Nestled in the quiet California beach community of Venice, Tradesmen LA caters to the stylish man with a sophisticated sensibility without being too overdressed. Founders, Ruben Leal and Doug Behner carry a vast array of basics and quality pieces that punctuate the lifestyle of various tradesmen and share with us how the story of M.Nii lives on inside the walls of this modern menswear store.
What drew you to the idea of opening a store like Tradesmen LA in Venice, CA?
Doug: I grew up in Indiana with dreams of moving to the West Coast. Before that, I was living in Phoenix, where I first fell in love with the desert. From there I landed in San Francisco which I thought was going to be the iconic west coast beach city and soon realized it wasn’t. To me, Venice is the iconic California town I grew up thinking about with miles of beach, sun and an air of optimism.
Ruben: My background is pretty similar; in fact, I grew up in the desert in New Mexico. I lived in San Francisco and like Doug, worked for The Gap headquarters where we met. We were overseeing men’s and women’s visual merchandising. We both wanted a change and that led us to open Tradesmen LA.
How do you describe the ethos behind Tradesmen LA?
Ruben: The whole idea is that we wanted to create a quality, dependable and easy-to-understand environment that was also inspiring for people. We also wanted to appeal to men of all trades and provide clothes that could already build on a wardrobe that someone already owns.
Doug: There are a lot of great stores that focus on one aspect of menswear like workwear or heritage but not how those clothes fit into your wardrobe. We wanted to be realistic about how pieces like that fit into a guy’s closet.
Your customer sounds like he identifies with the story behind a brand like M.Nii and others you carry.
Ruben: A lot of people who come in really want to know about the clothes and the story behind it. Talking to someone one-on-one really helps them get excited about it. A lot of times with M.Nii our customers will even take the time to read the tag.
Tradesmen LA was one of the first stores to carry M.Nii from the beginning. What about the brand most resonated with you?
Ruben: We got to see the brand during the initial development at The Pop Studio offices before we even opened the store. Everyone behind the brand was so passionate about the story and the clothes. Both Doug and I shared in the enthusiasm. Each collection is deceptively simple with its classic design and modern feel. The quality is there and the fit is perfect.
Doug: We also love stripes and you’d be surprised to find how hard it is to find good stripes!
Visit Tradesmen LA at 1807 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice, CA