Calgary-based retailer Adesso Man began in 2016 with a mission to provide the latest in men’s lifestyle products at an accessible price point without compromising on quality.
And Abdul Ahmed, founder and CEO of the company, said the goal is to turn the brand into a global retailer in the coming years.
“We’re a men’s lifestyle brand and we specialize in men’s products. Kind of a full range from accessories, lifestyle goods, leather products, gifts. We want to create a one-stop-shop for men’s fashion, style, and personal care products so that we can ultimately help people feel more confident in their daily life,” said Ahmed.
“We have a five, 10-year plan we do want to eventually be a global company. We started off locally. We want to spread nationally. We want to expand into Toronto and Vancouver and across country hopefully in the next two or three years.”
Ahmed said the company began in May 2016 with its first store in Edmonton in the Londonderry Mall. Currently, the company has two locations in Calgary in CF Market Mall and Southcentre Mall. It will have a couple of pop-ups over the holiday season in Kingsway Mall in Edmonton and the downtown Calgary Bow Valley Square. It also usually has a pop-up at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.
“We’re looking at Toronto for the spring/summer of 2020,” said Ahmed. “We’re going to do some locations temp locations to try out the market next year in Toronto.”
Ahmed said the business was started to cater to the niche in the market for men’s accessories and lifestyle products.
“We found that it was very hard to find European-inspired products that were a little bit unique, that were different, that were bold but were also affordable and accessible at the same time. Especially in the men’s market we had to go to four or five different places to get everything we needed. So we wanted to create convenience as well as offer really unique products,” he said.
“We originally were just going to be an accessory company and an accessory brand but our brand’s kind of expanded over the last three years to really cater to more of the lifestyle for men. Now we’ve expanded into grooming and leather goods and gifts. A little bit of apparel as well. Over time, our vision has changed a little bit.
“The problem we’re speaking to or trying to solve is to really help men feel more confident through fashion and personal care. We really want to offer an outlet for men to be expressive and feel comfortable and non-judged and really help them feel good through the platform that we have which is through fashion accessories and personal care and grooming and gifts.”
Ahmed said the company’s initial target market is men between the ages of 22 and 38 – in that Millennial kind of space. But it also has a plus 38 years old group which is different and looks for more classic, quality goods, and more conservative items. The brand also appeals to female customers who are looking for gifts for the men in their lives.
As he looks to the future, Ahmed said the goal is to expand.
“We definitely want to be a major player regionally and we’re looking to expand nationally into bigger markets as well. We see Adesso being the go-to men’s lifestyle brand in Canada and the United States within the next 10 years. Being a recognized brand, the brand of choice for men that are looking to really elevate the way that they look and feel,” said Ahmed.
“In the next three years depending on how things go, we want to have a presence in major cities. So eight to 10 stores would be highly doable but we also want to really expand our reach in North America through our online platform as well. So really being more global and having a lot more reach in the ecommerce space. Obviously having the pop-up stores and stores is great for presence and from a service standpoint too to really get our brand message across and let people experience the brand.
“I totally believe in brick and mortar. It’s highly important for our business and any retail business. But just to make it more interactive and more experienced based. Whereas from a reach perspective we definitely want to expand into the United States in the next two years and really start our growth in the U.S. It’s a large market and it’s a lot of opportunity for us as well.”
In Italian, the word adesso means ‘now’; ‘In the moment.’
“One of our business partners is Italian. When we first started out we were very inspired by Italian fashion. A lot of our products were coming from Italy. We were looking for something that resonated with our brand and who we were,” said Ahmed.
“Adesso means ‘now’ and ‘in the moment’. Current. It kind of signifies that we’re always going to be in the now, on trend and it’s also really easy to remember. It’s an easy name that resonates with people.”