By Mario Toneguzzi
The blossoming trend in men’s fashion these days led Joe Trubiano to a unique retail concept which began about four years ago in Montreal.
“We’re in the socks business. Men’s socks. I could tell there was something happening in menswear in general. It’s starting to flourish. There is a real growth in menswear in terms of percentage versus even ladies wear only because all of the sudden menswear is becoming a little bit more creative, different. A little bit more casual. It allows men to go out and do things a little bit differently than they did in the past. And that’s why I think the sales are coming certainly in menswear,” says Trubiano, founder and president of Twin Roads.
“Certainly one of the things that is totally new and different are socks. Socks have become the way for many men to sort of express their individuality. In the past when things were a little bit more dressy - you think of office wear suit and ties - ties were then perhaps the way men used to express their different personalities. Fewer and fewer men wear ties these days. One of the things that is out there that helps make men personal, a little bit different from the next guy is the socks that he wears. There’s definitely a boom in business in men’s socks. You see it all over the place. It really is a business that’s taking off.”
Twin Roads is primarily a business based through its website but Trubiano says about seven or eight boutique stores in Montreal carry its line of socks.
Previously, Trubiano used to manufacture and import ladies wear from China and Italy. He had sales representatives pushing out the product. Now, he is going to take that concept to socks as he’s finding sales reps in Canada and the U.S. who will be soliciting business through their connections in smaller stores throughout North America.
For next year, he’s considering setting up pop-up shops in malls for specific times of the year such as Father’s Day and Christmas.
“There is business to be had doing it that way. I think pop-up shops will be something that definitely will work very well for us,” says Trubiano, adding that he sees that concept expanding to other markets outside of Montreal.
Twin Roads sells socks made in Italy for about $12 a pair. They’re combed cotton with a very good quality. Next year, Trubiano says the company is going one step above in quality and will also offer mercerized cotton which is a bit finer and softer. It will sell for about $18.
“You get this incredible feeling when you touch them. Wow. Never mind when you put them on,” says Trubiano.
“The idea really is to create a better sock. Anybody who ever touches our socks or just feels them their first comment is ‘wow these really feel nice, they look great’.”
And socks have even become big news these days.
“The stuff he wears is pretty amazing. He’s obviously into it,” says Trubiano.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.