Retail Report: 3 Reasons Why We're Bringing Our Boyfriends to Bonobos
Originally conceived as an e-commerce shop, the online menswear retailer debuts its first So Cal brick-and-mortar showroom on L.A.'s La Brea Avenue.
Back in 2007, starting an e-commerce store was still a novelty. But Andy Dunn was tired of buying pants with "khaki diaper butt" (we'll let your imagination run with that one), and, well, he hated going shopping in stores. His solution? Dunn and business partner Brian Spaly decided to launch Bonobos, an online-driven menswear retailer that first offered well-tailored washed chino pants and has since expanded to casual shirts, dress shirts, swim trunks, suits and even tuxedos. Fast forward to 2014: The brand is opening its first flagship store in L.A. — or, as it's more formally known, Bonobos Guideshop (101 S. La Brea Ave.). But it's not your traditional shopping experience.
Inside the 1,500-square-foot space, designed by New York-based Space-4 Architectures, you'll find clothes, of course. But unlike a traditional boutique, you won't be walking out carrying your purchases — at least, not right away. Here, you try on your intended merch and order it through Bonobos.com onsite. With the brand's concept of creating a one-on-one shopping experience, which shifts the focus more to a customer's needs rather than the store's inventory, Bonobos is revolutionizing the way men are shopping in a physical space with a digital component.
What makes the Guideshop experience unique?
1. You get a personal style guide.
Bonobos offers each visitor to its brick-and-mortar a personal guide (or stylist) who will focus only on assisting that one customer throughout the whole in-store visit.
2. More time is spent on figuring out what you want.
Keeping in mind Bonobos' original idea of creating a hassle-free shopping adventure for men, the clothes are displayed in various colors and patterns, while different sizes are stored in the back. So instead of rummaging through stacks of what ends up being a pile of messy, unfolded clothes after being unable to find your size, the guide helps you with the sizing details in the fitting room so you can worry about choosing different hues or designs later.
3. Try now, order online and have it arrive at home.
And once that's settled, everything is ordered through Bonobos' website and shipped directly to your door. Even if a purchase isn't made right away, the guide will always provide a recap of what you've tried on and your sizing so you never have to wonder if you're a size 32 or 33 in pants again for future purchases.
Among of the label's most popular pieces are the washed chinos, which retail for $98 and come in several fits, including straight leg, slim and slim-tailored, and the gingham casual shirts, also offered in three fits, at $85 each. The brand also offers stretchy travel jeans ($98), premium denim ($145), golf pants ($108), slim blazers ($368), Italian wool suits ($890 to $920) and swim shorts ($65 to $150).
The La Brea outpost features a clean and modern look, yet offers a warm welcome with the wooden panels, sunset portraits and lounge area. A particularly cool furnishing is the custom sofa designed by local artist and furniture designer Stephen Kenn, who used the brand's navy garment-dyed chino fabric to upholster the couch.
As to why Dunn decided to open the Guideshop (the 10th one within the U.S.) on La Brea Avenue, as opposed to say, Melrose Avenue or Robertson Boulevard, Bonobos representative Kaitlyn Axelrod shares, "It's become our design team's favorite single shopping block in the world … seriously."
The Guideshop is situated on the same block as American Rag, Stussy, Undefeated, Steven Alan, What Goes Around Comes Around and General Quarters. Axelrod notes: "[They're] all incredible brands that we admire greatly. We jumped at the chance to join them on this block. The proximity to Sugarfish and Sycamore Kitchen, two of our favorite food stops, didn't hurt either." Dapper duds for the dude and dinner after? Done.
Guideshop La Brea officially opens its doors June 27, so go on and bring your man to do some weekend shopping, stat. Plus, if you mention The Hollywood Reporter in the notes section when you book an appointment here before July 13, you'll get a 20 percent discount. Enjoy.
Bonobos La Brea will be open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. An appointment, though not required, is recommended.