Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank You From S&B

Last month Smathers and Branson lost a dear friend with the passing of Gilles Bridier, the proprietor of Murray’s Toggery on Nantucket. Gilles was one of the very first store owners to take a chance on Smathers and Branson. Over the past 6 years, we were fortunate to work with him and develop a friendship along the way.

Known for his thick French accent and jokester demeanor, Gilles continually kept us on our toes. Fresh out of college, we were only 22 years old when we took a trip out to Nantucket to show Gilles our inaugural line. Meeting the head of such an iconic store, our nerves showed as we butchered the pronunciation of Gilles’ name in every possible way. To our embarrassment, a Murray’s employee corrected us after we had been calling him “Gels,” “Jillies,” and “Giles” during the entire 30 minute meeting. Undeterred by our amateur French accents, Gilles was willing to give us a shot. We left Nantucket with a 20 belt order and no clue how the relationship would develop.

Just one week into carrying our line, Gilles called us seemingly upset and concerned. He told us, “The belts have not sold. The customers don’t like the designs. Should I send them back?” Our hearts dropped and there was what seemed like a minute of awkward silence until we heard his famous laugh on the other end of the phone. The belts had in fact sold. They had sold out. Once Gilles stopped laughing, he went on to place the largest order we had received at that time. It was the perfect introduction to both Gilles’ sense of humor and Murray’s monster orders.

Gilles’ big personality was complimented by his innate business sense. He was the first person to encourage us to make custom products, which have been hugely successful at Murray’s and eventually in other stores. Moreover, store owners from across the country would look to Gilles and the lines that he carried for advice and inspiration. Working with Murray’s has provided great exposure and we will forever be indebted to Gilles for taking a chance on us. Gilles’ legacy lives on at Murray’s and with his sons and their company, Castaway Clothing.

Gilles, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for believing in us when we were doubting ourselves, for always making us laugh, and for being one of the most fair and honest people we have had the privilege of working with. You have taught us a lot and you will certainly be missed here at SB!

Peter & Austin

No comments:

Post a Comment