The shop on the corner of 111 Charles St. in Beacon Hill seemed to appear out of nowhere earlier this month.
It was, until recently, an empty storefront, but for the past few weeks this holiday season, it’s been a bustling retail hub with all the trappings of a classic menswear shop, including a bust of a buck sporting some fancy neckwear and a live Christmas tree hung from the ceiling.
The pop-up retail operation, dubbed the “Winter Collective,” is the combined effort of five online menswear outfitters: Tucker Blair is Boston maker of needlepoint belts and wallets; Kiel James Patrick out of Rhode Island outfits the Nantucket set in ties, bracelets, and oxfords. Hudson Sutler makes bespoke bags in New York City, which is also home to the headquarters of men’s shirtmaker Jack Robie and Naadam Cashmere, who sources their super soft knitwear from Mongolia.
Each of the online outfitters looked to broaden their customer base by making the most of foot traffic during the holiday shopping season.
Booking a short-term lease in Beacon Hill as a group, and styling their merchandise together, allowed them to increase their brand presence without falling victim to the flea market aesthetic.
“We call it renegade retail,” said Jesse Biggers, who’s been running the shop with his partner, Rob Caron, since it opened earlier this month. The pair are contributing partners and investors in several of the companies showcasing their wares, and opened a similar pop-up concept in Nantucket this past summer.
“Some of these startups can’t afford to open their own stores,” says Biggers. “This gives them an opportunity to showcase their stuff.”
“We’re dipping our toe into the retail waters,” said Tucker Blair chief executive Matt Tara. It used to be, he said, that upstart brands looking to get an edge in the marketplace often “lived or died by Neiman Marcus or Barney’s.”
The combined pop-up concept, done right, is a perfect way to get a foothold, Tara said.
“If Ralph Lauren was starting his business in 2014, he would have started this way,” he said.
The shop will be open at 111 Charles St. through Jan. 31.
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