The dilemma of ‘to tuck’ or ‘not to tuck’ is a problem that people grapple with before getting dressed, and this problem is only exacerbated when shirts are not specifically designed to be tucked in. That’s why UNTUCKit was created. Since 2011, this NYC startup has been providing men with high-quality shirts designed specifically to be worn untucked. This brand’s business model was initially focused on e-commerce, but it has recently been expanding by opening up physical retail locations. It already has 38 physical retail locations and has plans to open up an additional 16 this year.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder Chris Riccobono to get an update on the brand’s expansion (it recently has introduced lines for women and children), why participating in the “clicks to bricks” trends is driving value for both the company and consumer, and the inspiration behind the company that makes you look polished even if you aren’t tucking in your shirt.
Tell us about the product or service that UNTUCKit offers.
UNTUCKit was created to solve the problem that millions of men struggle with every day by offering shirts designed specifically to be worn untucked. Since launching in 2011, UNTUCKit has grown to 13 product categories, ranging from T-shirts and polos, to sports jackets and performance wear. The brand has introduced lines for women and children, offering perfectly contoured hemlines and more than 50 tailored fit options for the whole family. The brand is dedicated to creating an unmatched shopping experience, with 38 physical retail locations across the country and plans to open an additional 16 in 2018, including international expansion.
The UNTUCKit shirt has all of the perfect elements: a tailored fit with a tapered torso, the perfect length engineered to land at just the right point, a contoured hemline for a controlled shirttail, the best hand-woven fabrics in hundreds of styles. Combined with our vast range of fits, sizes and styles, these elements make the UNTUCKit shirt unique and the perfect fit for any wardrobe.
What market does UNTUCKit target and how big is it?
Our demographic is evenly distributed between 25 -70 year old. Given the wide range, we have to offer something for everyone, whether that is a two-pocket denim or a pink gingham. Between our variety of styles, sizes, fits, fabrics, and patterns, we offer an incredible number of variations to suit each customer.
Are you seeing more growth in the stores or online?
Both in-store and online channels support each other, so it’s not a matter of one growing more than the other, but rather how each helps the other continue to expand. For instance, when we open a physical store in a new market, we see a general lift in the overall traffic and sales—coming from both the new physical location as well as online in that market. Our goal is to provide a true omni-shopping experience for our customers, so we weigh the importance of both channels in the same way.
What is UNTUCKit’s business model?
Originally, UNTUCKit started out with a model predominantly focused on e-commerce, but it became apparent that a physical presence would be integral to tell the brand story and reach our customers on a closer level.
We’ve been on the forefront of the “clicks to bricks” movement over the last few years, opening more than 30 stores in the last 12 months with a plan for an additional 50 in the next year, proving that the in-store retail experience is not, in fact, dead. Store expansion is essential to our continued growth and has enabled us to reach more customers than only a typical online experience would allow.
In addition to expanding our physical footprint across the country and internationally, we are focusing on growing our assortment and range of sizes. We are intentional in solving problems in the men’s wardrobe space, providing democratic shapes and sizes, and generally picking up the slack where traditional retailers have failed the men’s consumer, whether it be in convenience, quality, or accessibility.
What inspired the start of UNTUCKit?
When I created UNTUCKit, I was solving a problem that I was actually dealing with. As a working professional in search of a casual and clean look, couldn’t find a shirt that looked good untucked without being too long and sloppy. After talking with some friends and colleagues about the issue, I quickly learned that everyone had the same exact problem. I called up my classmate at Columbia, who eventually came onto the business as my partner, and when I told him the idea I couldn’t even finish explaining the concept before he was officially on board (turns out he was having the issue, too!). Next thing we knew we were conducting surveys about shirt fits and styles and working with manufacturers to create the first UNTUCKit shirt.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We’re focused on consistently giving our customers additional ways and reasons to shop with us, which results from introducing new products, expanding our size range, and increasing overall brand awareness—all things we’re planning to do over the next six months. We plan to have 54 retail locations by the end of the calendar year, meaning we’ll be opening another 16+ stores in the next six months, including our very first international location. The continued growth of our online and physical presence will lead to an increase in traffic and sales across all channels.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
That it is a difficult journey launching any business and that you need to stay positive…it will always be two steps forward one step back…you need to enjoy the entire journey because it goes by fast and a lot if learned along the way.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Bruce Springsteen, the ultimate New Jersey success story!
Why did you launch in New York?
Launching a fashion brand in New York was a clear and easy choice for us. Not only is it the fashion capital of the world, but it has an exciting and captivating energy that’s perfect for a growing start-up. The pool of employee talent is overwhelming and always growing and the community of entrepreneurs who inspire and appreciate growing ideas is never lacking—New York truly has everything you need to start and build a brand.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
That’s a very tough call… I’d have to say it’s a tie between Marea and Sushi of Gari.