By Shayna Mace
You bring a lot of buying and product development experience to your shop, having worked at Lands’ End in retail, inventory and merchandising, and at TravelSmith in San Francisco. How did those experiences tie into Journeyman Co.?[Todd Christiansen:] I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit in my different roles at Lands’ End and TravelSmith. [At Lands’ End] we did quite a bit of manufacturing in Southeast Asia and Asia, I went to Europe, and I spent a lot of time in New York City. So I’d run across brands, and they were items I’d purchase for myself and wear. So in developing the concept [for Journeyman Co.], I already had a kind of “wardrobe” of brands that I really liked.
Opening a physical location as well as the look and feel of your shop was very important to you.
I launched with the retail concept because it’s my canvas for the brand. Three months ago, I started selling online, too. But the brick- and-mortar side of it is all about meeting people and allowing people to come and experience your brand three-dimensionally. With a small boutique, you have a guarantee on the product—I’ll be here to help fit you, and be sure to take it back if you don’t like it.
And the shop name gives a nod to your product selection.
The name was based on a work wear concept, and part of my strategy is to source from the U.S. The U.S. has a great work wear history with denim manufacturing. So that was the starting point to having this brand grounded in better basics, and a staple of that is denim. I also like vintage sports, so you think of the journeyman ball player. The third part of the name is [a nod to] travel and the journey.
Part of my mission statement is “approachable fashion for men,” and that to its core, is quality and fit. That’s something I think about every day when I’m editing the assortment, buying it and talking to my customers. This store carries better brands, and when someone is spending a little more on their wardrobe, it really needs to fit well and last.
Soon, Journeyman Co. will have its own branded goods, which is exciting.
Yes, I’m partnering with a 120-year-old knitting company, Harley of Scotland, for a small production run of sweaters I developed with them. Those are coming at the end of September. But eventually, about 20% of the store will be my brand, [with] sweatshirts, rugbys, T-shirts and socks.
What are essential pieces all men need in their wardrobe?
A five-pocket twill jean, a great pair of leather boots, a chambray work shirt and some sort of shirt jacket (see all right). If you can get those building blocks, then you can layer on some extra fashion pieces that you can have fun with.