In one of the old streets of Alkmaar you'll find a small but successful men boutique founded by Charles den Iseger. As this is the first store to sell CPTN originals we're very happy to introduce Charlie & Sons. Besides this, we would like to know how the adventure started and what drives this beautiful boutique nowadays.
Please tell us something about your background and what motivated you to start Charlie & Sons.
I'm Charles den Iseger and from the age of 19 I worked in the retail industry. First as a window dresser and after some years I became a sales representative and salesman at various fashion brands.
When I was 52, I thought it was time to change things completely and I started my own clothing shop: Charlie & Sons, located in Alkmaar. During my time as a sales representative, I supplied clothing to stores and I noticed that many men shops looked a bit 'dull' and their collection was selected carefully and very basic. I believed, that with a new concept I could do better and be an asset to men in and around Alkmaar.
You introduced some beautiful brands in your store, how do you choose which brands fit the Charlie & Sons identity?
Charlie & Sons is a tough men's store with a vintage look, in which mainly Scandinavian brands can be found. The store shows a mix of different styles, as long as it looks cool.
I purchase brands based on my own taste. I buy what I think is beautiful; and not necessarily what can be found in fashion magazines. I think it is important to stay close to yourself, this means I sell what I personally like and support. I also prefer items with special prints and items you don't bump into on every corner of the street.
What are some of your favorite pieces on offer?
My favorite items are mainly shirts, sweaters, and Tees. Often they come in multiple prints, colors, and fabrics; you will not see these items at the major fashion stores.
What makes Charlie & Sons stand out, compared to other male boutiques?
I think the strength of Charlie & Sons is mainly the personal contact with my customers. There is a relaxed atmosphere, a sort of living room feeling, and the service we offer is very good, if I might say so.
Also despite the many Scandinavian brands, the store is definitely not minimalistic and clean. It's the combination of a vintage look, with Scandinavian brands and cool accessories, that make Charlie & Sons stand out.
Do you have tips for other starting entrepreneurs?
My tip for starting entrepreneurs/shop owners is: stay true to yourself. We can all copy others, but this also creates more competition. So make sure your collection stands out with special items. Pay attention to the appearance of the store: move or change something in your store every now and then.
And do not underestimate the power of social media, we can all agree this is an important part of every business nowadays. Recently Sammy Druppers started to do the social media for Charlie & Sons, especially Instagram. Every week she visits Charlie & Sons to photograph the new collection, edit the photo's and share them. Because of the time she invests in Instagram, we see our account grow. The new Instagram fits also very well with the look and feel of the store!
Visit the webshop of charlieandsons, or the Instagram Charlie & Sons.
What are your plans for the future with Charlie & Sons, and do you have time to think about new challenges?
My plans for the future are; growing on social media, stay exclusive and above all enjoy the business!
Charlie & Sons, Hekelstraat 29, 1811 BL, Alkmaar