Bonobos Guideshop is not a typical men’s retailer where you walk in, choose an outfit, pay at the register, and walk out with a bag branded with the store’s logo. Instead, the Guideshop is an “in real life” representation of the apparel website bonobos.com where a gent can try on the brand’s super-soft washed chinos featuring the Bonobos (bo-NO-bos) signature curved waistband, or get fitted for a suit before ordering the clothes to be delivered to his home. Or he can go home and order the clothing online or by phone. It’s the ultimate try-it-before-you-buy-it model most of us wish for in online shopping.
The brick-and-mortar version of the menswear e-tailer opened last month at Fashion Island, across from Nordstrom. Customers will find samples of Bonobos shirts, slacks, suits, accessories, and more so they can feel the fabrics, try on items, be fitted, and ask for style advice from the shop’s “guides.”
Not having to store inventory makes it possible for the retailer to offer accessible prices for quality clothing, says Erin Grant, spokeswoman for Bonobos. It also means the store’s focus is on the customer. Bonobos shirts run from $58 to $148, jeans from $98 to $175, washed chinos, $88 to $98 and suits, $450 to nearly $1,000.
“So you can make an appointment or walk in and be fitted,” Grant says. “We keep your sizes and records on file because we’re e-commerce based. By not having to stock inventory, we can provide really exceptional service and you’re out in five minutes. The clothes arrive at your door in three to five business days.”
Bonobos was founded in 2007 by Stanford business school roommates Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly. As the story goes, Dunn and Spaly, hated shopping and Dunn always had a hard time finding pants to fit his athlete’s body. So they re-tailored a pair of pants at the waistline to make it follow the natural curve of a man’s body and tapered the legs for a slimmer fit. The pants were a hit and soon they were selling them to other Stanford students out of their home.
Today, Dunn still runs Bonobos, Spaly left to start the menswear subscription service Trunk Club (trunkclub.com) which was recently purchased by Nordstrom, but not before they also redesigned a men’s shirt that fits more snugly around the waist, under the arm, and at the bottom.
By 2010, Bonobos was a hit online, but men still wanted to try on the clothes, Grant says. “We literally set up some curtains in the lobby of the New York headquarters and saw how it worked and said, ‘we need to build with this.’ ”
Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.