Serial entrepreneur Rick Hindin is at it again.
The lifelong Washington businessman who brought you the iconic Britches of Georgetowne clothier, the Chicken Out Rotisserie chainlet, Adworks advertising agency and Asterisks business consultants is resurrecting the Britches brand.
Under Rescue Dog, Hindin has bought back the trademark rights to the Britches brand and is teaming with a new business partner, Steve Wayne, who owns street-fashion sportswear maker Bum Equipment.
“I’m excited by ideas like this,” said Hindin, 73, who lives near Friendship Heights in Montgomery County, Md. “I love the brand. And second of all, it’s right for the times.”
Hindin said he and Wayne view Britches as a platform that can appeal to both millennials and the baby-boomer segment, ages 25 to 65.
Rebecca Trump, an assistant professor of marketing at Loyola University’s Sellinger School of Business in Baltimore, said it’s not easy going after both boomers and millennials.
“Trying to capture both is tough,” she said. “They are distinct markets. What appeals to one may not appeal to another.”
Indeed, menswear has been moving away from the suit-and-tie classic to a more casual, tailored look, and a host of new names such as Bonobos have been grabbing attention.
The first of new Britches clothing should hit stores and online sites in a little more than a year, Hindin said.
Hindin signed on Wayne’s company to license Britches trademarks to major manufacturers in a variety of product segments, starting with clothing, shirts, belts, ties and jewelry.
Hindin will retain control over fashion direction, quality specifications, retail prices and distribution, which means nothing can be sold under the Britches brand without his approval.
Hindin pitched Wayne on the idea at Wayne’s Long Island beach house, and they agreed on the deal. Hindin bought the trademark after it was abandoned by the previous owner.
Hindin and business partner David Pensky started Britches in 1967 with $3,000, half of it borrowed, in a 600-square-foot retail space called the Georgetown Slack Shop. A year later they changed the name to Britches of Georgetowne, with the “e” left on the end.
The two young businessman turned it into one of trendiest men’s clothiers on the East Coast, specializing in the sort of updated classics for which Brooks Brothers is known.
The store became a mecca for fashion-conscious men across Washington. Customers included legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, former Virginia senator John Warner, sports agent Donald Dell, businessman Herb Haft, CBS anchorman Dan Rather and musician/songwriter Marvin Hamlisch.
Hindin eventually expanded into a casual line, Britches Great Outdoors.
Hindin and Pensky sold Britches to CML, a publicly traded conglomerate, in 1988 for $50 million, when it had more than 100 locations.
CML sold the company two years later. It eventually grew into 197 stores across the country with more than $200 million in sales before imploding.
Hindin said reacquiring the legacy brand was not expensive, with most of the costs coming from fees and attorneys. He did not say how much he and Wayne are investing, but said “licensing does not require an enormous amount of money.”
“We imagine that this brand will be of interest to folks like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, maybe Neiman Marcus,” he said. “The millennial line will be more contemporary, tighter fitting and more reflective of what millennials wear. The boomer line is a reinterpretation of traditional classics, which would be what I would wear.”
Trump said the fact that the founder of Britches is trying to resurrect the brand is its best chance at succeeding.
“The founder can revitalize the brand,” she said. “He really cares. He can bring the vision back. He can bring the success back. It seems like Britches had a really loyal following, and there are a lot of people who miss that.”
Thomas Heath, The Washington Post