When you walk into Hamilton & Adams you should be curious. That’s what their founders wanted. Created by brothers Andrew Addotta and Clark Chaine in Kingston, New York, Hamilton & Adams focusses on showcasing all the Hudson Valley has to offer and bring all the unique brands of the world to Hudson Valley. You’ll find their store in the heart of Kingston’s quaint downtown adding to the store’s charm. Inside, you will see Hamilton & Adams offers an amazing atmosphere and some incredibly unique clothing. There are also some other great finds for the home, the bar, and much more. No matter who you are shopping for, you will find something that they will love and may have never seen before. Recently, we sat down with Co-Founder, Andrew Addotta to learn more about one of the brains behind one of our favorite stores.
Your website says Hamilton & Adams is a curiosity brand. How would you explain what this means to someone who had never heard of your store?
We’re really focused on introducing brands to our local customers here and finding new brands and products to introduce the world to from here. So kind of being a hub by taking Hudson Valley brands and showing them to the world and bring brands from the world and showing them to Hudson Valley.
It says you didn’t really have any business plans when creating Hamilton & Adams so when you were getting started, what goals or expectations did you have for your store?
The goal was first of all that it was authentic to us, that it was different from other things you might see on the market. That it was self-sustaining, it has to be financially viable, and fun. We try to create a really fun in-store environment as well as an experience--whether it’s a shopping experience or you’re just hanging around, or whatever it may be.
Kingston New York is full of history but there are also a ton of other great places to visit in the Hudson Valley. Are there any hidden gems or underrated places you like to go to?
I think one of the greatest things about this area is that every town has something that’s interesting. Before we had this business we would just get in the car and go someplace for the day and that was where our curiosity has always been. It’s like, let’s go check out Hudson today and see some new businesses or some new artists we haven’t seen before and along the way we can stop at two other towns and see a restaurant or a shop, or a bookstore, or a gallery. There’s something unique 20 minutes away from wherever you are. It’s almost like the whole Valley is a hidden gem.
How important is it to you to pay homage to Kingston and the rest of upstate New York when developing your own t-shirts and apparel?
Incredibly important! We just felt like that was something we needed to do because people wanted to buy things that we were developing because people view us as an authority on the region and it was really critical that we did that as fast as possible and we are continuing to expand that weekly.
When you look at pieces to bring into your store, what are the top characteristics you look for before you approve it?
It is a mix of if I believe in that company’s mission and business operations and are they a good company that I want to support. Would I want to shop with them individually as a consumer? Are they easy and fun to work with? Do they sell a cool product that has a really great benefit at the end-use? Does it have a design aesthetic that matches ours or is cool and unique for what space they are in? We actually sell these candles and matches and you wouldn’t think we’d sell a lot of matches but they actually come in these beautiful vessels and they are all hand blown glass. We’re really an apparel and gift store and nobody else does stuff like that.
Same thing with your colognes. We did not want to carry cologne at first. We were carrying other Fulton & Roark but cologne is so personal and really hard but we just tried it with four scents and it was a hit immediately. The packaging is great. So it’s if the company is cool or unique is it something is it maybe something somebody has heard of but didn’t know where to get it? We don’t carry many big brands. You’re not going to come in here and get Hugo Boss. The biggest brand we probably sell is Alternative Apparel and we only sell a few different styles for them. I don’t want to open a store for any of these other brands, we opened our business to sell things that we like and that’s why people keep coming back here.
You told me Fulton & Roark is your top skincare brand. Why do you think our products do so well with your customer base?
I think it is the perfect mix where everything is 100%. It’s a great product that my partner, my manager, and I use so we can talk about it really well. The packaging is beautiful, the price point is perfect, it is accessible but it is not completely entry-level. Everything is just right.
What advice would you give to someone going to your store for the first time?
That’s a great question. Please bring your dog and don’t be afraid to ask for a drink!