In today’s world, where economic instability is still affecting workers and recent college graduates are fumbling to start paying off their student loans, the affordable accessories and office supplies from the digital retail store Maxton Men are things every guy can afford.
We’re now seeing a boom in luxury menswear all over the world despite financial hardships. From high-end mens-only shoe stores and men’s-only malls to Versace for H&M, the mens retail industry has lost a sense of affordability.
Kishan Madamala saw the start of this change and began work on a new retail experience that would hopefully satisfy the budgets of a lot of men. Maxton Men now stands as the place for guys everywhere to grab all their accessories — whether it’s belts, ties, or notebooks and pens — at a reasonable price.
The Menswear Journal: What’s the origin story behind Maxton Men?
Kishan Madamala: Well, I come from a retail background. After college, I spent a couple of years managing a Target store, and that was a fantastic experience in learning how to run a real business. I also loved the constant action in retail – there’s always something new to try, and you can immediately see the results. I left to get my MBA at Harvard, and then returned to Target, this time working in strategy for Target.com. When I was there, I was able to see the online retail ecosystem at a very high level. I could see where the gaps were. I always wanted to run my own retail company, and decided to leave to give it a go with Maxton Men.
MWJ: Why start a business centered around accessories?
KM: The market for men’s accessories is very fragmented. Most guys have a belt from one place, a wallet from another, an iPad or iPhone case from somewhere else, etc. I wanted to bring well-designed items in these categories under one umbrella. I wanted to create a place that guys could count on for affordable, quality accessories and details, and make that experience effortless.
MWJ: A lot of businesses begin with founders feeling like something’s missing in their industry. Did you feel the same way?
KM: Absolutely. It seemed to me that the current men’s online retailers were all going after high-end customers — men that could afford to pay $100 for a tie or $300 for a bag. Sure, the margins are better in these businesses, but I think there are a heck of lot more customers in the middle part of the market, and their needs are underserved.
MWJ: What makes Maxton Men’s shopping experience more unique than other accessories-oriented retailers?
KM: First, I think we have a more curated, less cluttered experience. If you’re shopping for a brown leather belt, do you really need to see 28 different types? I think we can give you 4-5 options in that micro-category, and that’s enough to feel like you’re choosing, but not too many where it’s burdensome. Secondly, we bring guys a premium-level experience — free shipping, beautiful site design, etc. — without charging an arm and a leg. It’s still amazing to me that a lot of online retailers charge $9 to ship you a shirt. It doesn’t cost that much! They know that. The customer knows that. Let’s just be more honest.
MWJ: What three fashion accessories do you think men should check out this season?
KM: 1. Wool ties. It’s winter and wool has a natural warmth to it. These ties have a timeless element to them, and I think that makes them perfect for events around the holidays.
2. Pocket Notebooks. There’s still something to be said for writing things down, and getting a small, occasional escape from the digital world. Moreover, these can add a punch of color to your look. We have a good selection from Moleskine and Field Notes. I carry one of the red ones on me almost all the time. It makes me feel more on top of my thoughts.
3. Beer Bottle Moustaches. I’m not huge on novelty items, but these are awesome if you’re hosting a party. As a host, you want people talking to each other, and people they might not yet know. These are a nice little way to break the ice for everyone. We’re also giving half the profits to charity to support Movember and prostate cancer research, so that’s a great cause to support.
MWJ: What men’s brand is most important to you or is most appealing to you?
KM: I like brands… built with a similar philosophy to Maxton Men — provide the best possible quality, in terms of materials and construction, at a reasonable price. Herschel Supply and Every Man Jack are two that come to mind.
MWJ: What’s your number one style tip for men these days?
KM: Figure out what your attitude is or what you want it to be. Your style should flow from that. Are you precise, put together and detail-oriented? Or are you off-the-cuff, spontaneous, and a little rough around the edges? You can imagine how those different personalities would reflect in apparel and accessories. Your personality and style should be congruent — it conveys authenticity.
*Lead photo: MaxtonMen.com