Matt Fox and Enrique Crame had dreamed about opening a store like Fine and Dandy since they met 10 years ago. They always loved exploring little shops and after an eye-opening trip to California, the duo decided to turn their dream into a reality. They were both working full-time jobs (Fox as a general manager for a Broadway theater company and Crame for Inditex Group), but bought the domain name FineandDandyShop.com as a first step. “We knew New York real estate would be a nightmare,” explains Fox. “And we saw the success that menswear blogs and websites were having at the time, so we decided to try our idea online.” And so they launched FineandDandyShop.com in 2008 as a hub for all sorts of menswear accessories and gifts. “We knew we’d be stocking and shipping product from our basement so we started with accessories since they’re small,” says Fox. “And accessories are also easier to buy online since they’re not sized,” adds Crame.
They began making goods under their own Fine and Dandy label, and also sold some branded goods (e.g. socks from Pantharella and hats from Stetson). The Fine and Dandy brand comprises all sorts of dapper accessories like ties ($55 to $59), bow ties ($49 to $55), cummerbunds ($55 to $79), sock garters ($19 to $22; “You’d be amazed at how many sock garters we sell!”), suspenders ($49 to $65) and spats ($69).
Fine and Dandy experienced early success and in 2010 were approached by the guys behind Blind Barber to do a pop-up shop at their Manhattan location. In 2011, they participated in the Holiday Pop-up Shops at Chelsea Market. It was through these pop-up shops that they learned how much their customers really liked to see and touch the product. Which is when the wheels started turning and they began seriously thinking about opening a brick and mortar store. And so last November they opened their small shop in Hell’s Kitchen.
Since opening, Fox has quit his day job and is working full-time at the store. Crame balances his time between Fine and Dandy and as department manager of Massimo Dutti’s Fifth Avenue location. They still do some e-commerce, but are more focused on the store now. However, their online presence certainly helps. They have a blog that they post to often, and interact with customers via social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. “Social media is so important to the business because that’s where you interact with your customers when they’re not in the store. It’s a way to keep them interested and engaged.” For example, there’s a recurring feature on the blog called “Formal Friday,” where they ask readers to rebel against “casual Friday” and dress up. Readers send in photos of themselves dressed as dapper as can be and Fine and Dandy posts some of the best ones on the site.
Fine and Dandy, 445 West 49th Street