We feel very lucky to work with so many incredible retailers. One of them is Manready Mercantile in Houston, TX. We chatted with Rob Erni about quality products, stellar customer service, and making cocktails from scratch. If you find yourself around Houston, definitely stop by their brick and mortar shop in the Historic Heights district.
You guys have an awesome online and brick-and-mortar presence. Can you share with us how you got started?
Manready Mercantile started in 2012 by making soy candles, bath salt, and bubble bath in an apartment and going door to door selling them at wholesale to retailers. The idea was to take products that were normally marketed, packaged, and sold to women and make them ok for men too. We quickly outgrew the apartment and had to find a space – at the time we weren’t sure if we could really swing a joint production and retail space.
It wasn't until March of 2014 that we opened our brick and mortar. We only had enough money for one month's rent! We signed the lease on March 1st and did the impossible by opening in less than four weeks. One year later, we couldn't be happier with the turnout!
Wow, that's impressive! As a retailer, do you guys feel it's important to have a strong mission and values?
The general public has a massive amount of online and in-store options. To set yourself apart, you really have to be different. This means treating every guest with a firm handshake, telling them our story, and providing personalized attention. Most shops simply say "let me know if you need anything" when patrons come in. We cater to each and every one of our clients’ needs. Folks work hard for their money and we're there to make sure they're well taken care of and have the experience of a lifetime at Manready Mercantile. Heck, we even teach them how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail from scratch while they shop.
On top of making delicious cocktails from scratch, you guys are also producing your in-house brand, T.S. & Weaver & Co.
This is a separate line that focuses on durable goods such as leather wallets, belts, bags, and even oddities like our infamous 24k gold axes with hand painted handles. We use top quality leathers and materials to hand make amazing goods for the man that has everything and deserves the best. We do it all in-house, train new employees, and pay attention to every little detail.
We love your attention to detail, quality, and service. Which is why we love having Ursa Major in your shop! What are some of your requirements when you bring a new brand into your retail space?
We look at overall branding first. Products have to be expertly packaged and of the best quality available. We make sure our customers know that if we bring something in, they're getting the most bang for their buck. We love products with a story and really focus on the smaller, up and coming brands. Anybody can go out and get the mass distributed brand names, but we like the goods that are hard to find and only work with select shops. We take pride in working with brands like Ursa Major and our goal is to help every brand we work with by getting their brand experience out to the Houston market and beyond.
And we take pride in working with you! As you're aware, we're all about Living Major. What does Living Major mean to you?
Living Major to us means waking up every day and owning it. We strongly feel that you should do what you love, set high goals and have big dreams. Oh, and work your ass off to make it happen!
Love it! Play hard, work hard. If we were to visit Houston, what are the local haunts you'd take us to?
We do a little bit of everything down here. We love a good cocktail from our buddy Morgan Weber’s neighborhood Italian restaurant Coltivare. We seek inspiration at our museums like The Menil Collection and The Museum of Fine Arts. Part of the team skateboards at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, while others go quail hunting out in the country. A lot of the team is into photography so you'll often find them trekking across town finding that one perfect shot that will last a lifetime. The crew just bought paintball tickets and we're looking to have a one year anniversary party soon that's family oriented and has activities for all ages. Point is . . . we try to mix it up and live life to the fullest! Like we always say: Work Hard, Live Well!
Sounds like the crew at Manready Mercantile is certainly Living Major! Thanks guys for chatting with us.