Aedan MacDonald (pictured above) was at a crossroads in his life when he decided to open Foundry LA, a men’s and women’s clothing store. Always inspired by fashion, he thought a store would be the perfect outlet to blend creativity with commerce.
Foundry LA opened on Melrose in October 2012 with a merchandise mix that highlights emerging designers like Soulland, Timo Weiland and Rochambeau. The breakdown is 40/60 men’s to women’s. MacDonald scours New York, Paris and London for rare product from up-and-coming designers. “I’m also looking for LA-exclusives. Our price points are high, so I want to be certain our product offering is worth it,” explains MacDonald.
The product assortment is somewhere between casual and dress. MacDonald explains, “LA style is very much about jeans and T-shirts. We want guys to put a little more effort into getting dressed. We’re excited about prints this season, especially printed woven shirts. And we’re working on a collaboration with Brooklyn Tailors (suiting, chinos, casual dress and formalwear) using high-quality fabrics from Italy and the U.K. The fit is amazing.”
When asked the most challenging part of opening a store, MacDonald is candid. “The hardest part is right now. We’re trying to build our customer base and create a certain vibe within the store. Technology is an interesting thing because while we’re able to market and reach a new audience through social media outlets like Instagram and Facebook, it’s only made things more difficult. It’s easier for customers to comparison shop.”
Foundry LA launched e-commerce with the brick and mortar store, and is introducing a blog on the website soon. MacDonald elaborates, “We’ll post things like ‘Look of the Week.’ Men are not only shy when it comes to clothing, but they also want to be educated and learn how the wear and style product. We’re also working with musicians to create exclusive playlists on our site.”
MacDonald has ambitious plans for Foundry LA’s future. He is launching a full private label collection for fall 2014 (a capsule collection will be available for spring ’14) and opening a pop-up shop in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood within the next 18 months (which he hopes will evolve into a permanent store). And then of course he has dreams of opening a store in London and a showroom to wholesale brands to other retailers.