Good Design + Good Deeds = Huckberry’s Online Shop for Men
It was long thought that brick-and-mortar stores had an advantage over e-commerce shops. After all, it’s hard to replicate attentive employees or that fancy-store smell online. But e-shop Huckberry has found a way to get past any potential shortcomings. Now over 3 years old, this men’s lifestyle site uses top-notch brand and product curation, storytelling and beautiful design to create one of the finest e-commerce experiences available. So: Who’s behind Huckberry?
It Started at a Party
Over three years ago, Huckberry co-founders Andy Forch and Richard Greiner found themselves at a party in San Francisco. The two investment bankers feeling uninspired by the industry became fast friends thanks to a shared love of skiing. While riding a lift one day on a ski trip, Andy and Richard had their “aha” moment. They both longed for a retail store that stocked that brands they wanted to buy, but they hadn’t found anything out there that met their needs. “We realized there was an opportunity to create a website that sold cool, emerging brands — the ‘next’ Patagonia, the ‘next’ J.Crew — which, prior to Huckberry, had no outlet,” Andy says. “We knew there was nothing else out there like it because we were scratching our own itch.” The guys worked at it in their apartment in true startup fashion. Fast forward a few years later, and they now have a profitable brand and over 30 employees thanks to a sharp focus on customer service and exclusive, members-only discounts.
Don Draper knows best
Andy and Richard’s focus on design and supporting small, socially focused artisans reminds us in some ways of BeGood – fellow San Franciscans, Huckberry vendors and DesignGood family members. And similar to BeGood, Huckberry’s first focus is on quality and simplicity, which they convey through their use of storytelling. Rather than a regular online store, Huckberry is more like a really, really awesome online journal that just happens to have a well- stocked e-commerce shop. This makes for a killer shopping experience, both for guys shopping for themselves and ladies looking for Valentine’s Day gifts (we’d recommend this, this and this). Of course, bringing these aspects together was completely intentional and done so through the power of (wait for it) design: “We’re storytellers at heart, and design — whether it’s the layout of an email or product page on our website — allows us to capture the essence of the stories we’re telling and relay it in the simplest way possible,” Andy says. “As Don Draper said, ‘Make it simple but significant.’ That’s what we strive for.”
On Vendor Curation and Giving Back
Aside from the design and focus on user experience, one of the things that stand out most on a first visit to the site is the variety of products. Andy and Richard do lots of research to find brands that inspire “more active, adventurous and stylish lives” and that offer a good value in their category. And if they can stock a brand that’s doing good in some way, all the better. The majority of the makers stocked by Huckberry –including Yellow Leaf Hammocks, Parks Project and, of course, BeGood – emphasize making a positive social impact either through environmental practices or local production methods.
The Future of Huckberry
The Huckberry guys have big things up their sleeves. Their creative approach to brand building has made them profitable despite the brand’s young age, and, from what we see, these guys were born to be entrepreneurs. Andy lets us in on a little of his professional insight: “Entrepreneurship is all about execution, not ideas. So get your idea out in the real world as soon as possible, take feedback, iterate and let strangers vote on it with their wallets.” This post was sponsored by Huckberry – a business DesignGood very much believes in and is happy to work with. Thank you for supporting the businesses that help keep DesignGood going. If you have any questions, contact us @designgoodnow