Frank & Oak: A New Store for Montreal's Famous Menswear Start-Up

Frank & Oak are now closer than ever to the heart of their beloved Montreal with a new retail location at 1420 Stanley Street. When exiting Peel station, Montrealers cannot miss the three stories store on the other side of the street. A few steps away from the epicenter of commercial activity that is Ste. Catherine Street, this opening marks an important development in the startup’s already impressive business journey. Ethan Song, co-founder of the brand, is indeed very proud of this new chapter in Frank & Oak’s history.

Photo by Marc Cramer

Photo by Marc Cramer

CEO and Creative Director Ethan Song has always been passionate about art and technology. Despite his Bachelor of Applied Science in engineering from the University of British Columbia, he cites contemporary dance, photography, film and theatre as sources of great artistic interest. This duality of character became a clear advantage for him when he co-founded his online fashion retail business with a childhood friend, Hicham Ratnani.

The duo, which grew up in Montreal together, started Frank & Oak in 2012. The mission? “Help a generation of men dress and live well,” explains Song during an interview. Targeting Millennials – men from 20 to 35 years old – the online shop requires customers to sign up, entering their sizes and style preferences. Customized emails are sent to each member on a monthly basis in order to showcase new items based on individual criteria. Frank & Oak has now more than 2 million subscribers, 70% of them coming from the U.S. Once they are registered, men can navigate through a variety of original shirts, sweaters, pants, shoes, bags and accessories. Prices range from $30 for a t-shirt to $250 for a coat. “[We are] helping men buy the clothes and accessories they crave at reasonable prices.”

Photo by Marc Cramer

Photo by Marc Cramer

From its headquarters located on St. Viateur Street, the successful startup of 80 employees led by young men in their thirties is getting recognition abroad. Frank & Oak was profiled in prestigious publications such as Forbes and announced last September it had raised more than $20 million in funding — $15 million with the help of Goodwater Capital. Shy to reveal its latest numbers, the company announced $6 million in revenues back in 2013. Two years later, with its recent venture funding, Frank & Oak must be selling a whole lot of shirts — and making a whole lot of money.

This growing capital is being reinvested in many ways to expand the brand’s reach. Aside from the atelier-boutique in its Mile End head office, Frank & Oak has a permanent location in Toronto as well as pop up shops in major Canadian cities, in Boston and in Chicago. Last March, it was announced that six long-term pop up shops would be launched in the U.S. The philosophy behind their expansion is to loosen the gap between the online platform and the physical stores. With their retail space in downtown Montreal, Song explains that customers will be able to access their account in store and pick up their online orders at the same location.

Photo by Marc Cramer

Photo by Marc Cramer

When entering the new 5,200sq/ft store, customers will notice the delicious smell of brewed coffee from Café Névé, a coffee shop integrated to the Frank & Oak lifestyle. On the second floor, Cherc’s Barbershop offers four barber chairs to freshen up the look of customers. A lounge bar was also added to host monthly events that appeal to their target consumers, such as whiskey tasting. “We are doing private shopping events for our members, launches of special collections or collaborations as well as hosting conferences with key speakers about a lot of different subjects,” explains Sophie Desbiens, public relations manager at Frank & Oak. These features redefine retail experience with accommodations that bring pleasure to visitors and that will ultimately encourage their loyalty. “The response has been amazing so far,” says Desbiens. With an art installation by Lambert & Fils commissioned by LNDMARK and the store’s design made by Montreal-based design studio KANVA, Frank & Oak is unifying its retail space with its hometown.