A few months back we decided to start a new mission here @clobbercalm HQ (the island in my kitchen)…the mission; to create ‘The Denim Map’. A map that, no matter where your travels takes you, will mean that you’re always able to find the local store stocking badass denim/boots/leather and anything else that’s cool!
Now it’s obvious we can’t do this alone and, also, that would be a little tedious and boring so instead we invite YOU guys to help us build the map! Your words! Your thoughts! Your local store! This project is about #teamdenimworldwide. We've got a UK-based store for you all today and it's a good'n...
MEET THE STORE
1. How did the store come to life? What’s the history?
I always had a passion for clothing since I was very young and would always save money to buy that ‘one off’ piece. I remember speaking to my mum and saying I wanted to open a menswear store. My disposable income always went on clothing and after studying at University, I was scoping out the brands that I liked and had a good knowledge of the industry. But if I was going to open a store, I needed to work in the industry. Over the ensuing years I’d worked for Hilfiger, Diesel and House of Frazer. Whilst the experience was good, I couldn’t do much in the roles I was in…I then spent a number of years working for VF Northern Europe, the main distributor for brands including Lee Jeans and Wrangler. I quickly learned from working in the industry that building relationships and partnerships was key. Then, after working for Lee Jeans for ten years, I was able to see that there was a market in the menswear world for a store to bring back denim in a big way; offering vast choice, knowledge, quality product, reliable brands and a tailored service, all in a more contemporary environment. Denim could sit alongside accessories, apparel and footwear brands. I knew that if we could offer that, we could cater for everyone.
2. What are your top 3 bestselling items in the store? And why do you think this is?
Edwin ED55 - The relaxed taper suits a lot of different styles and the fit always works. It is a safe ‘go to’ quality jean at an accessible price point. The style is often imitated or mirrored by other brands, but it remains a classic and will stay in stock for many years to come.
Red Wing Heritage 875 Moc Toe - There is still an exclusivity to the brand and the 875. It’s iconic, classic and timeless. We brought Red Wing in as a brand before the store opened and it was always going to be a brand that we stocked.
Universal Works Bakers Jacket - We offer the full range and replenish regularly, it is a classic from the brand. It was one of the first pieces that UW brought to market and was based on David’s Dad’s jacket. It’s a versatile piece and works for a number of styles - workwear, tailored, layering etc.
3. What’s the bestselling brand overall?
Edwin - just! Closely followed by Universal Works. We’ve done collaborations with Edwin and have a good relationship, they’re easy to work with.
4. In your personal opinion what’s the best 3 pieces that you offer? Your favourites?
1. Orslow 1 year wash ‘Type I’ denim jacket
2. Paraboot ’Michael’
3. Albam ‘Smock Jacket’
5. What the best thing about working at Liquor Store?
People connecting with the store - it is built on regulars. We enjoy finding the right piece for the customer and giving a personal service. We’ve always built the store to be a ‘community’; we love building rapport with the customer and them going away happy. That was the idea behind the speakeasy - we have great people shopping with us, so come and have a drink with us.
Staff are alright too…(laughs)
MEET THE REVIEWER
NAME: Will Varnam aka @rugged_style
1. How does the store feel when you first walk in? What springs to mind?
Liquor Store is situated in the heart of Birmingham on Colmore Row; an area hustling with foot traffic from nearby businesses and a stone’s throw from Snow Hill station. The store moved from its original location in the Great Western Arcade to its current location 12 months ago, a much more prominent and visible position. The store is bright, airy, well designed and welcoming. It is split over two floors, the lower of which is a dedicated space for premium UK contemporary heritage brand Universal Works. At street level, the store has a solid denim offering, wall of Red Wings and racks of contemporary brand product. The team recognise the importance of having a space which is comfortable but allows products to be showcased. It’s a space that treads the fine line between ‘boutique’ or ‘minimalist’ and ‘mainstream’ retail, resulting in a store that is appealing to a wide range of customers.
2. Where does the shop’s product originate from?
One of Liquor Store's strengths lies in its curation of brands and the way in which these brands are fused together aesthetically by in-store displays. This is a store which understands good design, heritage, street fashion and quality production. For example, you may see Albam or YMC sitting alongside OrSlow and LVC. The store is truly international in its offering, with a large component of items being British, European, American or Japanese in origin. Cornerstones like Red Wing, LVC and Clarks sit alongside Paraboot, Portguese Flannel and Stan Ray. Much of the product in the store is classic, timeless and enduring. But, that isn’t to say Phil doesn’t recognise something more abstract or different when it comes along, he just fuses it in a way that isn’t attention seeking. It’s seamless.
3. Describe the customer service?
Another one of the store's success measures is without a doubt its staff. Phil and the team are consistently happy, helpful, friendly and always willing to go that extra mile for the customer. It's easy to see that this is a labour of love and the team are all passionate about clothing, as well as ensuring you have a good experience in-store. There is always something to learn when talking to staff in the store, with their knowledge of product being exceptional and far reaching. It's the kind of retail space that you leave with a smile on your face and refreshed conviction that great brick and mortar stores still exist.
4. What’s the product selection like?
The product in Liquor Store is wide and far-reaching, yet there is a synergy and compatibility throughout. More well known brands like Levis, Lee and Patagonia sit alongside Folk, Norse Projects, MHL and Oliver Spencer. In addition, upcoming brands like Hawksmill Denim and Barnes & Moore accompany Filson, Edwin, LVC and Red Wing.Although there is a steady consistency of brands like Lee and Levis, the Liquor Store crew are always looking for lesser-known brands to join the roster. So expect to be periodically 'wowed' at newly stocked brands like Danton - French inspired workwear with a distinctly Japanese flair - arriving on the shop floor.
5. How are the prices?
As you might expect with such a wide and diverse offering of product, there is something to suit every budget at Liquor Store from entry level raw denim to Japan and America's finest selvedge. The shop also has regular sale items, so you can always pick up a bargain if your size is in stock! Rest assured that if you’re spending money in Liquor Store, you’re getting a quality product and something which the staff stand behind.
~ Notes ~
The menswear scene is Birmingham is still developing and whilst there may not be the amount of shops London or Manchester has to offer, Liquor Store is driving men’s style in the Midlands in the right direction. Liquor Store has become synonymous with Birmingham retail for anyone who has an eye for good style. This was further cemented when Universal Works partnered with the store to have a dedicated space in the country’s second biggest city. So, if you’re in town and got the craving for some Clarks or just good conversation and well chosen product, pay Liquor Store a visit.
If any of you fellow blue bloods, like Will, have a store either close or far that you are enamoured with then feel free to give us a shout. Now that this first feature is out there we want to keep pinning to ‘The Denim Map’, either with a feature like this one or just by adding to the Denim Map page that will be set up in the next couple of days. Hit us up in the comments, through our Contact page or via our various Instagram accounts and stay close peeps.