Archives: Featured Company

Featured Company – The Bespoke Pedaler

Recently, we caught up with a very cool retail shop in Denver – The Bespoke Pedaler. They specialize in offering very distinctive urban cycling apparel, footwear and gear. And a quick tour of their beautifully designed shop on Platte Street will convince you that what they offer is indeed very unique to the area.

I sat down with owners Emily Hogle and Rick Evans to learn more about the shop.

[Ryan] So, the two of you have non-retail backgrounds. Can you tell us a bit about how you two made the leap to opening a retail shop?

[Emily] Right, Rick is an architect by trade and I am an interior designer. We’ve both spent the better part of our careers specializing in resort and hotel design so it may seem like a leap. However a number of experiences between us led to and inspired the concept of The Bespoke Pedaler. Namely, we both have a vibrant history with bikes and share a love for bicycling and all the social and technical qualities that surround it.

Secondarily came the unshakeable desire to experience humanity and the power of connecting with people in a very direct way every day. The bicycling culture has this quality – it is a very social and human activity. Bikes are human powered of course.

Finally and more practically we realized that bike shops focus on the bike more than the rider. Apparel, footwear, and other accessories for the bicyclist are secondary and often tertiary to bike sales and service. People love to create their own expression of themselves through fashion. People love to feel safe and protected with their gear. Particularly in Colorado – we love our performance wear. So we endeavored to curate a collection of technically refined lifestyle wear that seamlessly transitions to all activities in life. Whether that is biking, walking, hiking, traveling, dining, working, presenting, wandering…

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Are there a lot of people cycling to the office these days? Any notion of what the average commuting distance is?

There are many more people cycling now than ever before, however, it is still a small percentage relative to the number of people who commute in cars. According to a 2013 report from Bicycle Colorado, there are approx. 11% fewer cars on the road annually across the state and the number of everyday bicycle commuters are up 57%. That’s pretty significant and is worthy of trendsetter status among other states. Denver is 6th among US Cities for bike commuting according to the US Census.

There has also been a lot of recent discussion about younger generations and the “future workforce” being far less inclined to own a vehicle than previous generations. The average bike commute according to the Downtown Denver Partnership Commuter Study in 2012 was 4 miles. That is likely still the same or similar.

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Any tips for guys that would like to cycle to work, but think that they will be stuck wearing clothes that clearly aren’t ‘business casual?’

The notion of high-style, high-performance lifestyle wear is still relatively new both for the consumer and the fashion industry so it’s easy to think that this type of apparel is really just another version of Patagonia or that it has a more urban edge like Chrome. However, there are a few particular brands that are focused on truly supporting the business casual commuter and we offer those brands, among others. Blazers, trousers, dress shirts and dress shoes are all available in our shop. One might also include fabrics in the wardrobe that are naturally breathable, temperature regulating, fast drying and/or anti-bacterial such as merino wool, tencel and bamboo. These natural materials are prevalent in technically refined lifestyle wear for their beautiful look and feel and they provide properties that outerwear companies have been trying to replicate synthetically for years.

What challenges have you encountered in opening a retail store and what have you done to overcome them?

In opening a retail store, we have been challenged with realizing that the vision of the bike apparel industry or even our own vision for our shop is not necessarily perfectly synced with the collective attitude of the city of Denver just yet. As such, we were immediately tasked with listening, observing, and dynamically evolving to resonate as clearly as possible with the people of Denver.

The concept of bicycling as a lifestyle is huge in Europe and very new in the US, although much bigger in coastal cities. Ultimately for us, this is about the people. So our number one job is to listen to what they want and marry that with the products available in the market and our hope to contribute to a more bike-able world. And when we don’t see what people want out there, we want to push for it.

Let’s say I have a 9 mile commute to the office on my bike – how can I stay dry during the ride and not walk into the office looking like I just finished a workout?

Staying dry is a balance between the right equipment, the right pace and the right apparel. It’s hard to tell the agro commuter that he will stay dry on his 9 mile ride when he likes to push 15-20 miles an hour and make it a workout. But for the daily commuter, a bike that supports commuting (not racing) is ideal because it will most likely have a slightly more upright positioning which keeps the body more comfortable.

A few dry runs on the weekend might be helpful because you can select a pace, time it, and gauge the “sweat factor”. It’s important to remember that bike commuting is not necessarily about saving time (although a majority of the time it is faster than driving). It is about a human powered existence. Movement = breath = energy = health.

Finally, the right apparel – it does take some dialing in because we are all different, but the goal is breathability, wicking/fast drying and temperature regulation. In general, merino wool is the most superior fabric for these criteria. It can be expensive, but it has been used for nearly a century as cycling performance material and it is rarely rivaled, which is why many brands are placing a lot of effort on developing merino collections. Merino regulates body temperature by keeping you cool or warm depending on your needs. It is naturally anti-bacterial. It is fast drying and wicking so it pulls the sweat away from your skin and allows it to evaporate quickly. You can also select products that might support your specific “Sweat needs”. For example if you tend to sweat a lot under your arms, then a jacket with pit vents would be a good choice.

What’s the coolest product in your store this fall? Does it look like typical cycling attire?

For men the coolest product we have right now is the Down Shirt by Nau. This is a sustainably designed and constructed water resistant snap front shirt jacket with 800 fill goose down insulation. This very fine quality insulation is incredibly lightweight, breathable and of course insular. The lack of bulk makes this piece an amazing layer for under a shell in wet weather or over a sweater or button down in the office. The discreet and fitted profile appeals to the tailored refinement of a professional and the construction of the jacket is high performing for the Colorado outdoor lover.

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From those of us at BE, keep up the great work Emily and Rick!

Also, we have been collaborating with The Bespoke Pedaler on a BE custom shirt – designed with the urban cyclist in mind – stay tuned…

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The Bespoke Pedaler is located in Denver.

Visit them at 1550 Platte Street Unit A.

info@thebespokepedaler.cc

Featured Company – Armitage & McMillan

There seems to be a growing menswear trend in the Denver area.

A handful of small shops have opened within the past couple of years and they are proving to have some very unique offerings. Those of us in the BE crew are particularly excited about Armitage & McMillan – a well-curated menswear store, located in the LoHi neighborhood on Platte St.

I sat down with Daniel Armitage recently and asked him a few questions.

1.     So, you and your business partner Darin have some impressive backgrounds in menswear. How did you end up in Denver?

Thanks. We are both originally from Oklahoma. Darin moved to Denver from OK in 2002 to get a music business degree from CU Denver. Somewhere along the way he started working with a guy who bought and sold vintage ski gear. Darin wanted to split off on his own, selling other vintage pieces besides just ski and snowboard gear, so I came out to Denver and we partnered up to start our own vintage wholesale business. That eventually led us into the rest of the menswear world.

2.     How would you describe the style in your store? 

As far as the aesthetic of the space goes, I think it’s a bit of old meets new, vintage and rustic yet clean and modern as well. We wanted it to feel like a warm and comfortable space, masculine without being too manly and warm without being too dark.

 

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As for the style of the clothing, we try to stick to pretty straightforward and classic menswear.

3.     Do you think that men are more interested in style today than they were 10 years ago?

I would say that the average guy is at least more aware of style. There’s a new generation of guys that have grown up with the Internet and are following men’s fashion blogs and browsing Tumblr so they are more aware of stylish trends happening around the world. I think this has a lot of guys feeling like they need to step it up a little in terms of style.

4.     Opening a retail store is a huge undertaking. What has been your biggest lesson learned?

I learned that no matter how much money you start with, you’re going to need more. Ha.  And as a new retail business, you can’t skimp on the advertising budget. 

 

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5.     What do you think the Denver menswear scene will be like in the near future? Is it growing?

I think the Denver menswear scene is absolutely growing. A few great new shops all popped up at about the same time, that’s no accident. There are some younger guys starting very cool brands out of Denver as well and some of the more established local brands, like Topo Designs and Jiberish, are incorporating some great, classic menswear.

I see all of the Denver shops and makers coming full-circle, complimenting each other to make a cohesive scene in Denver.

 

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The details

You can visit Daniel and Darin online or in their store located at 1550 Platte St, Suite D, Denver, CO, 80202. 

Some of the brands A&M stocks include Unis New York, Steven Alan, Save Khaki, Saturdays Surf NYC, Mt. Rainier, BillyKirk, Centre Commercial Shoes, Epperson Mountaineering, FairEnds and The Hill-Side.

By Ryan Wagner

Have you been to A&M? Let us know how your experience was in the comments below!

Featured company: Little White Dress Bridal Shop

At The Bespoke Edge our goal has always been to help guys look their best. So it’s a very special privilege when we are given the opportunity to build a custom suit for a groom. It means that a guy really trusts BE to deliver an amazing product.

This got us thinking. What about the brides? If grooms are out looking for an awesome 3-piece suit then the ladies are undoubtedly searching high and low for just the right bridal shop, right? With the 2014 wedding season approaching, we thought we’d start the year off by interviewing the wonderful ladies over at Denver’s finest bridal shop – the ultra-friendly and ever fashionable, Little White Dress Bridal Shop. They are located in historic Highlands Square just north of downtown. All the best things in Denver seem to be popping up in this neighborhood and the LWD bridal shop is certainly worthy of its address.

The shop has earned a long list of awards since their doors first opened in addition to enviable reviews on Google. When you get to know owner Cate Malone and her daughter Kelly you come to understand why so many people think so highly of their business.

Bottom line: The Little White Dress Bridal Shop is an awesome resource for any newly engaged couple and certainly worth a visit. It is for their commitment to customer satisfaction that BE is proud to feature the shop for the month of January.

Kelly took time out of her busy schedule to tell us a little about the shop:

[Bespoke Edge] Kelly, thanks for taking the time to tell us about The Little White Dress Bridal Shop. Let’s begin with an obvious question: How did you and your mother get into the business in the first place?

[Kelly] I certainly cannot take any credit for starting the business, as it was entirely my mother who built Little White Dress out of her lifelong passion for weddings and bridal fashion. When she was planning her own wedding in 2006 she realized that Colorado was lacking a bridal shop with high quality designer gowns and with excellent service. After years of research, learning about the bridal industry, and all the work that goes into starting a business, she left her job in the corporate world and opened Little White Dress Bridal Shop in Castle Rock in 2008. In 2011 she decided to move the shop to the Highlands area of Denver. As her only daughter, I have always been an unofficial “adviser”, giving my opinion and helping her with some decisions for the business, and in 2013 I officially joined the business as Director of Marketing.

What is the most rewarding part about helping brides select their wedding dress?

Being a part of such a special time in a woman’s life and helping contribute to her happiness is always the most rewarding part. When brides choose their wedding dress it is often the first time they truly feel like a bride, and the dress is such an important ritual and symbol for so many women on their wedding day. We love seeing the look, the body language, and the reaction of every bride when she tries on THE dress!

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We have noticed a trend of men wearing a grey vested suit on their wedding day. From your perspective, what are the wedding fashion trends for both men and women?

For both men and women we see a true expression of individualism for their wedding day fashion. Most brides and grooms don’t want to veer too far from tradition, but special details like a unique sleeve or neckline, or the hair accessory, for example, can transform a dress into a wedding day look that represents her and no one else. For men we have noticed a similar attention to detail, from quirky cufflinks to the color or pattern of the tie, which can turn a more traditional suit into an individualized look.

The LWDB shop has had great success since first opening in 2008. What do you think is the one attribute above the rest that has provided LWDB the reputation as being one of the finest bridal shops in Denver?

The most important factor that has contributed to our success is that we always prioritize our brides above everything else. That holds true in everything we do, from the way a bride is greeted when she calls for an appointment, to the follow up after she purchases her gown, and even our location. After a few years in Castle Rock we knew that it would be much easier and more accessible for brides if we were located in Denver. So we moved the shop to Denver, and our success has grown so much, in many ways because of that decision.

Thoughts on the future? A second location perhaps?

For now we are so happy (and busy!) with our one location in the Highlands. Our aims at this point are to continue to be the leader in bridal fashion and service in Colorado and the region, and to be successful with the new designers we are bringing to Colorado in 2014 and beyond. The bridal fashion world is constantly changing and we are constantly evolving with it, while maintaining the high standard of the experience that brides have come to expect from Little White Dress Bridal Shop.