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Inside The Helm’s Buying Trips

Season after season, our team travels the globe to hand-select the items we want to bring back to The Helm for our customers.

The process takes time, but it’s one of the reasons we love what we do. Checking out the latest styles, trends, fabrics, and technology keeps us on our toes, and we get to meet tons of interesting people in the process. 

It’s not always an easy task, though. There are literally thousands of different brands and vendors to choose from, so we take the time to sift through it all, doing our research along the way. 

From checking out trade shows to scouring each city for inspiration, buying season is always a busy, exciting, and enlightening experience.

What we look for when we buy

A story

We find that the best product comes from brands that have an interesting story behind them. That doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be a brand with a 100-year-old history, but it needs to have some significance to it.

Usually, if there’s a clear purpose behind the brand, it indicates a passion and drive to continue creating the best products they can.

Quality

We always look at craftsmanship, the quality of the fabric, and the manufacturing process for the products we decide to buy.

We can tell pretty quickly whether it’s worth entertaining or not, and from there, we can dig into some of the extra details, like the origin of the fabric, methods of production, sustainability, etc. If it doesn’t meet our standards, we move on. 

Uniqueness

We want to expand our customers’ horizons, and sometimes that means taking a chance on something that’s a little different from what you normally see in the local menswear scene.

We’re always on the hunt for things that are new and interesting so that our customers don’t have to see the same old thing every year.

Relevance and fit

There are a ton of interesting, high quality products out there, but making sure they’re a fit for our customers is key. Sometimes it’s an easy choice. We’ll see something on our trips and know it’s right for our store immediately. Sometimes particular clients of ours will even come to mind. 

Other times, we’ve got to sit down and really think about what our city and our store needs. Do we have too much of one colour? Is there something our clients could use but that we haven’t given them yet? Do we have enough variety? Is it right for the season?

There are countless questions we ask ourselves as we go through the process of selecting each item. 

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No matter what we see on the road, one thing is for sure: we wouldn’t be able to offer the curated selection we do without the travel.

Too often stores get stuck in a rut and they offer the same selection season after season. Being able to shake it up not only keeps things fresh for us, but we like to think it helps our customers elevate their style too. 

If you have more questions about the buying process, or if you want to learn about a particular aspect of it, feel free to drop us a line! Always happy to chat. 


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