Pure Heat - The Purist Store Interview
It's been a while since we've shone love on a new streetwear spot, but when we came across San Jose's Purist we knew we had to get our questions on! What sets Purist apart is its dedication to their customer base mixed in with a premium selection of higher end brands such as Original Fake, Futura Laboratories and Huf to name a few. Celebrating their three year anniversary this year, it's been a hectic twelve months with the fellas collaborating with a host of their favourite labels and relocating to a brand new space. We caught up with the birthday boys to find out just what's been popping off in San Jose and how they've stayed afloat during such a critical time.
Hey guys, how's things in San Jose popping off?
Great! We're busy puttin' San Jose on the map - 10th largest city in the US but we're still relatively unknown. We're trying hard to change that.
You're in the middle of relocation - where are you moving and what's the reason for the move?
We didn't move far, about three blocks. But parking is easier, and the area is quieter in general. To house the brands we do we wanted a less urban storefront. Our store is a little tough to find but it's well worth it.
Tell us about Purist and how it all came to be?
I've always loved shoes and clothing, but the initial push was to do a sneaker boutique. However, the more we learned about the business the more the clothing became interesting, because with clothing you can truly set your store apart based on what you curate brand-wise.
You're incredibly selective on which brands you stock - a clever tactic in a market over saturated with product. What specifics convince you to stock each brand?
We've always believed that everyone carrying the same brands only hurts yourself and doesn't present anything new to your customers. Based on that principal we've been lucky enough to work with some great brands and build a solid track record. We're extremely proud to be able to bring the best of our genre to an often overlooked city. Style, quality, exclusivity. Over the last three years our customers have come to understand that there is a style to the products in our store. The items we house here work together to form certain looks. Things aren't just brought in based purely on popularity but rather very selectively so that a customer can put together a fit that makes sense. Quality is a trait that our products must have because the overall price points of our products are higher. The customer has to be able to see and understand why they are paying more. Lastly, exclusivity - why go to a boutique if everything there is everywhere else?
True that! The whole mantra of Purist is about a more streamlined approach to consumerism and customer service - talk us through the importance of having the ‘return customer' as a basis for the stores success...
The customer is the basis of any business, and a return customer is the bloodline for a business like ours. A return customer tells you that they find value in your business and they choose to support your store and vision.
How have you been able to succeed in this approach when so many have gone to desperate lengths to keep afloat?
We've been lucky enough to work with great people and brands. Aside from being able to carry great brands, every once in a while we get to work with brands we look up to and create something new with a collaboration. It's definitely one of the great perks of having a business like this when you see your name next to someone you've always respected.
2010 marks your three-year anniversary. Tell us about some of the brands you are working with on various projects to mark the celebration?
We've already released three collaborations so far this year with a few more coming. So far we've been able to work with a legend in streetwear and art - Futura and his brand Futura Laboratories. FL is one of our oldest brands and we've been lucky enough to work with them twice now. We were also able to work with The Lovewright Co. on one of my favourite collabs to date, the PLDC tee. It was something that captured both of our companies well in the fact that even though our styles are different, it all boils down to Liquor, Ladies, and Liver Failure. Our most recent release was with the Bay Area (and now nationwide) legend Huf. It was a very important release for us because HUF only collabs with the best, so we were able to really bring the Bay Area together. Our last collab will be with Japanese label NEXUSVII® for which we are the sole distributor in the US for. That collaboration tee will blow minds...
Can't wait. On top of which you have your own in-house label - who works on that and is it only available at Purist?
We just kicked off our inaugural season for our in-house label and it was available at Purist and our good friends at In4mation in Hawaii. We were very pleased to see the brand really take off and the line will be at more select shops this Fall.
What does 2011 hold for you guys? More tattoos?
We've got a few big plans in the making but we'll always strive to be relevant and stay true to our name.