One of the things I love about my school, FIDM in San Francisco, is the number of guest speakers that come to visit and talk about their business in the fashion, textile, and retail industries. A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Matt and his brother Mark of Handsome Oxford in San Francisco. Not only did I learn that we have mutual ties with previous Friday Feature, Dante Wright, but I was truly inspired by the passion that birthed the year-old store that offers American-made, vintage men's clothing. Just seeing the enthusiasm, love and passion for his store is so amazing to witness. That's a real entrepreneur right there! I even learned that most of the store's merchandise started from the owner's personal collection! Pretty awesome.
Keep scrolling for shots of the Handsome Oxford store, the team, and the merch. And most definitely check out the exclusive interview with Handsome Oxford owner, Matt.
Describe your personal style.
Frankly, I just wear a pair of Levi’s 501s, a plain tee and some beat sneakers most days. I’ve been keeping it really simple these past couple of years. I haven’t bought anything for myself!
How has style and fashion influenced your life?
I've always tried to read up on current fashion trends, designers, and etc. There are many brands I like; however, I never was too much of a consumer. I browse through blogs and magazines to see what I like and just store these images in my mind as inspirations. Now that I opened a shop, I recollect on these images and serve it as a platform on curating my store. Does that make sense?
All-time favorite brands?
The North Face.
Does your style translate into your merchandise in Handsome Oxford?
Yes. Everything I sell is something I’d personally wear. Everything I sell in the store is specifically handpicked by myself in hopes someone will love it as much as I do.
What inspired you to open Handsome Oxford?
I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I’ve always been inspired by entrepreneurship-turning your dreams into reality. You can see lots of broken dreams stored inside my mother’s garage, one endeavor to the next. I was saving money to either start a business or spend it all on traveling the world. But one random day, I was walking home and I stumbled upon an open commercial space. I applied for it, I got approved, I signed the lease, and boom!
American made and vintage men's apparel is pretty unique. What's the story?
Ever since High School I’ve been a huge pack rat. I collected all kinds of things new and vintage. I collected everything from street signs, restaurant menus, stickers, eyeglasses, shoes, clothes, etc. It wasn’t until I graduated that I realized most of these things I collected had a ton of value. In 2003, I remember selling 10 pairs of used Nikes on Ebay and made about $1400, then I took a trip to Hawaii.
It was about 3 years ago when I was digging through my collection that I noticed the majority of it was all American Vintage (Made in USA) clothing. I pitched the idea to my brother, Matt, about opening a vintage store, but our niche was strictly selling only American Made items. Thus, Handsome Oxford was born.
How has your first year in business been...any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My first year has been truly unreal. It was an emotional rollercoaster (I never would have thought I’d become so emotional). There are even amounts of times where you find yourself at your highest and lowest points. However, you also achieve one of the greatest feelings ever…believing in and being proud of yourself!
I’ve met so many wonderful people from all parts of the world and have gained many of their friendships. From this, I learned to not only invest in yourself, but to invest in people. There are lots of beautiful people out there, and by having and knowing the right ones-this world immediately becomes your oyster.
It’s been a rough, yet rewarding year. There’s this anonymous quote I’ve been following:
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Any style icons or all-time inspirations?
Hiroshi Fugiwara, Spike Lee, Hiroki Nakamura, Shawn Stussy, Woody Allen, Junya Watanabe
American Workwear, American Outdoors, Ivy Leagues
What are your dreams for Handsome Oxford in the next 5 years?
San Francisco, CA USA
Nagoya, Japan 2014
There you have it! Be sure to stop by Handsome Oxford for one-of-a-kind American vintage. Even though it's a men's store, I'm gonna make something work! Be sure to follow Handsome Oxford on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.
Happy Friday, y'all!
Photos courtesy of Handsome Oxford.