While its “official” opening won’t be until December 12, the new men’s store Seven Points in downtown LA’s fashion district has been operating since its soft launch on October 14, 2013. A new retail arm of the successful multibrand wholesale Park Showroom, the store occupies 1,000 sq. feet [93 sq. meters] in the front of the showroom’s stunning open-plan space, which can also host special events thanks to moveable walls and furniture. It is on the ground floor of floor of The Lady Liberty Building and takes its name from the seven points on the Statue of Liberty’s crown. Its motto is: “Progressive attire for the modern gentleman.” Here, co-owners Eric Martin and Adam Redhead discuss their nascent store’s immediate success, its street-meets-contemporary assortment, the coffee bar they are opening soon as a part of it and why its downtown location is destined to be the city’s next hotspot. Interview by Christopher Blomquist

Your store is young but The Park Showroom is not. What is the history and background?
Eric Martin: About six years ago we were the first showroom in the Lady Liberty Building. We resided on the fourth floor and we moved down here in February of this year. The idea was to move into a bigger space to further promote the showroom. That was the initial intent. When we first came in here it looked like the suit store next door where they had dropped ceilings that were about 9.5 feet high and a complete 1970s-style makeover. When we started looking around we discovered that the ceilings went up to 20 feet and we realized that the space could be much greater than it had been presented. So we exposed all the brick and we exposed all the retro-fit. Where there wasn’t exposed brick we put up all the reclaimed wood and redid the second floor. We’ve always wanted to start a store and we were looking at other places and then we said, “Why don’t we just do it in the front of our showroom? We can represent the brands that we represent and merchandise them the way our brands would like to see their stuff merchandised–laying it out as a collection as opposed to just by items. Then we came up with the concept of “Why don’t we drive traffic with a full bar?”
Seven Points
Seven Points

So a bar is coming too?
EM: Instead of a full bar we converted that to a coffee shop pretty quickly because we wanted to get regular traffic and the hassle of owning a bar is more trouble that I wanted to deal with. So we put up roll-up garage doors so that it was more accessible and inviting and we put up the market lighting. Once the coffee shop is open people will have multiple reasons to come into the store. If they come in for a coffee they will go shopping. If they go shopping they will come grab a coffee or a pastry. That was the reason for the concept of having multiple reasons to come into Seven Points.

Are there any other stores like Seven Points in the immediate area?
EM: There is nothing like this downtown and I think this is the first venture of its kind where it is a wholesale backed business. As far as coffee shops and that kind of combination there are stores that have coffee shops. Fred Segal has a coffee shop. But I think our concept overall of a pure event space or the capability to make it an event space combined with a coffee shop/store is unique in itself.

What type of customer are you trying to attract?
Adam Redhead: One of the other reasons I think this was such a great idea was the timing and the boon that is going on in downtown LA. The Seven Points customer is the downtown LA guy. Our brands in here range from street to contemporary so whether it’s the guys in the underground music scene or whether it’s the guys in the banking district that need a suit and a bow tie that has a little bit more of a fashion element to it, those are our guys.
EM: To add to that, The Ace Hotel is opening two blocks away in December and it is confirmed that there is a pool on the roof. It’s one of the more popular and affluent hotels to stay in in all the major cities.  So that is going to be massive for downtown. Also Acne Jeans is opening up, Whole Foods is also opening along with Zara and Urban Outfitters. So this is the time to get in. We were definitely early in terms of the full traffic but downtown has become the new hip, cool spot to go so although we are targeting the young and affluent from downtown our focus is also to become such a quality and appealing store that we become a destination location.

What is the store concept when it comes to merchandise, etc.?
EM: It’s street meets contemporary for a kind of reflection of the tenants of downtown. Anyone who lives downtown seems to be a little bit more of a fashion character and braver for living downtown. He enjoys the nightlife and enjoys the city life. So we wanted to carry and element of street plus premium and contemporary to cover all of our bases.
Seven Points in LA, USA
Seven Points in LA, USA

What are your bestselling brands thus far?
AR: Zanerobe. JACHS and Goorin are a close second but Zanerobe is on fire. While we do showcase the brands in a certain format it’s curated specifically for that downtown LA guy. We were smart about that. We make sure that when we buy we are buying for our customer on the street and not just for the best assortment for the brands. It had to be a curated, well put together presentation specifically for that downtown LA guy.

Does the store stock brands that are not in the showroom?
EM: Yes.  We still haven’t done our official launch so we don’t have some of the brands that we will be carrying. We don’t have Scotch & Soda yet, which will be coming in for holiday and we don’t even have the best selection of the brands that we currently carry because we are not fully open and we had to go with what people had in stock. We basically went to war with what we had but we will have a fully stocked and a little more dissected version of what you see now by holiday.

Have either of you worked in retail before?
EM: The short answer is no. My only experience is that I worked at a surf shop for a month and a half in Boulder, Colorado and there weren’t a whole lot of people shopping for surf gear in Boulder.
AR: I worked at Best Buy [electronics store] for a year when I was about 19. I was selling digital cameras and camcorders. So clothing retail? No. But I think that being on the wholesale side that we have a really good understanding of what it takes to drive business and how the presentation can be put together to do that. Now, we’re not so naïve to think that we know it all but we are pretty open. And I think that it has created some really cool and unique ideas because we were thinking outside the box and because we weren’t so pigeonholed into doing this for 30 years. We are coming up with some pretty fresh ideas that I haven’t seen before.

It has been a short time, but what have you learned about retail thus far?
AR: Inventory is everything. Inventory controlling is everything. That was one element that we learned quickly.
EM: Selling is very similar to wholesale and since we visit so many stores and have that kind of experience but what goes into ordering product, receiving the boxes, inventorying the product, uploading it to the system and then merchandising–those are new elements that we didn’t anticipate would require as much as time and effort.
Seven Points
Seven Points

How are you attracting customers?
E: Well, we haven’t done our full all-systems-go marketing yet but we are starting with parties and we do have a substantial Twitter and Instagram following. But we still haven’t really let people know. We’ve had a soft opening and have been telling our friends and what not but we will soon let people know that we are opening with a full launch. We’ll be taking out ads in a couple of magazines. We also have all of our “ambassadors” in the fashion industry for 14 years combined. All of our friends will tell their friends so I think word-of-mouth is going to happen pretty quick. Plus we are planning to connect with all the hotels, concierges, barber shops and salons and anybody in the service industry like restaurants, restaurant workers and owners of restaurants. I think that once they see our assortment that they will be return customers pretty quick.

And you just stock menswear?
AR: Well, for now. Once again, we are not so naïve to think that we can do everything. Womenswear, especially for me personally, is a different world. I don’t know it. I can do men’s really well but women’s is a scary animal. The route that we are taking is that we definitely do want get into women’s but that will be when we can get this thing stable enough and bring on a women’s buyer. Maybe in 12 to 18 months but that’s just kind of a rough guesstimate at this point.

What current menswear trend are you promoting at the store?
EM: I think we are right on point with what is happening in the marketplace. What happened is that there is no more urban. It has all become sort of street. But street meets hipster meets the premium contemporary so now it is all combined. The guy who used to wear urban is now wearing what the hipster is wearing and it’s all melting into kind of one. So it’s really good for retail if all worlds collide.
AR: There is so much crossover between those two worlds and it is just getting more and more blended. So we tried to jump ahead of that and I think that in downtown LA it is happening really fast. It’s happening here faster than I’ve seen it happen in other places so it could be putting LA on the map as far as fashion is concerned.

How important is the store’s décor?
EM: We wanted it to have an open feeling so we came up with the concept of the see-through grated walls. Also, if anyone comes into the coffee shop the store hours are going to be from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. so if the store is not open they will be able to look in and drive their curiosity. It also gives more of an open space. It’s only about 1,000 sq. feet [93 sq. meters] so that’s important.
AR: And I think for me personally I pay attention and see what the garment business was in the 1920s or ’30s. It was a very gentlemanly classic approach. We wanted to have elements of that and I think that from some of the signage to the couch to the service that we provide when a customer walks in, we want to bring back that gentlemanly environment. When you walk into a gentleman’s traditional store their approach to you and the way that they take care of you in that store is different from the service that most men get elsewhere. We wanted to have that here.
View inside the store
View inside the store

What is your price range?
AR: We are definitely at a spot that is more than reasonable for the product that you are getting. It’s quality products at reasonable prices. We have wovens in here that range from $69 to $130.
EM: Lowest price point is a T-shirt for $35 but the average is $90 to $700 for bulk items.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
EM: I think we really haven’t faced that yet. We have had consistent traffic.  I think that once it is open that maintaining a consistent marketing effort will be the biggest challenge. But so far word-of-mouth and the overall look and feel of the store has made things pretty easy.

Will be launching an online shop as well?
EM: That’s going to be a whole new ballgame. It’s just about ready to go and should be up and running 100% by December 1.

Store's address:
Seven Points
845 S. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA, USA
+1 213 223 2700