Gotstyle is a Toronto male young professional go-to for all dressed to impress occasions. Since 2005, Gotstyle has saved the wardrobes of some of the now most stylish young men around the city. The newer location on Bathurst Street (just south of King) is deceivingly large and is the type of store that makes clothes shopping easy and effortless. Not only does Gotstyle offer accessories, shoes, colognes and other grooming products, the store is compartmentalized into sections with clothing separated by occasion – social or weekend wear, business or sport – that flow nicely through the bright space. Refreshingly, the prices won’t break the bank for the stylish up-and-comer.
Gotstyle features both designer brands and emerging designer labels, including many Canadian brands. YP favourites include Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Ringspun, Tiger of Sweden, Circle of Gentlemen, John Varvatos and Stones.
It is the kind of store where they’d have you covered if you lost all of your luggage. The cherry on the top of the one-stop theme is a more formal area that contains an in-house tailor and their made-to-measure service. There is even a barber at the front, offering haircuts and hot shaves for gentleman.
Upon entry, the design and décor reflects the rustic, more casual feel; the second room reflects a more modern feel and the back room, which houses the formalwear, reflects an 18th century vibe with deep wood and an impressive chandelier. The staff is welcoming, knowledgeable and committed to teaching young professional men a thing or two about modern-day dressing and choosing clothes that actually fit properly.
Gotstyle also offers promotions attractive to the young professional. From now until April 15th, you participate in Gotstyle’s attempt to get those old boxy suits off the streets and out of the closet with their suit trade-in. When you bring in your outdated, dust-collecting suit, you receive $50 off of a new, perfectly-tailored one. On top of the $50 you’ll save for trading in an old suit, you’ll also get a $50 gift certificate to use towards your next purchase. All you have to do is shoot a before and after photo when you trade in your suit.
We sat down with Gotstyle’s YP owner, Melissa Austria, who shared more on this men’s fashion oasis.
How did Gotstyle come to be?
I founded the store in 2005 with the help of a silent investor. My background was in men’s wholesale and I had twelve years experience in selling to buyers across Canada. I worked at Harry Rosen for a while so menswear seemed natural in terms of opening shop. I had seen a lack in menswear stores in Toronto compared to the rest of the country. Calgary safely has 8-10 stores and Montreal has an abundance. With Toronto, it was either the low-end chains or the stores are too high-end for every man to shop there on a regular basis. We needed something between Moore’s and Harry Rosen.
What is the appeal to the young professional?
The range of products and the comfortable price points. Poorly made suits on the lower end can cost $300, while it is rare you will find a suit for less than $15,000 at Harry Rosen. At Gotstyle, the up-and-coming young professional guy can find a suit for $600-$800. The store also saves time because it is conveniently divided by section: casual, social and business. We also have made-to-measure suits and are big in the wedding business. Fashion conscious young professionals are no longer renting suits because, let’s be honest, suit design has changed and no groom is going to want his groomsmen in big, boxy suits. At Gotstyle, $800 suits provide attainable options for groomsmen and something that is sure to get a lot of wear.
What are the clients commonly looking for at Gotstyle?
We get a lot of young men just starting out in their careers, whether it is for a suit for their first big interview or to grow their suit collection when starting at their first company. We find many of the more established men that are 35 and over love to come and buy the casual sportswear. We want to get more men into modern dressing, with its slimmer silhouette.
What makes Gotstyle unique?
We have exceptional prices and value and are quality-conscious. We fill that mid-point void in menswear that was missing in the city. With a background in wholesale, we are aware of the brands that are more exclusive and that you won’t necessarily find easily, especially in one location. We carry many quality brands like Circle of Gentlemen from Amsterdam, as well as an assortment of brands from Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which is a new hot spot. Norway does good fashion at good price points compared to expensive stuff in Italy.
What was the biggest challenge in opening the store?
It is one thing to have a vision of exactly how you would like everything to be, but people that understand your vision and the right help is difficult to come by. I don’t think a business degree is necessary to opening the store, it really was trial by fire. I would also advise to be one hundred percent realistic with the amount of money you have because there are some costs you won’t expect and it is a business that requires constant cash flow. So with that said, managing finances at the beginning was a source of stress.
How is Gotstyle marketed?
We cover all of the expected social media: Facebook, Twitter, eBlasts, SEO. Our blog is active and dense and keeps our customers informed of the latest trends and promotions. We also host a few in-store events for our clients, with things like scotch and wine tastings. In this sense, we are selling not only the clothing but the Gotstyle lifestyle as well. We are educating today’s young professional man on all the essentials.
Advice to other young professionals looking to start a boutique:
Do as much research as you possibly can and make sure you talk to other business owners because everyone goes through the same mistakes. Make sure you don’t start the company with too much debt. Finally, be as clear as you can with your vision and write it down; truly visualize what it is you are looking for.
What can we expect in the future?
We will see an online store this fall as we recognize the growing statistics of people purchasing online. We would also like to expand and move into more locations.