When you think of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you may think of beer, cheese, or maybe some big sports fans. However, if you find yourself on Broadway in Milwaukee, you'll come across a men's store obsessed with delivering quality goods to their consumers called Milworks. Having a background in denim, they are focused on delivering the finest denim made in the United States or Japan along with many other high-quality pieces of clothing and accessories for men. You can find this in an amazing environment that is always welcoming and has superior service and great "vibes." We had the chance to speak with co-founder and CEO of Milworks, Jason Meyer on life at the store and in the Milwaukee area.
When designing your stores, what type of customer did you envision shopping there and has that evolved in any way?
When designing our shops, we really wanted this Great Lakes/Midwest vibe to them. We wanted our guests to immediately feel comfortable when walking in the spaces. Most fixtures are found and repurposed for retail, we have vintage rugs on the floors, antique photos layered on the walls. We play carefully curated music in the shops and burn Incensio incense which gives it the scent of a fireplace burning.
I've seen a lot of Instagram posts with denim and a lot of reviews talking about the quality of the denim you carry. In your eyes, what makes a great pair of jeans?
Denim is our background, we’ve been in denim in some capacity for over 20 years now so we’re a little picky about denim and who we carry. First and foremost we like to work with good people. Secondly, we’re fans of American and Japanese denim either Made in the USA or Japan. In our opinion, that’s the best you can get.
I notice you post pictures of different places and things saying that is the day's vibe. What kind of vibe do you want your stores to have when customers walk in?
Haha, The Daily Vibe pics have taken on a life of their own...but we all love those aspirational things...ie: vintage Porsches, beautiful beaches, modern homes, etc...Those “vibes” are used to set a tone for what we’re doing the shop. It helps create the story. But to reiterate what I said in question one, we just want the shop to feel “warm and cozy” and that is the #1 phrase used by people visiting our shop.
What are things that you look for in a brand when deciding if you should carry them?
Like I mentioned before, we like working with good people first and foremost but we also look for exclusivity, types of shops carried in, margins, and if the product is on sale much.
How would you describe Milwaukee or Wisconsin style those who have never visited the area?
My brother and I have both lived on the East and West Coast but we came back to Milwaukee because there is something special going on here. Cities like ours are going through these really great renaissances in the creative scenes, cultural scenes, food scenes and more. In fact, Vogue Magazine did an article on Milwaukee a few months back saying how it is this hidden gem that everyone needs to visit.
Is there a fad or trend you have seen in the world that you really like? If you did, what makes it resonate with you?
We’re not overly trendy or fad-driven so we tend to shy away from that idea...
In what ways does Fulton & Roark fit with your customer base?
It fits perfectly. Our guy is well-traveled, educated, has discretionary income and likes to try new things every now and then.
What piece of clothing should every man have in their closet? Anything that you’d love to see disappear from every man’s closet in America?
Whew, one thing is tough though there is a concept called the 5EP’s or Five Essential Pieces that every man should have:
1. Great pair of Dark Denim.
2. Nice Navy or Grey Suit.
3. Great Wallet & Belt.
4. Great pair of Wing Tips or Chelsea Boots.
5. And a great classic Top Coat.The one thing that should disappear is any kind of square toe shoes.