What started off as an online shopping site, this Montreal-based menswear brand has now rapidly expanded to 13 bricks and mortar locations across North America.
When Modern Mix Vancouver first heard of Frank & Oak, it was back in 2013 through its “Hunt Club”, a men’s apparel subscription service which is still available today. On a monthly basis, subscribers can pick out items from the Frank & Oak online store (or opt for the personalized recommendations from a style advisor that matches their taste and budget) to be mailed to their home. Subscribers can then try on the items in the comforts of their own home, keep what they like, and mail back what they don’t. Aside from the $20 annual Hunt Club fee, subscribers are only charged for what they keep.
Since we first heard about Frank & Oak, the company has gone through a $15M Series B round of funding in 2014, and recently topped the 2015 Technology Fast 50 list, and Fast Company’s list of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail.
This December, Frank & Oak opened a 2,400 sqft flagship storefront location in Gastown, the brand’s 13th retail store, capping nine other storefronts in Canada and three recently opened US stores in Boston, Chicago and Washington DC. (Prior to the Vancouver flagship store opening, Frank & Oak occupied a much smaller temporary storefront on Abbot Street.)
All the apparel items in-store are of the Frank & Oak brand, while the accessories Home & Tech and ‘Apothecary’ (grooming and skincare) offerings are curated from brands including Baxter of California, Balsem, Groom, Men’s Society and Native Union. Kicking off the holiday / winter season, some of the menswear apparel trends Modern Mix Vancouver spotted at Frank & Oak included chunky knits, dark coloured (forest green, maroon, navy blue) casual dress shirts (especially in plaid patterns), and colour-blocked button up cardigans, tee’s and henley shirts.
Similar to the personalized styling available online, shoppers in-store can opt for complimentary personal styling appointments with trained style advisors. However, in my experience of shopping with my boyfriend, I felt like we utilized the style advisors more for their opinions on fit, rather than style. In my opinion, the items at Frank & Oak are safe enough so that someone could blindly pick up a few items from Frank & Oak and not go wrong. In general, Frank & Oak items are basic enough for frequent wear, with just enough of an interesting twist (ie. like a subtle confetti print or polka dots) to make a style statement without being too out-there or flashy. There’s no obvious branding on any of the pieces either.
In addition, the price points of Frank & Oak pieces are quite reasonable. A casual dress shirt begins at $52, a polo at $42, a long-sleeved henley at $48, and a sweater at $74. No wonder Frank & Oak is so appealing to the everyday, modern guy!
These are the two items my boyfriend purchased at Frank & Oak on opening day:
True to its e-commerce roots, Frank & Oak has seamlessly integrated the online and in-store experience. For example, customers in-stores will be able to access their past order histories and online style profiles. If an item isn’t available in-store, customers will have the option to have products shipped directly to their homes, delivering Frank & Oak’s focus on the offline-online retail experience.
In addition to the Frank & Oak shopping experience, the spacious new location will also house a full-service barber shop, and a cold-pressed juice bar operated by Vancouver’s Krocodile Pear. According to Frank & Oak, the space is intended as a community hub to meet, connect, linger, and there are upcoming plans to host community-oriented neighbourhood events.
“We’re thrilled to reinforce our reputation for personalized service and unique in-store experiences the opening of this flagship location on the West Coast. We’re passionate about building a sense of community, culture, and integrating the two into a local approach but within the context of the digital world.” – Frank & Oak Co-Founder and CEO Ethan Song.
Frank and Oak opens to the public on Saturday December 5. For more information, visit: frankandoak.com, or in-peron at 316 West Cordova Street in Gastown.