A few years ago, the Whiskers Laces store launched online with a slightly more barebones version of the site you see today. Our goal was to prove the concept and quality of our products online, sell directly to our customers, and eventually make the move into retail spaces across the country. However, David Rabideau, co-owner of the David Talbott Collection in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had other plans for us. David found our product online and knew it would be the perfect addition to his men’s haberdashery store. He reached out with persistence and vigor, and eventually, it paid off. We embraced the startup mentality of “Why not??”, and agreed to test his store as our VERY FIRST retailer in the country. No pressure...
In our first year, Indiana became one of our top 5 selling states in the country thanks to the David Talbott Collection alone. We can’t understate how valuable this was for our progression as a brand and our offering. Thanks to David, we were able to prove our product outside the confines of the digital world, and take the step into retail spaces across the country. To this day he remains an awesome friend of the brand and one of our top retail locations, period.
Check out his story below. We’ve said it before, but THANK YOU for everything, David!
Whiskers: Introduce yourself!
David: My name is David Rabideau and my wife Lisa and I are the owners of The David Talbott Collection, a men’s haberdashery and clothing boutique located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Whiskers: Tell us a little bit about your business.
David: We opened in 2015 in a downtown mini-mall focusing on small business start-ups.
Operating there for three years our business grew, regressed, grew again, and evolved. In 2018 we took a huge gamble and opened our own brick and mortar location in the same part of downtown and have never looked back.
Free from the limitations of being part of a collective we were able to expand our merchandise lines and experiment with products not normally found in retail malls.
Looking back at the men’s specialty boutiques of the 1950’s and 60’s one thing became clear. Quality and unique products from innovative vendors must be found and become synonymous with your store to have success in any challenging retail environment.
Whiskers: You were our very first retailer… how’d you find us??
David: One day I was looking at our shoe selection and realized that even with the most successful and high-end footwear companies the laces were bland and poor quality. I wanted to address that detail and come up with something better, but where?
Then I found Whiskers Laces website and I found my solution.
The quality, attention to detail, fashion colors, patterns, and the amazing aglets made me want them as part of the uniqueness I was trying to find for my business.
Not to mention the amazing box presentation and wooden spools.
I was sold!
I contacted Whiskers Laces about a wholesale account and hit a wall! Operating as a growing online business, Whiskers Laces was focused on developing that and not really looking to take on wholesale customers at that time.
I began a regular pattern of e-mailing Kyle Groth, CEO of Whiskers Laces and pushing for the opportunity to sell and promote what I thought was an amazing product. I was completely transparent with him about being a small business and may not purchase a lot of product but we would represent them well and be a positive advocate for their brand.
Whiskers: What was your customers’ response to our products in your store?
David: Customers loved the product and even the most skeptical could be convinced to try a pair and in most cases they returned and bought more. I actually put a few pairs on shoes to give the customers a visual and that also greatly helps.
We pair them with Happy Socks for a multiple sale and the customers love the combination. Our sales have grown in both categories due this suggestion.
Whiskers: Anything else to add before we wrap this up?
David: The willingness of Whiskers Laces to make us a business partner has opened doors for other vendor opportunities and helped us further grow our business. I am very grateful to Kyle and the Whiskers Laces team for bringing us on board. In the last three years a number of retailers have been added to Whiskers Laces customer base and I like to think we played a small part in that.
P.S. - By the way, my personal favorites are any style in black and pink and black and white! They are also our best sellers! Imagine that!
David C Rabideau
David Talbott Collection