Three years after opening its doors on the fringes of Hamilton, menswear store MenCo has relocated to a city centre spot.
There has been no looking back for business owner Janika Fields, who started out with only a single a rack of clothing and now has her shop in the heart of the city.
The move has brought increased visibility with shoppers and attracted new customers. It is a step up for the business and is an advancement Ms Fields had not expected to happen so quickly.
“Everyone wants to be in the heart of the city for retail. When I got the opportunity I took it. I went on faith, hope and hard work,” she said.
MenCo now occupies a retail unit on Burnaby Street, opposite DHL and beneath Jackson School of Performing Arts. The unit was previously a dive equipment shop.
Ms Fields was walking past the dive shop last year and noticed it was having a major sale. She went inside and enquired if it was a stock clearance sale or a closing down sale. When she learnt that the shop was closing she asked for the details of the landlord. That led to her snapping up the spot for her business, which at the time was on the corner of King Street and Reid Street.
MenCo closed for two months as it went through the process of relocating. Ms Fields, who has a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in the US, used her creative skills to design and co-ordinate the look and aesthetic of the store.
Since moving into the centre of Hamilton, Ms Fields said she had noticed a wider spread of clientele at the shop, including office workers and business people.
The shop has also expanded its range of products, from menswear, such as shirts, trousers, and jackets to gift ideas. One section features men’s facial products. The vegan range includes face wash, beard conditioners and balms, oils and other grooming accessories. There are also leather-cleaning kits suitable for boots, bags and other items, and there are soy-based aromatic candles geared to male tastes.
Ms Fields said: “We try to find unique-looking things.”
The clothing ranges from smart casual to urban streetware, from button-down slimfit shirts all the way to 6X size. Coming soon is a selection of clothing for taller men.
MenCo only stocks a limited quantity of each item in order to give them an exclusive feel; this has been part of the businesses’ philosophy since the beginning.
Ms Fields pointed to a range of gifts and accessories, including watches — some with wooden straps — bow ties, miniature desk clocks, letter openers and pen sets and said: “We look for things that are interesting, unique and one of a kind. These are gift ideas for guys. We bring in different kinds of gifts and we try not to repeat them, which keeps us unique and different.”
Ms Fields’s time is split between working at the shop and with ConnecTech, the Hamilton-based technology incubator.
Reflecting on her more than three years as a shop owner, Ms Fields said: “Each day I’m learning something new about the business and the clientele. As an entrepreneur that’s what you sign up for. A solid support system to keep me going and I’ve got good staff.”
She said she is now more enthusiastic for the business than when she started in late 2014.
“I started out with one rack of clothing and it has grown. When I started I would not have thought I’d end up in the centre of town. Every day I give thanks.”
MenCo is on Instagram at mencobda, and a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Mencobda/