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Though Chris Riccobono didn’t have any fashion experience when he launched menswear brand Untuckit, he managed to solve a problem in the business casual space. The company’s dress shirts designed to be worn untucked have been copied by a plethora of competitors and fueled its profitable business.
Since entering the market 2011, the NYC-based DTC brand has seen its fair share of highs and lows: Prior to the start of the pandemic, Untuckit had expanded to 90 retail locations around the world, including six in Canada and a new store in England. But subsequent lockdowns forced Riccobono to temporarily close all locations.
“There wasn’t one time during the pandemic that we gave in and said, ‘I wish we didn’t open these stores.’ We stood behind them,” Riccobono said on the latest episode of the Glossy Podcast. “You can’t operate a massive growing men’s retail business without having stores.”
The slight setback didn’t stop Untuckit’s growth. Once the quarantine and guidelines lifted, and consumers began feeling comfortable in public spaces again, Untuckit sales ramped up. In 2021, Untuckit opened three new locations, including in Long Beach, California, Sarasota, Florida and Manchester, U.K.
Now, Riccobono is expanding his portfolio. In June, along with Derek Jeter, Misty Copeland and Wayne Gretzky, he introduced an all-new brand, Greatness Wins. It’s centered on performance athletic apparel.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Surviving the pandemic
“[Staying afloat during the pandemic] was a battle, but we survived. We knew there was going to be this massive pent-up demand [for business casual wear post-pandemic], and we knew that we had the post-pandemic product. … Everyone I knew who had worn suits their whole life said they just didn’t see themselves putting suits back on, but they still wanted to look good. … Tucking a white shirt into a crisp pair of tan pants just wasn’t going to happen, so people started wearing Untuckit shirts with jeans. … Before the pandemic, the world was [transitioning] to business casual, which helped us and propelled our growth post-pandemic. … This is the best year we’ll ever have, by a long shot. We always compare everything to 2019, when we were growing so fast. We’re back there, we’re profitable. It’s a great time to be at Untuckit.”
The importance of physical retail
“If you’re going to be a brand that’s around for the next 50, 100 or 200 years, you need stores. It’s not just what you do from a revenue perspective in that specific store — we ship from our stores, we use them for marketing. Our smaller stores, where the volume isn’t as high, are like cheap billboards. There are so many reasons [we have stores] but the biggest reason is that … 70% of our customers demand them. They want to touch and feel the product. Stores are important. They’re never going away. Right now, in the major cities, our stores are struggling because there’s no one there. … But the majority of our stores are profitable, and traffic is starting to come back. … I stand by brick and mortar. It’s a must for me, if you’re gonna grow a brand.”