In 2010, despite his true passion for high-quality menswear, Henning Källqvist couldn’t find what he was looking for, neither online nor offline.
— I realized that there were probably other people with the same desire for clothes missing the availability and service of high-quality menswear online, he says.
So, he founded Care of Carl, offering those brands online.
— We believe in investing in timeless brands of great quality and craftsmanship to build a long-term and sustainable wardrobe.
”A fantastic journey.” That’s how Källqvist describes these first ten years, going from a startup with two employees to more than 80 today.
— And a growing turnover curve beyond the ordinary, he adds. Our industry has been undergoing a huge transformation, a transformation that we have been a driving force in. In the beginning, many of the brands we retail today were not available online at all, and to get hold of these you had to visit one or even multiple physical stores during their — in some cases — limited opening hours. Today, we have gathered both well-known and smaller niche local brands in a unique digital environment, where they are available around the clock, most often with next day delivery. We are eternally grateful to the brands that believed in our idea from day one and dared to hop on the train first. Others, who were more suspicious of the internet, took some time, but most of them have realized the benefits of our concept and being available online.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, you launch a special anniversary line. Tell us more about it.
— We’ve teamed up with some of our leading suppliers, such as Crockett & Jones, Altea, Barbour, and Stenströms, to create a unique collection of garments. Guiding words during the process have been timelessness, durability, and quality as well as the cutting-edge in every man’s wardrobe, says Källqvist, continuing,
— One of the highlights is shoes from Crockett & Jones, where we have asked the Swedish tannery Tärnsjö Garveri to provide the leather. Not only is the collaboration itself completely unique, but the use of Tärnsjö’s leather also means that each shoe is unique in itself.
What do you think about the future of physical and digital retail?
— Today, more than 80% of all clothing sales in our segment still take place offline, in physical stores, while digitalization in other industries has come much further. Those who provide other kinds of physical products are generally further ahead in the digitization process, while those who don’t have a physical product are more or less fully digitized today. Many consumers still find it difficult to order online due to possible problems with fit, size, and returns as well as the lack of styling services and help with choosing clothes. So, the challenge is no longer availability-related as it was 10 years ago, but rather the lack of personal service and guidance when picking out new pieces of clothing. If you are a regular customer in a local men’s clothing store, you get superb service and this level of personal help has not yet been achieved online. This is something we believe will become an increasingly important part of e-commerce over time.
Ten years after the start, Care of Carl has grown out of their physical suit, now moving both warehouse and office to a twice as large office environment with three times as much storage space.
They just launched their new International Designers department, introducing the likes of Moncler, Lanvin, and Dsquared2. After the anniversary collection, they’ll add another department to the range, featuring existing and new brands from Japan, such as Beams Plus, Camoshita and Kamakura, and more, gathered under one roof.
— It’s maybe a slightly different element compared to the rest of the range, but with clear connections in the form of shared values and clear preppy influences, says Källqvist.