Laurent Segers opened his men's concept store Henri in Antwerp's Volkstraat at the end of March 2013. Following the idea of being "a lifestyle store for the business savvy men from Antwerp", Henri offers not only a clothing mix of suits, denim and casual apparel, but also many auxiliary things that make a man's life happier, ranging from bicycles to spirits, furniture or alarm clocks. Literally everything you see in the store is on sale - except for the staff. And if that doesn't satisfy your needs either, you can also complete a training in "how to deal with your mother-in-law" in the store. Interview by Maria Hunstig

Fashion and accessories on Henri's ground floor
Fashion and accessories on Henri's ground floor

Why did you open your store? Tell us the story behind it!
I travel a lot because of my professional activities. Everywhere I go, in cosmopolitan cities all over the world, I find a lack of men's stores designed by and for men.
That's why I decided to open a concept store for men according to the following principles:
  • Most men don't like to spend hours in the same shop, so we try to trigger them each step, each second. We want to have their attention from the moment they enter, until they are home and they open the bag with items from our shop.
  • Most men like to drink: we have a bar in our shop where we sell premium spirits, beer and juices, but all with a story. You can come and have a coffee while reading the latest men’s magazines.
  • Most men like sports: we have a large screen where they can watch sports.
  • Most men work during opening hours: we are open late during the week, and on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Our staff are trained to help a man so he feels comfortable and will not lose any of his precious time.
  • We have some items for women, so if a man comes to our store, has a few drinks and has bought some suits, he will not return empty-handed for his wife/girlfriend.
  • We organize private events in the shop for companies, groups of friends and for bachelor parties, etc. Events such as gin-tasting, or how to deal with your mother in law…
Henri's assortment ranges from denims to suits
Henri's assortment ranges from denims to suits
So, from the above principles, we have tried to create a unique experience. Not just another shop around the block. Everybody feels good. Happiness is created by special moments, we try to supply those moments.
The collection in the shop is quite large. We carry clothing, suits and casual wear, as well as gadgets. The most important thing is that everything is reasonably priced.
It’s a big collection, but it’s all ready to use and everything in the shop is for sale: all furniture, lights, etc. All the clothing, gadgets, even the glass that you use to drink your wine, beer or spirit…Only our staff are not for sale!

What are your current bestselling labels? What are your personal favourite brands?
Each week we have new items in the shop, so maybe I could answer this question each week. But for this week it would be a men’s bracelet based on a measure meter.

How important is the denim segment for your store?
We have 3 different denim brands: Seven, G-Star and Marc Newson (G-star). Denim will always be popular among men, so it is an important item in the store.

Do customers search for their favourite brands and special styles, or do they buy spontaneously?
Most of our customers buy spontaneously as they get triggered a lot in our shop by the items, design and by our staff. Everywhere they turn, smell or look, something new is there for them. So you could say that most of the items are bought spontaneously. But as for our own suit collection, most customers come with an idea of what they want.

Warehouse atmosphere in the basement
Warehouse atmosphere in the basement
Where do you order your products?
For the moment we buy all over the world, from Antwerp to the USA, from Amsterdam to Tokyo. We are currently searching for a supplier who is based on the moon, but no luck so far…

What do you think the key-pieces/trends will be for summer 2014?
Henri will decide and will let you know in 2015.

How do you stay in contact to your (regular) customers?
We contact our customers through a weekly newsletter, regular posts on social media and by inviting them for private events in-store.

What do you like about your location and your customers?
As we are located in the Southern part of the city, which is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in town, we attract lots of trendy people and tourists. We also attract shoppers who are looking for something else.

How does your store differ from similar stores in cities such as Berlin, London and New York?

I have not yet found a shop quite like ours. A men’s concept store where everything is for sale and you can have a drink at our bar or terrace.

Shopping clothing and furniture simultaneously
Shopping clothing and furniture simultaneously

Do you have an online shop? Do you run any social media activities?

The new website will be launched soon and will have a blog, online shop, music, news and sports updates. Everything a man desires…

Is there a role model for your shop? Any store – worldwide – which inspire you?
Not really one shop, but more a combination of lots of ideas which are bundled in one store…

Store's address:
Volkstraat 11
2000 Antwerp