Alexander founded Imprint (formerly Need) in 2013, which was quickly followed by Foremost, offering two editorial e-commerce concepts for men and women in 44 countries. Imprint, a curated retailer and lifestyle publication, eschewed models and instead utilized local businessmen to show off their carefully curated products, mixing together the gloss of a men’s magazine and an independent retailer.
Foremost, Alexander’s second brand, offered affordable, American-made clothing for men and women, reaching into a market that is currently under-served by fast-fashion concepts around the world. Producing affordable American-made clothing but not on a mass scale, instead producing five or six quality products, offering them for a short period of time, and releasing them alongside short films and interviews.
Setting Imprint and Foremost apart from other retailers across the country is more than just the clothing. Everything offered was carefully curated with Alexander creating a hybrid experience between media and retail. By focusing on a small number of products, the company is able to ensure better quality and a more meaningful overall experience, cultivating customer relations at a time when fashion is cheap and fast.
Imprint and Foremost have seen rapid growth, and with the recent introduction of the Imprint for iOS in April, their customer base exploded. After launching on the App Store, Imprint was featured on the front page of the App Store in 79 countries within two hours of launch.
The app promises “curated clothing, personal styling, and lifestyle journal for the modern gentleman” offering users pieces from the flagship collections, access to weekly collaborations, as well as real-time personal styling, advice, and input from fashion experts. Imprint ensures that users never leave the house looking less than completely put together. Now, with the acquisition, Alexander intends for these signature experiences to be enhanced as part of Q Fifty One’s brands, Q Clothier and Rye 51.
Each collection offered by Imprint is comprised of ten to fifteen items offering everything a shopper would need for a put together look from top to bottom. Tops and bottoms, shirts and shoes, and all accessories from a money clip to sunglasses can be found on Imprint.
The introduction of the app left Alexander and his team in an interesting spot. With explosive growth they knew they either had to continue to fund-raise and grind to ensure they were able to continue to offer their wares, run smaller and continue to scratch the surface of their potential, or entertain an acquisition. Upon meeting with Raja Ratan, founder and CEO of Q Fifty One, Alexander quickly realized that an acquisition would be the best move for his company.
Enter Q Fifty One. Founded in 2003 by Raja Ratan, Q Clothiers is a world-renowned purveyor of custom suits while Rye 51 offers bespoke and high quality menswear and accessories. Q Fifty One boasts physical locations in four cities in the US and is expanding quickly. Ratan, a second generation haberdasher, has changed the face of menswear by focusing upon experiential commerce in their stores, growing his self-funded enterprise to eight figure revenues, rapidly expanding customer bases, and more. Now, with the acquisition of Edition Collective, Ratan is opening the door to more growth and expansion through mobile and the web.
Alexander and Ratan have been quietly negotiating the acquisition since early August, with Edition Collective remaining extremely quiet during this entire period. When Imprint and Foremost sold out of all of their merchandise they did not curate new collections, instead allowing Alexander to entirely focus on the marriage between Q Fifty One and Edition Collective. By keeping all channels entirely closed–no teaser Instagram photos to lure customers back and with a website promising something an “enormous update,” Edition Collective’s customer’s have been patiently waiting to learn what comes next.
Alexander and Ratan are excited about the future, with Alexander taking on the role of President and CEO under the new brand, Q Fifty One Digital, with the ultimate goal of creating a new strategy for Q Clothier and Rye 51 expanding to a customer base around the world. This will allow Ratan’s team to continue to focus on their physical expansion in the United States market, cultivating careful growth, and ensuring the longevity of the two brands.
In discussing the ability to leverage the Edition Collective approach to e-commerce, fashion, and media Ratan states, “We feel confident that our exceptional brick and mortar experiences will be done justice on the web. The opportunities are endless.”
For loyal Edition Collective customers this means endless new opportunities to experience the carefully cultivated clothing, albeit without the Imprint and Foremost brand names. Nonetheless, their experiences and signature approaches will live-on in earnest, giving access to countless new customers ensuring continued customer loyalty.