Supplies for the Modern-Day Gentleman with Need Founder, Matt Alexander

Matt Alexander

Matt Alexander, Founder of Need

Matt Alexander is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Need and Foremost.
Born and raised in London, England, Matt now resides in Dallas, Texas, where he serves as CEO of the Edition Collective, building a network of sustainable, dignified, and innovative e-commerce concepts.
Beyond his day-to-day work, Matt is also a prolific writer, startup advisor, and podcast host at Relay FM. Matt has been a FoundersCard Member since 2014.

 

1. What is Need and how was it started?
Need is a hybrid between a men’s magazine and a retailer. In other words, rather than offering overwhelming selection, variables, and questions for the customer, Need only sells ten-to-fifteen exclusive products per month. These products are paired with award-winning design, editorial, and independent photography, crafting an immersive story around the products each month.
2. What types of products are curated, and how are they found?
We source men’s clothing and lifestyle goods from a group of 150 brands.
Whether they’re tiny, independent leather-makers or enormous juggernauts like Nike, Need works with a variety of designers and brands to ensure we offer the very best products, regardless of the name behind them. We’ve been known to have collections exclusively comprised of literature and coffee, whilst also putting out more traditional collections of all menswear.
3. As both a shop and a publication, what could customers expect to find when following on a monthly basis?
Plenty of self-deprecating and sarcastic commentary, combined with exceptional photography, film, and artwork. Products span a vast array of price-points, but the under-pinning focus upon narrative and story-telling is constant.
4. What has been your favorite item featured?
We once featured some copper mugs for Moscow Mules. And, honestly, it was somewhat of an after-thought. But the demand for the mugs literally broke the site. We sold out of them within a matter of seconds. In a similar vein, I was left alone with our back-end in December. I also had a collection of clothing — mostly single sizes of various sold-out shirts — at my feet. Within a few minutes, I’d thrown together a $35 “Mystery Box” on the site. They sold out immediately. Now, we occasionally bring them back as a bit of fun. I joked on Twitter recently that we should just sell copper mugs and mystery boxes. Apparently there’s enormous demand.
5. What are Need Essentials?
Over the first nine months of Need’s operations, we saw a pressing and ongoing demand for literature and coffee. And we also saw a lot of people who’d continue to come back to get ahold of another pair of jeans or, in some cases, try to re-purchase a t-shirt they loved. As we’d typically been selling out quickly and completely changing our offering each month, we didn’t have much continuity or support for such demand.  So, I hatched the idea to have an ongoing repository of our most popular essential items. We’re also building a special sub-section for members of our Society program.
6. How can Need enhance the modern day gentleman?
Gentlemen want to present themselves properly. At the same time, they want to understand why a certain product is more pertinent and fitting than another. And, equally, they don’t want to have to make innumerable decisions around their clothing choices. Need allows them to accomplish such goals. And, in doing so, they’re also privy to exclusive products, top notch journalism, amazing photography, and so on.
7. What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best advice I’ve come across (or ever given anyone else) is to not over-think. The very moment you start trying to craft a blueprint and roadmap for what you will accomplish — either as a founder or as a company — is the very moment you preclude yourself from acting in an agile, intelligent, and proper manner. If you’re abundantly aware of your values and beliefs, quality in your decisions and planning will follow suit.
8. What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
Rather than recommending one book, I’d strongly advise against reading any business literature. Well, “any” is a little strong. Business literature certainly has value. Nonetheless, I think people would do better to read classical literature or historical non-fiction. That’d provide more wisdom, knowledge, and actionable insight than any other person’s personal feelings on success. I believe in reading as something to inform your intelligence and your abilities as a decision-maker. Not as a mechanism to try to cheat my way to efficiency or success.
9. Who is someone we should be following on Twitter right now?

Merlin Mann

10. What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?

 

I love OmniFocus for to-dos, Mailbox for email, Tweetbot for Twitter, VSCO for photography, Reeder for RSS, Overcast for podcasts, and Fantastical for calendaring.
11. Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next.
We’re in the midst of concluding a significant round of funding from some very prominent people. It’s going to open the doors for Need to begin expanding into Europe, whilst also beginning to experiment much more with iOS.
We’ve also got our sibling brand, Foremost, which is doing exceptionally well. (And it’s only 60 days old.)
FoundersCard members receive 20% off at Need. Redeem with code FC20 at checkout.

 

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