Our retailer of the week is a real freshman. Menswear specialist h.hardy has just opened its doors this month on the main street of Frankfurt’s popular Sachsenhausen district, close to the river Main. The shop offers a diverse mix of fashion and accessories by international brands like Barbour, Drykorn, Scotch & Soda, Murphy & Nye, Mason’s or Frye. We talked to shop owner, Hardy Steidl, about upcoming trends, the perfect assortment and what makes a retail store unique in today’s monotone city centers. Interview by Maria Hunstig

Which are the current bestseller labels and pieces?
During the last days, Barbour jackets and suits/jackets by Tiger of Sweden sold very well. Barbour embodies a good mixture of tradition and fashion whilst Tiger of Sweden scores with a good fit and up-to-date silhouettes.

Which denim labels work best?
We have recently introduced Italian brand Jacob Cohen in the denim division – despite its upper price level, the label’s pairs of jeans have already attracted great attention, especially by their thoughtful details.

Do your customers rather buy individual pieces or complete looks?

Personal and intensive customer service aims at inspiring customers and encouraging them to purchase several pieces or complete looks. This is why our assortment additionally includes shoes (e.g. by Floris van Bommel or Frye) and matching underwear (Schiesser Revival). Especially male customers are very convenient and do not want to put together their wardrobe in several different stores. 
h.hardy shoe collection
h.hardy shoe collection

Where do you buy your products? Where do you get inspired?
We get inspiration and information on trade fairs like Bread & Butter/Premium in Berlin or Pitti Uomo in Florence. After that, we do our purchasing in different showrooms in Düsseldorf or the Rhine/Main area.

What is the most important piece of clothing for summer 2012?
I expect new colors and shapes to be released within the important product groups of trousers and chinos in summer 2012.

Which are the important trends/product groups for summer 2012?

Innovatively cut men's shirts (e.g. with 3/4 long sleeves) or pants in moderate low crotch shapes will bring new impulses to their respective segments.

Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
Of course we are always seeking to fit our assortment to the demands and wishes of our customers. Therefore, we will boost our suits division a bit in the future. For spring/summer 2012 we have added Lacoste Live as well as Italian shoe brand Moma to our portfolio. These brands are going to match our customers’ taste very well!

Tell us something about your most interesting labels.
Barbour is a very interesting label. Due to the brand's history and the attention it pays to details in the manufacturing process, there is always a lot to tell customers about Barbour products. Especially for men, functionality plays an important role.
h.hardy interior
h.hardy interior

Why does your store stand out from others?
The retail scenery has generally become boring for consumers as it is dominated by flagship stores and retail chains. A personal approach has to be found elsewhere.
Our store shall bring new excitement to our customers. Here, they receive personal service and advice in a relaxed and individual atmosphere. As the shop is located close to the residence of many of our clients, they do not have go to the hectic city to shop. Moreover, the selection and combination of different brands appears a lot more interesting than a monolabel store. At h.hardy, customers are personally noticed and appreciated.

h.hardy exterior
h.hardy exterior
What do you like about your location and your customers?
Frankfurt’s district Sachsenhausen - and especially the Schweizer Straße – has a certain flair. Thanks to the healthy retail mix here, consumers can enjoy shopping and find all important goods in their near surroundings. Also the buying power is above average in this area.

How important is the interior/ the store’s atmosphere?

A store’s positive atmosphere is certainly decisive for its economic success and has to clearly distinguish itself from established retail chains. The interior has to be unique and reflect the shop’s individuality.

In your opinion, towards which direction is the purchase behavior going? Rather classics or a more individual/special style?
Our customers are looking for the mixture – one cannot operate a profitable business by selling only classics! Consumers are attracted by something special and unique, and also classics definitely need new exciting details.

Are there plans for an online shop?
We understand our business model as the opposite of online shopping, that’s why we do not plan on using this sales channel.

Is there a role model of a store that inspires you?
A true role model for h.hardy does not exist. However, we were inspired to some extent by stores in Berlin like 14 oz. at Hackesche Höfe.