SNYDER DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM THE RESTLESS AND ECCENTRIC ATMOSPHERE OF NEW YORK CITY LIFE. “CORRIDOR IS ABOUT CAPTURING ITS VIBRANT CULTURE IN OUR CLOTHES AND STITCHING THEM INTO OUR GARMENTS”, SNYDER SAYS. WE SAT DOWN TO INTERVIEW SNYDER AND ASK HIM ABOUT HIS UPCOMING SPRING COLLECTION, WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON, AND WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT AS A NYC BASED BRAND IN A CROWDED MARKET.
DAN, THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. TELL THE AUDIENCE THE QUICK STORY OF HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN MENSWEAR? FROM THE THINGS WE’VE READ, YOU SEEM TO HAVE STARTED FROM A PLACE OF STRAIGHT PASSION FOR TAILORING AND MEN’S CLOTHING.
While working for the government and living in DC, I was forced with having to wear a bunch of terrible fitting suits and wanted to get them tailored. I stumbled upon this little shop, which is where I kind of fell in love with idea of tailoring. My obsession drove me to a place where I actually went back to school to become a tailor. I began making shirts, mainly for myself, but soon my friends asked for them. Eventually I started reaching out to stores and they said yes. I never really thought about doing it as a business; I was merely doing something I enjoyed doing.
IF YOU CAN, WHAT DID IT TAKE BOTH MONETARILY AND MENTALLY TO START A CLOTHING BUSINESS IN NYC? YOU NEED TO HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE (AND BUYERS) IN A PRODUCT BEFORE YOU START PRODUCING HERE. TAKE US BACK TO THAT MOMENT YOU COMMITTED TO CORRIDOR FULL TIME. WAS THERE ANY FEAR? MAYBE EXCITEMENT?
Initially, I had no network of people to help get things started. I didn’t know how to manufacture, nor did I didn’t know how to industrialize the process of making shirts by hand. I just had to learn what I could and asked around and hustled. New York is a place where you have access to everything. Being in New York allows you to make mistakes on your journey. To be able to experiment with fabrics, see things, touch things, talk to vendors…It’s definitely both a mental and monetary investment, but if you really want to grow something, you need to dive in with both feet. New York was always the goal. I don’t think I could have started this business if I wasn’t here.
OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, THERE’S BEEN AN INCREASE IN YOUNG MENSWEAR BRANDS AND IT IS CLEAR THAT THE INDUSTRY IS GROWING. HOW HAS THIS GROWTH AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS PARTICULARLY ONLINE? DO YOU FIND CORRIDOR’S ONLINE SALES GROW WHILE THE IN-PERSON BOUTIQUE SALES DECREASING, OR DOES YOUR BRAND STILL NEED TO BE SOLD STORES? DO YOU LIKE THIS NEW MODEL OF SALES BY ONLINE? THOUGHTS?
Well, I thinks it’s important to sell in multiple places, but I really value the people I’ve met and those that have been able to connect my brand to their customers. E-commerce is great, but to have someone else who believes in your brand and its story and having them tell that story from their perspective is very special. Direct-to-Consumer is great, but can sometimes feel a bit commercial. I really like connecting with my customers.
IS RUNNING CORRIDOR A PHYSICALLY TAXING BUSINESS ON YOU, SINCE YOU’RE SO HANDS-ON WITH YOUR BRAND? HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK DO YOU SPEND WORKING? BREAK DOWN WHAT A TYPICAL DAY CONSISTS OF FOR OUR READERS?
It’s extremely taxing physically. I started this business out of my six-floor walkup. Those 50lb boxes made me feel like I was a 60 year old man in Nebraska shoveling snow. It was grueling. I’ve since come up with a few solutions to help ease the physical labor. We have a new warehouse space, which is nice. Generally though, I work from about 10AM to about 2AM the next morning. I have 1 employee and 2 interns, but it’s a small team. I think the polished branding is what allows Corridor to appear larger than it actually is. The images, the websites, the press, we’ve worked extremely hard to put out great products.
YOU PRODUCE ALL YOUR GARMENTS IN NEW YORK CITY AND MAKE SURE THAT ALL YOUR GARMENTS REFLECT THAT. WHAT ABOUT THIS CITY INSPIRES YOU ON A DAILY BASIS? GIVE US ONE MOMENT WHERE YOU STOOD BACK AND SAID, “THIS IS WHAT CORRIDOR IS ALL ABOUT.”
We’re a New York brand, but we’re inspired by the entire Northeast corridor, pun intended! That very American, suburban, sophisticated way of dressing is what Corridor NYC is all about. I think what’s interesting about the city centric view is that places like New York, Boston and DC really accept the modern contemporary feel our design portrays. I’ve labeled Corridor as this type of “New American Sportswear” because I really feel like we design clothes for the way people live.
WHAT KIND OF GARMENT NUMBERS DO YOU TYPICALLY PUT OUT WITH SUCH A SMALL TEAM AT CORRIDOR? WE’VE READ THAT YOU ONLY DO ABOUT 200 OF EACH GARMENT. YOUR PRODUCTS ARE IN 80 STORES DOMESTICALLY/INTERNATIONALLY, AT SOME POINT DO YOU NEED TO EXPAND YOUR OPERATION TO ACCOUNT FOR MORE STOCK OR DO YOU FOLLOW THE IDEA THAT MAKING LESS IS MORE?
I’m not against growth of the brand, but like I mentioned before, I want a very specific story to be told. Every time I see someone wearing our shirts on the street it’s the biggest thrill to me! I want Corridor to be a big business, I want everyone to be wearing my shirts, but I also don’t want the brand to lose its soulfulness.
YOUR SHIRT USES A THREE PANEL FIT, NOT TYPICAL WITH MOST SHIRTING BRANDS, BUT IT GIVES YOUR SHIRTS A MORE FITTED SILHOUETTE THAT DOESN’T RESTRICT. IT’S A BIT MORE LABOR INTENSIVE, BUT REALLY SHOWS YOUR ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS. WHY DO THE DETAILS MATTER WITH YOUR SHIRTS AND WHAT ARE SOME OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR SHIRT THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT SEE ON THE SURFACE?
I really focus on our fabrics. I think that all of our fabrics are really different. In terms of construction, shirts like our plaids are so focused on the details that every shirt is matched so that the pattern is flawless. Some of those details are lost to basic consumers, but the Corridor customer is a bit different. Their looking for something different and of great quality.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT 50’S SHIRTING THAT REMAINS A CONSTANT SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR CORRIDOR? YOUR SHIRTS ARE ALWAYS UNIQUE AND INTERESTING. IS THAT BECAUSE OF THE ITALIAN AND JAPANESE FABRICS YOU USE?
I think is just the perfect cut. The American body type has broad shoulders and a tapered waist and really requires a moderate collar. The collar is really important, especially the collar to placket ratio. A lot men’s shirting get this ratio wrong and a shirt can look off. I think we have mastered that ratio for our shirts.
YOU’VE MOVED ON FROM JUST PRODUCING SHIRTS AND NOW CREATE ALL SORTS OF MEN’S GARMENTS. PANTS, SUITS, OUTERWEAR…EVEN NOW A FOOTWEAR COLLABORATION WITH VICTORY SPORTSWEAR. WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR CORRIDOR?
The two things I focus on are First, a really great product. I know my shirts aren’t cheap, but I think that with our one-of-kind fabrics and the made in America construction, the value is actually really great for what you’re getting. Second is creating things that compliment these amazing shirts. We’re actually going to start producing some beautifully made baseball caps, made out of Connecticut.
DO YOU THINK CORRIDOR’S SUCCESS WILL TRANSLATE TO A FLAGSHIP STORE ANYTIME SOON?
I think it’s a total dream! I was close once to signing a lease, but I think it turned out for the best. With any business you learn that there are other factors that you need to think about when taking the leap. Is the cash flow good, do you have stability? I think I want to be in a much more manageable, stable place where I can make the right decision. I think when we do open one, it will definitely be small place. As much as I want to open a store, right now it wouldn’t be a great business decision.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE FROM YOUR UPCOMING SPRING/SUMMER COLLECTION? WE’RE IN THE MARKET FOR A SHORT-SLEEVED OPTIONS FOR OUR BEACH ESCAPES. THINK DICAPRIO, IN SUNGLASSES, A TOP DOWN CONVERTIBLE IN “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”. SUGGESTIONS?
I really like the handblock prints from India. They’re really interesting. I think they’re a great alternative to florals shirts for the summer. It’s lightweight, the colors are beautiful and it’s just really unique.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO OUR AUDIENCE?
Thanks so much for the interview on Genuine Men’s Magazine. Please check out our new stuff and feel free to email me if you have any questions.