Haberdashery News – June 2023

In Memory of Jim

I would like to take a moment to honor my good friend and business associate, Jim Farrell. Jim was the rep for johnnie-O at our shop. Many of our clients met him either at our trunk shows, around town, or “hanging out” (a reference to the name of johnnie-O’s untuck shirts) at the shop with the haberdashers. He would always arrive with snacks, or even bring lunch for the entire team. Jim was quick with a smile and an introduction if you didn’t know him, and then after that you’d immediately become friends.

Jim passed away last week at the age of 60. Just like a warrior on the field of battle with his sword in his hand, Jim died doing what he loved to do, working at a men’s shop. His passing was way too early, and I never did get to go fishing with him, or play a round of golf. However, even though our friendship was largely centered around our professional connection, I still have many great memories to look back on.

Jim left behind a wife, Kristine, and two grown sons. Jim was the kind of dad that everyone wanted to have. He traveled, fished, and played golf with his kids, while always being eager to laugh and joke about life.

Jim came up through the ranks with Nordstroms. His focus was always on client relationships, which was something we had in common. He also admired the small speciality shops throughout America— their history, community involvement, and business ideals.

Recently Jim had been assisting me with the navigation of the new johnnie-O store opening in our own Preston Royal Center, literally 100 yards from my doorstep. We had conversations about the ups and downs of maneuvering through these changes, as well as communicating about the direction of Ken’s and discussing plans for the future. We had a handshake deal that no matter what would transpire between Ken’s and johnnie-O, it would have zero impact upon the personal relationship that Jim and I had built with each other.

I will fondly remember the camaraderie, banter, humor, empathy, respect, humility, salesmanship, and especially the friendship. This last part will stay with me forever. Jim, you were always true to your word, and you are already greatly missed.

Father’s Day Is Right Around the Corner

This year for Father’s Day we have many items in the shop to celebrate the dads in our lives! Today we are focused on skincare. Keep an eye out for our full gift guide next week or drop by this weekend for guidance from your haberdashers.

Choose any 3 products from Beauty by Apothecary and receive a FREE rose quartz crystal eye roller, a $30 value!

This special tool helps to stimulate the muscles and circulate blood flow, relaxing creases from facial expressions while reducing eye puffiness and dark circles.

Great gift ideas for Father’s Day:

  • Beard Oil
  • Hydroshave
  • Antimicrobial Hand & Body Wash
  • Body Butters
  • Sore Muscle Bath Salts

Tread Lightly in the Oval Office

Several clients sent me an article in The New York Times written by Guy Trebay, entitled “Do Dress Sneakers Belong in the Oval Office?” They were curious about my opinion on the subject.

My response is the same as when another article was published about the leaders of the free world not wearing ties to the G7 summit. The immediate and simple answer is no, neither dress sneakers nor any kind of casual attire are appropriate for these situations. The Oval Office is the highest office in the land. The office itself must be respected, no matter who is in office or what political party is behind them.

Now, there can be some exceptions to the dress sneakers rule. There are dozens of staffers at the White House working long hours and well into the night, so it is understandable if they wear dress sneakers on those long days. As for advisors, cabinet members, and people who have appointments at the White House, they should know (or be instructed) how to dress appropriately for the occasion.

I have been to three funerals this year. Each time I wore a suit and a tie with dress shoes. Each of these people gave me the respect of years or even decades of friendship, so why wouldn’t I honor them by dressing appropriately at their funeral?

It is time to rewrite the book on how to present ourselves in modern times, both in appearance and behavior. As you navigate through life, it is important to know what is acceptable to wear, how to act on an airplane or in a busy restaurant, and how to communicate properly even when someone else isn’t. So many of these basics have been forgotten, and yet not forgiven. Choosing proper attire is a great first step to remind ourselves how to act in a manner that is suitable to each environment.

The 2023 Bill Hunt Memorial Scholarship Award

Each year in May we drive over to Garland High School to present the Bill Hunt Memorial Scholarship award. 2023 is the 31st year of this award being given in honor of Bill, who was Ken’s first employee.

Joining me again this year for the presentation was Caleb Williams, the winner from 2001. Caleb has been a huge supporter and donor to the scholarship program, plus he is a wonderful friend to our family.

Every year the scholarship is presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies Bill Hunt’s integrity, character, vision, work ethic, professionalism, and sincerity. Congratulations to 2023 winner, Elena Arellano! She is truly deserving and we are honored to help this GHS student as she moves forward into college life.

As always, thanks for reading and being part of the Ken’s community!

– Kory Helfman