Sid Mashburn: The Fabric Of A Philosophy

Sid Mashburn: The Fabric Of A Philosophy

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sidmashburn_3When Sid Mashburn and his wife, Ann, opened their eponymous store in Atlanta in 2007, they started with a tailor and one other associate in a 3,000-square-foot space. But as modest as the size of their staff and store was, their vision and philosophy was clear and larger than life.

“Our mission was and is to go far beyond clothes,” says Sid. “In the end it is about providing an enriching experience to someone’s life – that is how we serve our customers and aim to make an impact.”

We first sat down with Sid shortly after he opened his doors and have shared several conversations in Bearings since then; for this edition, we wanted to delve into the philosophy and wisdom behind his label:

On earning credibility:

“Ann and I both traveled a lot for work and were inspired by what we’d grown up with alongside retail in Europe and Asia. I have been in menswear for more than 30 years – high school, college, design posts at J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Lands’ End. Ann was on the editorial side of fashion at Condé Nast, followed by working as a stylist at J. Crew. I always had this mental inspirational board brewing since college, of all the things that I loved and wanted to put together in one place, then finally felt the time was right to go out on my own, to make it happen. It was, of course, a risk – a tremendous leap of faith – and it was a little terrifying, but we sensed it was right, and we felt like we’d earned the industry experience and wisdom necessary to pull it off.”

On focused inspiration:

“We wanted to create our idea of an old-line American specialty shop with products we designed alongside iconic brands that had stood the test of time. The ethos of the Sid Mashburn store is a bit old-school, English men’s club meets Italian tailoring shop, but with a fun, easy American spirit.”

On building a foundation:

“The typical man wants shopping to be as easy and efficient as possible, and he wants to leave feeling cool and taken care of. We’ve had the exact same sales approach today as we did on day one: find the coolest things to make, buy and share with everyone, in a space that’s cheerful, beautiful and fun to be in. A curated edit is something we pride ourselves on. We’re all about product, and while we work really hard on making and finding special things, our philosophy is all about narrowing down the product mix in a thoughtful way. One of our mottos is that you don’t need a lot of choices; you just need the right choices.”

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On establishing roots:

“Atlanta in itself was completely new to us – we had no ties to the city at all. But when we were deciding where to move our family and set up a business, Atlanta (which was completely Ann’s idea) was the one place we visited that just felt special. The people of this city were helpful and hopeful, and we knew it was where we were meant to be.”

On creating an experience:

“The personal mix of passion, product, that Italian tradition of thoughtful shopping and a certain dependence on the shopkeeper to guide and teach you – I felt the full expression of those elements was missing in the men’s market in the U.S. That was one of the main reasons Ann and I wanted to open a shop and not just design a namesake line: we really wanted to connect with people. We enjoy creating an experience where we get to share (product, music, drinks, stories, life) and take care of people. We loved experiencing that feeling so much that we knew we wanted to provide our own – to connect, share and edify.”

On serving:

“We take very seriously that our role is to serve; it’s an honor to serve – to ultimately help men navigate the uncertainty of their wardrobe choices and enhancing their lives. Whether it’s helping a man choose his wedding suit or trading music recommendations, we welcome customers into our ‘home.’ We want men to come to Sid Mashburn as a destination, and we strive to make the environment as inviting as possible. Have a drink, browse records, play a round of ping-pong. We are not just offering the perfect suit, socks or sweater; we are providing a sense of security, confidence and joy in the wearing of them. To help men to be properly dressed and properly served – that is most important to us and drives us to be better every day. Vestitum et sanae mentis (clothed and in his right mind).”

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