Time to spruce.
Colorado men are said to wear three things: a plaid button-down, a nice pair of denim and some walking-worthy shoes. And for the mountain vacation or lumberjack-like jaunt this outfit is the perfect pair, but with Denver becoming a major fashion mecca, it’s time for an elevated wardrobe update. And help has officially arrived.
Spruce, a barber and clothier shop open since June 2015, is a men’s specific boutique designed to make it easy for “manver” to update their wardrobe and cut with comfort, confidence and a little specialized technology.
Described by CEO and Head of Tech Taylor Romero as similar to a subscription-based style service (think Le Tote or Trunk Club) but without having to commit to a monthly fee and deal with all the fitting problems, Spruce caters to a widely ignored apparel audience—according to the Global Industry Almanac, menswear is 66 percent the size of women’s wear, but is growing at about 150 percent of the pace—to do one thing: Empower.
“[Spruce is] a one-stop shop for everything men need to clean up their look and combine great products with helpful, educational service,” says the Spruce website. “And to ensure that, even if we don’t have something that worked, we could give a man enough information to find something that worked elsewhere.”
This one-stop-shop starts with an interactive app and a Tennyson Street storefront. The Web-based Spruce app creates a profile that details fashion and cut preferences, how often you like to be talked with by employees in stores and more. Once this profile is created, you are able to schedule in-store appointments for a cut or shave and free styling session.
When an appointment is made, Spruce team members use your profile to recall your cut style or pick apparel pieces—ready for you to try on when you enter—that fit your style preferences.
But that’s not all the technology does. Taylor Romero and his wife, who’s head of retail, Becca Romero, pride themselves on two main things when it comes to what makes Spruce different: their customer service and community, and how their technology helps get them to that goal.
Taylor Romero, previously a software programmer, made the Spruce app from scratch. And since they have their developer in house, they are able to make it their own: An alert is sent to each employee’s cell phone anytime a customer registered under their app is about to walk in to the store. With that alert, staff members are reminded of the customer’s name, what they are coming in for and key profile selections (like how much they want to be talked to).
Inside the store, you will find a shoe rack with an iPad that tells you what shoes are available in what sizes, and will alert a team member when you want to try on a certain pair. On the wall is a listing of all the services they offer (from styling to a shave to what they call the ultimate package) with a precise wait time for each option. And, the pièce de résistance, a table that has been turned into an old school gaming console sits in the waiting nook—play the original Super Mario with the original controller design and drink a beer while you wait for your shave.
What does all this do for their customer service? It makes it personal: “The barbers aren’t just cutting hair. They spend time explaining to our clients why their hair behaves a certain way. They describe how to use different tools (even something as common as a blow dryer). They help our clients understand how to work with what they’ve got,” says Taylor Romero. “And the same goes for the retail side. The style consultants work with clients to help them find cuts and fits that flatter their bodies.”
So, men, the next time you’re in the mood to shop, forego the malls and shop specialized and local. If you’re lucky, an appointment will be made through the app while you’re there and the notes of “Eye of the Tiger” will ring through the speakers in count with outdoor light color changes.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Taylor Romero described Spruce as similar to a subscription-like service minus the fitting problems, as well as saying the app is downloadable. These descriptions have been fixed to denote the correct comparison and type of app.