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By Ari Bendersky | Photo: by Quinn Wharton | August 21, 2017
Chicago men’s clothing brand Stock Mfg. Co. has created a stylish niche all its own.
Do you need apparel-industry experience to start an apparel company? If you’re the team behind hip Chicago men’s clothier Stock Mfg. Co., the answer is a firm no. Started in 2013 as an online retailer that often crowdsourced designs and, memorably, did a one-off collaboration with Miller High Life, the company, lead by CEO Jim Snediker, Creative Director Mike Morarity and Head of Product Tim Tierney, opened its current 900-square-foot shop in 2015 in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor. And it’s booming—in part because of its differences.
“We wanted to create more of a lounge with a comfortable homey feeling instead of a store with pushy sales reps,” says Snediker. “We’ll pour you a beer, you can shoot pool, read a magazine—and then the process of buying clothes happens to be organic to that experience.”
Stock, whose name pays homage to Chicago’s infamous Union Stockyards, counts guys between their early 20s to late 40s in tech and creative fields as core customers. The brand’s staples include light yet structured Japanese cotton short-sleeved shirts with bold patterns; olive organic cotton five-pocket chinos; and tan-colored, camo-lined Ranger jackets. All are crafted in Chicago by a four-person team in Stock’s bright and airy factory, blocks from the store, that follows a nimble “lean manufacturing” model.
“We create modern twists on staple garments,” Snediker says. “We’re not high fashion or reinventing the wheel. We create good shirting out of interesting fabric, pants that fit well and solid staple outerwear pieces.”
The well-made clothing has jumped from the street to the hospitality industry, as Stock currently designs uniforms for more than 40 uberhot restaurants and hotels in Chicago and beyond, like Alinea, Soho House, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Momotaro, RPM Steak, Publican Anker and Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons. What makes Stock the go-to brand? Creativity, dexterity and affordability.
“We deliver custom-designed solutions on a venue-by-venue basis that are still priced closer to, or cheaper than, off-the-rack solutions,” Snediker says. “We’re delivering a high-end product that falls into their budget.”
And what customer isn’t looking for that? Not bad for guys without experience. 2136 W. Fulton St.