56a East Street, Chichester, West Sussex
Who you need to know
Owner Matt Horstead
Brands include DSquared, Hugo Boss, Nicholas Deakins, Nudie, Orange, Original Penguin, Paul Smith Jeans, Stone Island, True Religion, Vivienne Westwood
When Matt Horstead was offered the opportunity at the age of 24 to buy menswear indie Dartagnan, which he then managed, he jumped at the chance.
That was nine years ago and in that time Horstead has created a menswear emporium stocking a mix of contemporary and high-end labels.
As well as overhauling the brand mix - keeping only Armani Jeans, Paul Smith Jeans and Stone Island from the original line-up - he increased the store’s floor space and added a third floor which houses top-end labels including Vivienne Westwood and Dolce & Gabbana.
“The third-floor space is only 300 sq ft but it has become a real destination for people living outside the area and has helped to introduce new customers to the store,” says Horstead.
As well as in-store initiatives such as a one-hour alteration service, store card and exclusive out-of-hours service, Dartagnan goes the extra mile for its customers. In the past year Horstead has held viewings at customers’ houses, paid expensive courier charges to deliver a pair of jeans to a valued customer for an evening out and taken a range of clothing to a customer’s hotel room an hour’s drive away.
One of the biggest learning curves since taking over the business was the launch of the transactional website in 2008. Following a few teething problems, the site really took off last year, with online turnover up 100% on 2009.
“I’m really proud that our customers trust our judgement in the brands we bring in. Two years ago when I introduced DSquared, some of my customers thought I was mad, but now it is one of our best-selling brands.”