The cool boss award goes to GANT’s newish North American president, Justin Cupps, who’s bringing a touch of the Silicon Valley world to fashion. For starters he took the brand from their ho-hum midtown HQ to swanky new digs on Wall Street complete with a pool table and dream kitchen. We recently met with Cupps for a tour of the office and to get a hint as to where he’s taking the brand.
How they got downtown: “When I got here, they said, ‘Welcome to the team and…your lease is up!’ We had been in the other space for 10 years. We took the approach of finding a meaningful space, and we found this one after looking at 30 locations. I wouldn’t want to do that again. It was aggressive. There’s a lot of companies down here now, such as Hugo Boss and Condé. We want to be on the front side of pioneering.”
Moving to Wall Street: “The first thing was for our business to be innovative in everything we do. We’re a heritage brand and this is obviously an iconic location.”
Office design: “I can’t take any credit for the design. We wanted to create a great experience for our employees who come in here every day. This office is telling our team members that we’re only here to win the game, not just play the game. There’s no option for us but to push the business forward. When you come to a bigger space, I want every single person in here to be proud of what we’re creating. Changing the culture is the most important thing we can do before we change people’s minds.”
Pool anyone? “The idea was that entrepreneurial spirit and being a place where people can get serious about building a business, but we’re not solving cancer. This is the fun aspect of what we do. This is a nod to a fun and sophisticated element of what Gant is all about.”
How’s his game? “I don’t even get to play! When my son visited the office I played, but I can’t play until the business is exactly where I want it to be. We can be highly motivated and aggressive in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel so formal. We’re pulling in the Silicon Valley feel on the East Coast.”
Office vibe: “We’ve tapped into our history to find what make us great. We started in 1949, so everything in the office has a focus on the shirting business.”
Why we like him: “One of the biggest challenges to growing the business is getting people to not only see the changes in the product, but the vibe and energy. Every time people come in here, the best line is, ‘That’s not what I expected’ or ‘That’s not the GANT that I remember.’ I need people to be as into that vision, energy, and excitement as they are into the beautiful products we make. I’m a big believer that it starts with the culture and the team. It’s a fun and inspiring place to work. We’re in the game to win!”