Retail 101: Quality Boutique

Photography by Reagan Allen

Established in 2016, by a couple of streetwear-loving besties, Mike Rodela and Garrett Minniear, Quality Boutique is one of Indy’s leading indie clothing and footwear retailers. Specializing in men’s streetwear apparel and sneakers, they carry a variety of brands including Asics, New Balance, Champion, Pleasures, and Herschel, as well as their own namesake brand. Stop by the store to take in the cool vibe, chat about latest menswear trends and to take a selfie by the pink fur-clad Bart Simpson mural, painted by Tripp Birden. Also keep an eye out for their new spring lookbook “Quality Prep” photographed by Ben Michaelis.

Name: Mike Rodela & Garrett Minniear
Store name: Quality
Store address: 879 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis,IN 46204
Store website: www.qualityindy.com
Store insta: @qualityindy
When did you open the store: July 2016
Number of full-time employees: 0
What do you sell in your store: Streetwear/menswear clothing, lifestyle/casual footwear, and accessories such as bags, hats, wallets, belts, shoe cleaning products, and socks.
Previous jobs/ventures: Years of retail and management experience in the industry.

Why did you decide to open your own storefront? We have had a genuine interest in sneakers and clothing for almost 20 years and a passion for the culture. We wanted to turn our passion into a business. We believed that the industry was lacking something and we felt that we could create it. We also felt that Indianapolis, where we are both natives, was in need of this type of shop.

Do you have an online store as well? Yes, www.qualityindy.com

Which came first the online store or the bricks and mortar store? Brick and Mortar. We always agreed that we wanted a location on Mass Ave. We wanted to focus on building a community of likeminded people with our brand by creating a unique shopping experience and having a place where that was possible. We planned to create the webstore from the beginning but the brick and mortar store was the first priority.

List five skills/qualifications that you think are important to have before launching a storefront? Have a solid business plan and business model. Network. Utilize all of your resources. Research the area where you want to be. Be willing to make big sacrifices. (In no particular order)

What’s the most effective marketing tool that you’ve been using recently? Instagram. Posting on the feed and story on a daily basis.

What’s more important when opening a storefront: Location, having a nice cash cushion or having a lot of retail experience? Why? It’s almost impossible to say that one is more important than the others. All 3 are vital. You have to have experience or else you will have no idea what you are doing. You must have a good location so that your business can be seen and your customers can easily find you. And it is crucial to have a cash cushion in case you don’t hit your initial sales goals and projections.

How do you decide which vendors/products/brands you want to carry in your store? It is a process. We start with brands that we personally like and believe in. We look at the brand’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, a brand could create very nice denim but lack in the outerwear department. In that case, we are going to focus on carrying that brand’s denim. Next, we decide if the brand would fit with the vision that we have for our shop. The brand must have a similar message to ours, quality over quantity. It needs to compliment the other brands and products that we carry. After bringing the brand into our store, we see how our customers react to it. From there, the only decision left to make is if we want to continue to carry the brand, or move on to another.

Do you work with vendors on a consignment basis? No.

Do you carry any local vendors/brands? Why/Why not? We have our in-house brand (Quality) which is local. We are not carrying other local brands at this time. We are currently hosting a pop up shop for a local brand called Naptown Thrift that specializes in rare vintage apparel and accessories. We go through the same process with local brands as we do with all other brands.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in running your business? Time. There are only so many hours in a day.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of opening their own storefront? DO YOUR RESEARCH. Take your time when making the decision. It can be one of the biggest decisions that you make as a business owner.

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming brand looking to build a strong relationship with a retailer? Be professional. Be organized. Be focused. Know what you want to do and who you want to be as a brand. Think about how it can mutually benefit the retailer as well as the brand.

Are there any online resources that you regularly visit to help you run your business better, or keep up with the latest industry trends? Legal Zoom is helpful if you are just getting started and need to know where to begin. Social media, websites like Hypebeast.com, Sneakernews.com, and Highsnobiety.com are all good online resources.

Shop Quality in-store and online.
Follow Quality on Instagram and Facebook.

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