Imagine a one-stop online shop for men, offering not only a curated range of apparel and accessories but also a hand-selected pitch or two for products from literature to specialty liqueur. Toss in attractive editorial photography, and if you’re thinking along the lines of a Refinery29 for guys, you’re on the right track. Today, we’ll enter the world of Dallas-based Need (NeedLifestyle.com), a rapidly growing retailer and publication that markets to men across the country and around the world.
With over 100 brand partnerships, close to 50,000 members, and hundreds of thousands of site visits per month, we were eager delve into the philosophy of this power-backed Big D company. Founder and CEO Matt Alexander (pictured below) will give us an exclusive insight into the inner workings of Need today. Read on to learn why and how the London native feels that his innovative company will fill a void for men not just in Dallas, but on a global scale.
DFW Style Daily: What birthed the idea for Need?
Matt Alexander: “In late 2012, I found myself with the opportunity to have a peek into the inner workings of a fairly well-known menswear startup. I had always been interested in the intersection of fashion and technology, [but] the trouble I found was that a great many companies, despite huge revenues, were unprofitable. Subscriptions often exhausted their novelty, flash sales lost their luster, and personal stylists’ picks seemed to be increasingly expensive. Informed by the virtues of some of these menswear startups, publications, and pre-internet retail business models, I cobbled together an idea for a sustainable, profitable, and localized resource for men in some of the world’s greatest cities. The result is the Need you see today.”
On a local level, why do you feel that Need is filling a void for an untapped market here in Dallas?
“There are a great many fantastic men’s shops, but all tend to offer a similar service. You visit, have a whiskey whilst watching a game, and have a stylist of some description offer you a product you know little about. With Need, we seek to articulate the story behind these products. We help educate men as to why [a product is] great, and why it’s relevant for them. We craft a story that’s relatable, relevant, and dignified, rather than simply trying to blindly shift volumes of product.”
How does Need select the brands that are featured on the website?
“In the early days, I simply sought to form partnerships with brands that I personally appreciated. Today, we’re much more academic in our approach. We keep a close eye on a variety of publications, we travel to a great many shows, and given our traction, we get a lot of pitches from brands, rather than us pitching to them.”
We’ve spotted emerging and independent brands on Need, as well as major designer labels. Is there a formula to the mix?
“Generally speaking, we’re fairly unbiased regarding brands. We simply look for the most interesting, compelling, and novel brands, regardless of their size or reach. Need is about providing the best products, rather than the best brands. We have partnerships with the likes of Nike, all the way down to brand-new local startups like Quixotic – and that’s part of the fun!”
Need sends only one email to its members per month, unlike other sites, which may email one or more times per day. How is that beneficial, in terms of marketing and sales?
“Need’s appeal resides within the fact that we choose not to excessively market ourselves. For us, our success lies in direct correlation with our philosophy of restraint. There are too many brands and e-commerce outlets sending daily updates, sale notifications, etc. Sending one email per month means that our customers pay attention when that one email arrives. We also send handwritten notes with each order, and follow-up emails to see how our customers are enjoying their products.”
Where is Need headed in the future?
“My vision for Need has always been to localize it to certain cities. Rather than selling to an entire country, I want to sell relevant products to particular metropolitan areas. Our first will be London, and then we’ll look to Dallas, San Francisco, and New York. We’ve had a huge demand from women and younger demographics, so we’ll unquestionably be looking to explore those over the next couple of months. Lastly, we’ve just signed the lease on a new office in the Dallas Design District. We’ll grow the team there, and begin to steadily expand outward. It ought to be a fun year!”
Editorial/product photos, credit JerSean Golatt. Matt Alexander headshot, credit Hoyoung Lee. For more information, visit NeedLifestyle.com.