In addition to being your resource for practical and inspiring lifestyle content, Mon Amye is your friend, your sounding-board, your motivator. She’s the one you turn to for advice and to share your successes, and that’s just what the Founders + Friends series does each month. [Plus, I love hearing from entrepreneurs and now I have a reason to ask after my favorite success stories!]
Today we’re talking to Pranav and Philip, the well-outfitted duo behind Hugh & Crye online menswear retailer. While you can find their highly desirable shirting online, they’re actually based right here in Washington, DC and so debuting as the first of my local Founders series! After reading a little bit on their site, I knew we had to get to know the guys who were rebelling against mass-market menswear. Read on to learn more about the co-founders behind Hugh & Crye:
[Amye] The Basics: Tell us about Hugh & Crye. What do you offer? Who are your customers?
[Pranav + Philip] Hugh & Crye is a menswear company based in Washington, DC. We introduced a new-to-world sizing system for men’s shirts based on the body types of lean and athletically built men, and then extended to other garments for the upper body. Our customer is an amazing guy – educated, active, and interested in improving himself however possible.
The BFFs: How did you and your business partner(s) originally meet and become friends?
Philip Soriano is my co-founder, and he started at Hugh & Crye as an intern, when I was the only one operating the business. There was an immediate trust factor, and we had a shared view of the world. Bonus was that he is great at all the things I’m not, and vice versa.
The Startup Phase: How did you first decide to go into business together?
I [Pranav] had started the company about 6 months before he joined – it was still the early days for us. He immediately took to the idea, and we both begin building the company, which at that stage meant getting as many guys in our shirts as possible and getting feedback from them on our new sizing system.
The Now: Briefly describe Hugh & Crye as it stands today. Who manages what aspects of [the business? Has that evolved as time passes?
We’re still a small team today; under 15 people. But big enough now where we have a bit more focus and aren’t all generalists. Philip and I share strategy, team building and product development. I uniquely oversee investor relationships, marketing, and web. Philip owns customer experience, retail, and operations. It has evolved over time, especially as we hire great people with deep expertise.
The Hard Stuff: What is the biggest obstacle you have faced while in business?
Everyday provides an obstacle of some sort. Really. My job is to ensure that we, as a company, can handle any obstacle we’re thrown at us. And so my greatest continuing obstacle is ensuring everyone else at the company has everything they need to excel. Everyone is different – in terms of our work style, what motivates us, when we’re most productive, and when we need a little push.
The Network: Everyone, and every business, relies on a network. Who do you turn to for support?
Our family, our friends. Our early customers who have become friends. And we often rely on each other – teammates!
The Wins: How do you celebrate your successes?
We could certainly do a better job at this, but a few things have arisen over the years. We now take a company-wide retreat for 2 to 3 days, twice a year, to really get ourselves out of the day-to-day. We mix having fun doing random things like ping-pong tournaments with brainstorms on the future of the company. It’s great to get “off campus” and really get to know each other.
Voila! Practical inspiration for your own big dreams, delivered to mes amies.
A huge thanks to Pranav and Philip for sharing their journey with us. Be sure to check out their current line, expanding from the original shirting now to feature blazers, ties and more (all according to their unique sizing system), available at Hugh & Crye.
I’m also mildly obsessed with their blog, and will be diving into their podcast The Protaganist soon too – what don’t these guys do?!? If you’re a fan of this Founders + Friends series, I’m pretty sure the podcast will be a winner too.
Know of a business that should be featured on Founders + Friends? Suggestions welcome at email@example.com anytime!
Liked this post? You might also like these past features from the Founders + Friends series featuring style and fashion: