Talking Shop: An Interview with WITTMORE's Paul C. Witt
By Geoffrey Brown
On September 6th, 2012 a new online menswear boutique was introduced, called WITTMORE. CEO Paul C. Witt says, “There’s a vital group of guys that are under-served, who appreciate smart, high quality design that is approachable, well-valued, and not found everywhere.” This new online store will fill the void for people looking unique products that not only fashion but appreciate it. Here, we catch up with the site's creator.
OUT: What's the story behind the brands you carry on your site?
Paul C. Witt: Well, it's been a year-and-a-half process. I went out to market for Fall/Winter 2012 season. I wanted to build a core collection of brands that were doing an amazing job, and that are staples. I looked at everything from Levis Vintage Clothing and Gant Rugger to slightly newer brands. Some people will already know what they are and we'll be introducing the brands to some people. The ultimate goal of the site is to appeal to guys in the age range of 20-to-50.
What does this site mean to you?
Personally, I have been in the business services, PR, and branding side of the industry, and ever since I started this business I have wanted my own retail business. When I started this project, I had been consulting since 2008. It's now time to put all of my energy and efforts into this project. I'm into mid-century modern furniture and modern art and I've tried to blend this all into the site.
How did you get started in this business?
I went to school of Visual Arts in NYC. In the '90s I worked in a store called Antique Boutique. I was doing window displays and I knew I liked business and I was studying graphic design. Diesel found me there and hired me to do visual merchandising. It all happened organically. Determination helps.
What was your inspiration behind this shopping site?
For me, it's about what would be intriguing for a guy, and what would set me apart. I really like my surroundings, I collect a lot of art, Kaws for example, and I have a lot of things that inspire me. I want to make the experience easy for the customer.
What sets your site apart from other ones?
I am a much smaller retailer; I was inspired by the fun things happening in menswear. No matter what their profession or where they are in life they all care about what they look like. We carry more niche brands that are a lot harder to find. There are a lot of smaller retailers doing a great job. We want to be carrying something different than the rest.
What is your favorite thing about your site?
I love the whole process. First and foremost is the homepage, for the imagery to keep evolving. Also, accessories, which is an area that will get more amped up once we move along. It can include bags, shoes, ties, and leather goods. A lot of retailers don't invest in this area and I will be introducing new things and the point of view and different from everyone else.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I'd like to be adding more brands, though lifestyle objects not related to clothing. Also, I'd like more content coming from the blog. The goal is definitely to build the website and also a brand. I want for people can come in and understand your environment. In the long term we'll be developing WITTMORE beyond the Internet, there must be a brick-and-mortar space for WITTMORE.