stores themselves. You’ll see brands there that you won’t see everywhere else, so they are really at the forefront of what’s new and relevant in menswear. Our specialty stores have told us that they had the best spring season they’ve ever had! People are feeling really good about fall. Cautious! But good. Regardless of the media reporting an economic downturn, specialty stores are not feeling it yet.”

Formcut’s Andre D’Elia and Scott Barber’s Jarrett Reicher demonstrated MTM technology at a recent trade show.

Beyond updating and refining the product, the Scott Barber team is also embracing the future, partnering with a company called Formcut. Utilizing the latest iteration of body scanning, the technology allows the brand to partner with specialty stores to offer a Scott Barber-branded made-to-measure program. There’s no need for a trained salesperson or tailor to take the measurements: The person stands in front of what is basically an iPad, and in ten seconds, the device takes 249 precise measurements. The sales associate can then work with the customer to select fabrics, collars, pockets, embroidery, buttons, etc., and complete the sale through the store’s own POS system. The data is then transmitted directly to the factory in Vietnam that specializes in small quantities. A pattern is cut for the customer, who receives his shirt within 10 to 12 days. The store can then easily make reorders for the customer in other fabrics, etc.

While there is a nominal monthly subscription for the technology platform (“We don’t want to quote an exact figure at this time”) Crocco assures us that it’s a small enough amount that it should be made up for by sales in no time. The shirts will range from $195 to $275 at retail, depending on the fabric and details chosen.

“Right now, we’re asking for a one-year commitment because the technology is evolving so quickly. After this initial launch, there are plans to get into other categories like custom knitwear, trousers, tuxedos, and outerwear.”

Crocco says that dozens of people have tested the tech and received perfectly fitting shirts. “We have 50 stores already signed up, with serious interest from about 50 more. But we’re still in market! We’ll also be visiting roughly 30 more stores on the road next month (those who couldn’t make it to the shows).”

Sounds like the Scott Barber team’s plans for the future are made-to-measure for men’s specialty stores. For more information, contact Jarrett Reicher.