How Brian Spaly felt the world was ready for men’s outfitter Trunk Club Featured

8:00pm EDT June 30, 2013
Brian Spaly, CEO, Trunk Club Brian Spaly, CEO, Trunk Club

Emerging Entrepreneur

FINALIST

Brian Spaly thought the world was ready for a brand new men’s shopping experience.

He had an idea that would be unique in the retail clothing industry. As members of Trunk Club, men discover clothes that are perfect for them without actually visiting a store — the clothes arrive in a trunk.

While his timing was not the best — starting a company during the height of the recession is hard enough — adding to that was trying to launch a company that sells luxury goods for men in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Despite the odds, Spaly would not be deterred.

With no proven track record, he had to work hard to negotiate favorable terms from designers and clothing vendors. Fortunately, he was able to overcome this challenge by working largely with his former company, Bonobos, a retailer of men’s clothes, as well as his contacts within the retail industry.

Trunk Club members are connected with a stylist, who uses their measurements, tastes in clothing, and personality to pick out clothing, which is shipped to the customer in a “trunk.” The styling service is all free of charge. It’s an “on approval” arrangement; the member tries on the clothes and purchases only what he likes.

Trunk Club has grown from one employee to 150 employees since its 2009 creation. Spaly has developed an apprenticeship structure that is common in professional services firms. His stylist team consists of stylists, senior stylists and managers.  A senior stylist oversees eight-12 stylists and a manager will oversee two to four senior stylists.

Spaly pays more than the going rate for employee salaries and Trunk Club offers full benefits to its team. The result has been little to no turnover. The majority of employees have come to Trunk Club through referrals of current employees. The company promotes a very diverse and inclusive work environment.

How to reach: Trunk Club, www.trunkclub.com