Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • Due North, Vol. 3 by Kyle Rancourt

    Photos Courtesy of NorthernGrade

    Original content published on Well Spent


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    One could say that the American menswear pop-up market is the #menswear anti-hero. No models, no runways, very few photographers and no nonsense. Just people who make things talking about their goods, demonstrating how they're made, and selling them directly to the people who share their passion.

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    If you don't live in a major U.S. city there is a good chance you've never been to an event of this sort, so I'll give you a quick rundown. A collection of brands and stores are chosen or volunteer to meet in a place. The brands are usually smaller, independent ones, and the stores usually stock mostly, if not all, US-made goods. The place is usually one with character and an absence of bright fluorescent lights. The vendors pay a small fee for their spot, and the privilege to sell their products at the venue, and they set-up "booths" to sell their handmade / American-made / vintage products directly to you, the consumer.

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    This may sound familiar, often people relate a pop-up market to a trade show or even a flea market. But, the pop-up is actually a relatively new idea, and a unique one that's very important to small brands and companies. Trade shows, especially menswear trade shows, are expensive, pretentious affairs packed with brands from wall to wall in a giant warehouse or convention center. Since the general public is not allowed to attend, we, as vendors, are relegated to communicating with sometimes jaded buyers from "big retail". Buyers rarely have the passion and knowledge that consumers have, leaving us as vendors feeling generally uninspired.

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    The pop-up market is free and open to everyone, the collection of brands/stores is generally small so that no one gets lost in the shuffle, and as a vendor we have the opportunity to speak directly to the people who are using our products. It is a rare opportunity to speak face-to-face with the people who support us and have a passion for the things we make. To top it off, vendors bring along stock so that attendees can walk out with shopping bags full of their favorite goods. Unlike a flea market, where anyone who pays for a table can sell their goods, the pop-up market is usually curated to select the best and brightest brands of the city/region hosting the market.

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    As a small brand with a small wholesale footprint, pop-up markets in San Francisco, Boston, and Minneapolis have given Rancourt & Co. priceless exposure in areas where we are underrepresented or not represented at all. Our business plan does not include brick and mortar stores, so for many of our supporters e-commerce is the only option for purchasing our products. While we do the best we can on the web, nothing can replace those face-to-face interactions and experiencing the product in-person before making the decision to buy.

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    As an attendee at a pop-up market, you'll have access to great food and drink, sometimes for free. Live music and/or DJ's are a regular occurrence. Many brands offer special discounts or exclusive products at each pop-up market, and you can count on discovering a brand you've never heard of making beautiful things.

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    My favorite aspect of pop-up markets, aside from meeting passionate customers, is the friendship and camaraderie developed between like-minded vendors. Most of the vendors at these events are fiercely devoted to making high quality goods in the United States. Each market also works as a networking platform for small brands and companies to help and support each other in various ways. I've personally developed a handful of new business and personal relationships through pop-up markets.

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    American pop-up markets are a sign of the times. As our culture begins to shift away from consuming mass-produced foreign goods, pop-up markets will grow in popularity. They are becoming a symbol of America's desire to connect with the people and things that we buy.

  • For all you "spectators" out there

    The spectator shoe has been around for generations, developed for relaxing in the summer breeze while taking in your favorite sporting event, be it a cricket match, the Kentucky Derby, or a local slow-pitch softball game. Our twist on the classic spectator matches our pinch penny loafers in beautiful golden tan mimosa calf with a white calfskin plug, or for a more understated look, chocolate mimosa calfskin with a bitter chocolate suede plug. The Italian calfskin uppers are antiqued and burnished by hand and fully lined with soft calfskin leather lining. Pair these with chinos or linen pants to class up your next weekend outing. Shop the Pierce Loafer.  Also, look for the matching tan mimosa calf belt and dark brown mimosa calf belt

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  • New Locally Grown pop-up shop opens in Des Moines

    Our good friend Fred Scott at Locally Grown clothing company in Des Moines, Iowa is opening a made in USA pop-up shop. Lucky you, Des Moines.

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  • NorthernGrade San Francisco

    We were fortunate enough to take part in the inaugural NorthernGrade SF on June 1st. The first few hours of the event were great, new customers were there to buy shoes. While traffic slowed a bit in the afternoon we still enjoyed meeting some new and some current customers of Rancourt & Co.

    We also never complain about an opportunity to throw back a few drinks with our fellow American-made compatriots. Thanks to those that came out to see us and we look forward to returning next year.

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