Un­tuckit’s big fu­ture

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LIFE - JOSEPH PISANI

NEW YORK — When Un­tuckit launched six years ago, it was hard to find a men’s shirt that could be worn un­tucked and didn’t look sloppy. Now the com­pany is fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from J. Crew, the Gap and other stores that have started to sell short­ened shirts.

But Un­tuckit is un­both­ered. “It ac­tu­ally helps us,” says co-founder Chris Ric­cobono, ex­plain­ing that it makes more men aware of the prob­lem, po­ten­tially cre­at­ing more cus­tomers.

Un­tuckit, which started as an on­line brand, will be set­ting up shop next to more J. Crews and Gaps. The New York com­pany will have 53 stores by year-end and plans to open 50 more next year, many of which will be in malls. The first Cana­dian store re­cently opened in Toronto, with more lo­ca­tions set to open across Canada. It is also ex­pand­ing its shirt se­lec­tion to fit more body types, like re­laxed fit for heav­ier men — or those who just want roomier shirts.

Ric­cobono, as well as Un­tuckit co-founder and CEO Aaron Sanan­dres, spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press re­cently about why it’s open­ing more stores and if the com­pany’s name lim­its its growth. The ques­tions and an­swers have been edited for clar­ity and length. Q: What’s wrong with just buy­ing a reg­u­lar shirt and wear­ing it un­tucked? SANAN­DRES: Shirts are not de­signed to be worn un­tucked. Shirt­tails are long. It looks sloppy, it looks bil­lowy and it’s cer­tainly not achiev­ing that thought­ful-yet­ca­sual type of look. Q: Can’t peo­ple just shorten their shirts at the tai­lor? SANAN­DRES: It never fits the way you want it to. When you shorten a shirt, it’s like ev­ery­thing on the shirt changes; the col­lar doesn’t fall the right way, the hem- line doesn’t look right. RIC­COBONO: I lost prob­a­bly 10 shirts try­ing that. I wouldn’t have launched Un­tuckit if I was able to solve that prob­lem. Q: Where should an un­tucked shirt fall? SANAN­DRES: Mid­dle of the fly with a lit­tle bit of the pant pocket ex­posed. It’s a more pol­ished look. Q: Why open stores? SANAN­DRES: A month into launch­ing we were get­ting emails from peo­ple say­ing, “Look, where can I find your shirts for sale?” And when you’re an e-com­merce brand, it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to es­tab­lish the same level of trust and re­la­tion­ship that you can when you trans­act face-to-face. Stores just add to brand ca­chet. RIC­COBONO: Our de­mo­graphic is very large, from 25- to 70-year-olds. Most older men, or even mid­dle-aged men, like to touch and feel the prod­uct. Q: How do you choose a lo­ca­tion to open a store? SANAN­DRES: We look at on­line sales, like where our cus­tomers are. We look at Google search, where we have strong search. And then from there we start to fo­cus in on the lo­ca­tion. Foot traf­fic is im­por­tant. Q: Does the name Un­tuckit limit you in the types of cloth­ing you can sell? SANAN­DRES: It’s more a way of life. It’s that feel­ing when you get home from work and you un­tuck your shirt; that five sec­onds of, like, “Ahh.” It’s cap­tur­ing that feel­ing. We have shorts, we have pants — we are a ca­sual cloth­ing com­pany that ex­tends well be­yond shirts.

SETH WENIG/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

UN­TUCKit founder Chris Ric­cobono, left, and CEO Aaron Sanan­dres pose for a pic­ture in one of their stores in New York.

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