We’ve been out in the market talking to showroom owners, and we recently caught up with Cory Heenan. You may have met Cory at a trade show or two in the past few seasons. Heenan’s been a player in the progressive market for a while now, and just last year he struck out on his own to open his very own showroom. Timothy Heenan Showroom is home to some of our favorite brands, including Billykirk, Unis, Alexander Olch, Craig Robinson, Chronicles of Never, Comune and Eskuche. After the jump, Cory talks business, and staying balanced.
When did you start your company? And why?
I started the showroom in December of 2008. It's been a life long goal of mine to own my own business. Unfortunately, it just happened to be during the worst economical time our industry has ever seen, but as history has proven during hardships there are fruitful opportunities out there. You just have to be committed and passionate about what you do.
What brands do you represent?
I currently represent: Billykirk, Unis, Alexander Olch, Craig Robinson, Chronicles of Never, Comune and Eskuche.
How has the recent events in the economy affected you and what have you done to stay afloat? I was fortunate to have a humble upbringing. In running my operation I have the ability to be lean and efficient. It's all about being thrifty and keeping it simple. Warren Buffet has worked out of the same office in Omaha, NE for over 40 years, with little to no renovations.
What services does your business offer that are out of the ordinary?
The one thing that I see lacking in our industry is proper customer service. That is by far the most important factor in running a successful showroom. I conduct a full West Coast road trip from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, CA every season to visit shops and show the new collections. At the end of the day, our industry is purely service based, I think some people forget that.
Being an entrepreneur and a small business owner has its rewards and challenges. How do you view the business?
I get to wake up everyday and go to work for myself. There is nothing like that feeling. Of course there are many more responsibilities and there is the constant stress of survival...but I embrace every challenge. It makes my job much more interesting.
Trendwise, where do you see the market heading? What are some strong sellers, and what are some up and coming best sellers?
Price points are the new trends. Designers now have to figure out how to make a beautiful product at a lower price. Before this decline in retail sales, I felt that some designers were getting away with selling product at a price that did not warrant the quality. No one is getting away with that anymore. Everyone has to be much more creative. The entire industry needed a little shake down.
If you decided to have a lifestyle change and do something else, what would you do ?
Forest park ranger in Big Sur.
What are you inspired by right now?
The L.L. Bean fall men's catalog cover, Ayn Rand, Thomas Friedman.
Describe your personal style.
Minimal would be the easiest way to describe it. I wear the same jeans almost everyday. I do a lot of shopping at Uni Qlo.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have been on a health and outdoor kick for the last few months. There is a great hike off the Coldsprings stop on the Metro North, and the area is at its peak foliage right now. I spend a lot of time at the restaurant Macao, my showroom is right above it and my girlfriend happens to be one of the partners. Not a bad deal for me, great food and drinks and a little more time with my girlfriend.
Do you have any news or upcoming special events you’d like the market to know about?
I have been keeping the BILLYKIRK brothers very busy. We are collaborating with J. Crew on a few belts for Spring 2010, and just delivered a felt trilby hat that we made exclusively for J.Crew. We also did a collaboration with the great people over at Opening Ceremony for their SS10 collection. If you can't wait for that to drop, there are great styles made up in exclusive color ways for Opening Ceremony in stores now. I'm also working with the UK Farfetch.com team on launching the Farfetch site in North America. We are partnering with a handful of the best retailers and are very excited about the launch later this month.