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Stripe: Santa Cruz, CA

Never had a bad trip to Santa Cruz. We have known Stripe MEN co-owner Dana and her husband for 10 years. We used to crash on their couch when we'd be pulling through Santa Cruz on a surf trip. Fast forward to our current endeavors today, and it was a no-brainer that we wanted to work together. Read below to learn a little more about this unique mens store and stay tuned for some Freenote events coming up this Summer at Stripe MEN.Stripe sells more than just clothing, including a wide range of home goods and other artisan products. How do you go about finding the brands you carry?

As brick and mortar stores with interior design business attached, we curate brands that can cater to both the fashion and lifestyle of Stripe. We search for small brands that embrace quality over quantity, unique design standpoints, and affordability. The brands we carry come from everything from down the street to the other side of the globe. We find new brands around the country, and by scouring flea markets coast to coast to find our goods.We are stoked to see two women running a shop that sells menswear. Is it any harder or different for you to select the men's clothing you stock compared to your women's selection?

It's funny you ask. We actually choose many of our items based on the spectrum of, "Would you date the person who wears this? Would you date the person who smelled like this? Would you buy this for your brother?" We also buy specifically for our local customers, who we've gotten to know over the years. We curate Stripe MEN like a grandfather's den and filled with nostalgic classics from clothing, pocket knives, books, and accessories with some fun trendy things mixed in.

Are there any differences or challenges to selling fine menswear in a coastal surf town compared to a metropolitan area?

We experience many differences as a men's clothing store located in a small coastal town than a city. We deal in a lot of foot traffic, people who just happen to be walking by, as opposed to destination shoppers. With that comes many questions about price, production, quality, and we pride ourselves in an ability to share our product knowledge and be able to talk about how we source our goods. We find that the more transparent a price tag is, the better we do. We find that our customers are loyal and become regulars. They like to hear the story of who made the product and why they should buy it from us versus a big box retailer. We also find that being the only men's shop that doesn't focus on the surf lifestyle of Santa Cruz, we cater to the men who want a little more of a polished look.Any personal favorite Freenote items for the dudes in the shop?

Two items stick out most for the guys over at the men's store: the Utility Shirt and the Riders Jacket. The Utility Shirt is a great weight for both work and play; and the two pockets are large enough to hold a notebook and pens. The Riders Jacket is an all around covetable piece: the perfect mix of old world tech and modern design. It's perfect for the foggy mornings and nights here on the coast, it has great details, and the quality speaks for itself.What are some unique things about the city of Santa Cruz?

What makes Santa Cruz unique is its geography and ecosystem. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a coastal mountain range, we are situated in a location that drives in a diverse crowd of travelers. We have an abundance of publicly accessible forests and beaches that make for great adventuring. Our lively downtown is known for its abundance of street performers and great people watching as well as a great mix of locally owned and operated shops and restaurants, and yoga studios.We love visiting you guys. Can you tell us your favorite local breakfast, lunch and dinner spots so we are prepped for our next trip up north?

Walnut Avenue Cafe: Conveniently located across the street from the shops, it's one of our favorite spots to grab a classic omelette or eggs benedict. Cafe Campesino: A kiosk on Pacific Avenue with delicious handmade Mole, the best soups, and great tacos! Bantam: On the Westside of town, their fried chicken is off the charts! Headed with friends? Share their amazing wood-fired pizzas and their seasonally fresh salads and bites.

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