I sat down with Greg Walsh, the CEO and design director of Martin Patrick 3, to discuss all there is to know about his company and his take on men's fashion and lifestyle. Martin Patrick 3 is a brick and mortar store nestled in the historic Warehouse District of Minneapolis.
What is the story behind Martin Patrick 3?
When I started the company 20 years ago, it was originally a design firm named Walsh Design Group. About 12 years ago, we added a retail component to the interior studio, which was then branded as I.D. Inside Design. Just in the past four years we finally added the men’s aspect to the company. We started to bring in men’s products such as watches, cards, decanters, barware, and a few books. We literally started with a bookshelf within the home store and started selling a bunch of them. We decided that we need to brand this men’s collection and that was how Martin Patrick 3 first started.
Where did the name, Martin Patrick 3, originate?
The name itself comes from my middle name and my brother’s middle name. My dad is Martin Patrick and my grandfather is Martin Patrick, and we were both supposed to be named Martin Patrick Walsh III, but my mom did not like that so she split it up. When I was trying to come up with a name, this was the chance to have it all come together as Martin Patrick 3.
Martin Patrick 3 had the most consumer brand awareness out of the three entities, so we decided to house everything under our most prevalent brand. We spun it into furnishings, interiors, and apparel, and hence that is what the “3” in the name stands for as we move forward. With the expansion, we are trying to deliver more on that male-centric lifestyle and vibe. It incorporates both the furnishings and interiors aspects to create that same vibe you will find in someone’s home. Where we are today is very different from how Martin Patrick 3 first started.
How do you choose which collections to feature at Martin Patrick 3?
We try to look at what is not well represented in Minneapolis, whether it is furnishing, interiors, or apparel. Minneapolis has a very sophisticated consumer base, and many people tend to underestimate and undersell the consumers here. You can bring in brands that are great in style, design, and quality, but they do not have to be mainstream or well known. Yet, the community here will appreciate the brands that we carry. We carry brands that you will not be able to find in the rest of the marketplace.
It was hard initially to go after some of the brands we wanted because we were new and we were based in Minneapolis. We were not vetted and the brands wanted to know who we were, what we carried, and why they should be at Martin Patrick 3. Now the tables have turned a little bit. It is more of them coming to us: “How do we get into your store? We want to be there!” It is a nice position to be in.
Have there been any surprises along the way since venturing into the men’s fashion industry?
We are trying to define our assortment into good, better, and best categories, so you can purchase quality products whether it is at an entry or luxury level price point. When I had to go to New York for my first fashion buy, I thought it was going to be painful. I thought it was going to be mainly attitude driven, but it turned out to be the complete opposite; it was a great network of people. A lot of brands that you think are large and iconic turned out to be just four guys working on that brand all year. There were very few layers involved with the brand. It has been really fun; you just get to know everybody and everyone has each other’s backs. That has been a really big surprise: How cool the people are in the industry and how real they are!
How would you define the style that Martin Patrick 3 exemplifies?
We are trying to keep it real but also trying to be more tailored and dressed-up. For the average guy, it is going to be things you can put together yourself and wear it during the work-day or on the weekend. There is also this classic, English overtone to a lot of our products. Sensibility, quality of the materials, and the fabrics are also important to us. Our vendors, they are all different but at the same time very like-minded.
What have been your biggest challenges?
My role is closest to that of a design director for Martin Patrick 3. My responsibilities range from big projects and spearheading the design direction, to working with our staff on the visuals for the store and figuring out what products we want to carry. The challenge is trying to oversee these million little fingers out there that are touching everything and keeping all the pieces moving. It is hard for me to keep tabs on everything that is going on. However, everyone that works at Martin Patrick 3 is great at what they do and they all get along very well; it makes my job easier. We all have a similar vision and drive for success.
…and your proudest moment?
We have had a lot of fun and a lot of successes. With the recent rebranding, it feels really good to me and everybody involved to bring together the 20 years of work in interiors, 12 years in furniture, and the recent venture into men’s fashion to create a clear message and a better brand. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and now together it is bigger, better, and more powerful. It has given us this platform to move forward again to refine and define our service, products, and overall experience for our customers.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
We dabble in so many things so we do not take any singular iconic designer or brand and overly connect with them. That is where part of the main appeal of the store comes from and it is something we want to build upon. We like to carry brands that are real and are easy to wear, like Oliver Spencer, Universal Works, and WRK. Shipley & Halmos is always a great collection to see.
I am always excited to see the Rag & Bone collection in New York because it is such a big line. You can really take the line in many different directions, so it is always fun to see where it starts in the entire platform, how we bring it into the store, and what it feels like for our customers.
How would you describe Minneapolis’ fashion?
We had a re-launch party a couple of weeks ago and probably had around 350 people here. It was a certain level of sophistication that you do not always see in any one place in Minneapolis. There were representatives from Italy and Brunello Cucinelli at the party, and they were blown away by the crowd and how well dressed they were. It was very dapper and filled with bow ties and patterns. There is a huge appetite locally in the sophisticated and creative communities. They are willing to express themselves, and that has been part of our success. We help them by being a fashion source and guiding them on what they should be wearing.
What is your vision for the future of Martin Patrick 3?
We will be refining and adding more offerings to our e-commerce site, but it is not a huge push for us. We are more about our in-store experience and refining the product and space. We have made a commitment to stay just in Minneapolis and to focus solely on men’s lifestyle. In terms of expansion, I want it to be small enough to be nimble and not feel like we have to do anything just to be profitable. We do it because we want to keep that experience tight.
To shop Martin Patrick 3's online selection, click here.
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