Taylor and Becca Romero, founders of Spruce Barber and Clothier, knew how important it was to create a welcoming atmosphere for Denver shoppers. After all, 85% of a business’s customers live or work within a five-mile radius of its location. So in June of 2015, they opened their one-stop shop specifically geared towards male consumers. Spruce was somewhere you could get a shave and a haircut (though you’ll have to pay slightly more than two bits), as well as an entire outfit and advice about personal grooming and style. And while Spruce is still a style destination, it’s recently become a little bit more significant.
In the beginning, the couple’s focus was on their retail location. This makes sense, as brick and mortar stores generate a massive 94% of all retail sales. But the couple felt as if there was more they could do to provide their unique services to a wider audience.
Thus, Spruce Tech was formed. While they’re still running their successful brick and mortar location, their mission now has a digital spin. They recently debuted their new e-commerce platform that’s geared towards male shoppers’ need to see and purchase an entire outfit. This stands in stark contrast to how most women shop: picking out pieces to incorporate into their existing wardrobes.
At present, their e-commerce platform has five preset outfits that represent the typical male styles you’d find in Colorado. This, the founders feel, simplifies the process and eliminates the need to discern which pieces would work with items shoppers already own.
“Whether your style is streetwear-influenced, or more casual Colorado done up with accessories, or even cowboy with a newer touch, they are styles you’ll see around,” says assistant head of retail, Zach Schulman.
The outfits center around comfort, function, and a distinct point of view. This is intentional, as Becca Romero points out: “[Colorado guys] want something that transitions well from work to going out or to keep up with our changing weather. There’s also a lot of state pride that goes into their shopping and deciding to support local businesses.”
Spruce’s founders want to support other local businesses, too. Their newest technological development is still in the works, but they’re offering it to other brick and mortar businesses to help bring them into the digital age. Sprucebot, their wireless interface, is similar to Amazon’s Alexa in that it can make the shopping experience a whole lot easier. When you connect to the store’s wifi, Sprucebot will make coupons pop up on your phone to enhance your experience. In the future, the Romeros hope to implement a system wherein Sprucebot can purchase your items for you without going through a tedious checkout process, opting to bill you for your purchases later on.
While that technology is still on the horizon, Spruce is doing its part to make the purchasing experience more inclusive in the present. The idea of a male style has been stigmatized as being effeminate or vain in the past, but the retailer is trying to make those traditional gender roles irrelevant.
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, feel good, and presenting yourself in a positive way,” says Becca.
The retailer expands these beliefs beyond the male client scope, as well. Transgender, gender fluid, or female customers who want to wear Spruce’s clothes are welcomed with open arms without judgment.
“With sexuality and gender identity becoming more fluid, it sounds obvious to not be discriminatory, but there are barbershops where people are told to come after hours or just aren’t accepted at all. We welcome everybody,” says the couple.
While Spruce’s ideology isn’t necessarily well-represented throughout the nation’s retailers, they are among the cutting-edge shops that are moving the country in this new accepting direction. The idea that fashion is for everyone is a mantra that clotheshorses around the world can get behind.