Weekly Business Profile
Type of business:
Albuquerque NM 87106
What was your first job?
Argos Sculpture Foundry, North Brewster, New York
How did you get started in this business?
I started cold a couple of years ago, but with great support from some of our suppliers. Albuquerque needed an alternative to the department stores, chains and suit stores: a men’s store that reflected the casual/work style that people have here.
What is your business philosophy?
Quality speaks for itself. Value doesn’t just mean “cheap.” Better clothing is a much better value in the long run.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
Izzy Martin is all about Albuquerque, which has been my home for over 20 years. The clothes are chosen with our friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and customers in mind.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
A sense of community. Being able to live in the natural beauty and culture of New Mexico
What do you offer that the competition doesn’t?
Well-crafted, world-class clothing that is both refined and rugged. Integrity, heritage, sustainability, durability … A lot of it is American-made. Our Japanese selvedge denim is among the best in the world.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
I’m always on the lookout for new suppliers, and as a multi-brand store, there are no limits to how we can refine the selection. We just brought in J Brand denim which is already doing great, as is Universal Works, a new company from the UK. We’re expanding our selection of some store favorites like Gitman Vintage, Naked & Famous and Relwen, and we’ll be bringing in RVCA and Save Khaki this spring. We work hard to provide something unique for everyone.
How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
Somewhere between over-dressing and under-dressing. For younger guys who want to take it up a notch and older guys who want a fresher look. Our clothes have a broad appeal for a variety of ages, styles and sizes.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
I’ll echo the comments of the guys at Shade Tree Customs—namely that Central Avenue is a big problem. Nob Hill needs to be pedestrian friendly, and a 35mph arterial kills it. The city needs to decide if they want retail or a highway. It’s still too dangerous to cross the street, and our sidewalk is only 8 feet wide. That’s simply not conducive to Nob Hill being a thriving shopping district.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque that you could change, what would it be?
Buckwheat pancakes and real maple syrup at the Frontier
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
We’ve chosen suppliers whose business practices are ethical and sustainable. We support local producers like Maude Andrade, Kayla Paul and This Is Not New, American manufacturers like Gitman, J Brand and Walk-Over and eco-producers like Jungmaven Hemp Tees and Veja sneakers.
How has the internet affected your business, and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
We sell online, which makes it easier to stock some “edgier” brands, and our customers get a lot of information about our brands online. When you’re selling top-notch inventory like ours, informed customers are your best customers. The internet is a vital resource for educating our customers about the uniqueness of our clothes, most of which can’t be found elsewhere in Albuquerque or New Mexico.
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