EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

by ROBIN HOWARD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Jordan Lash opened on King Street in 2017. The store offers domestic and global menswear brands that are comfortable, stylish and hard to find, even online.

IT’S EARLY THURSDAY MORNING, and Jordan Lash and I have planned to have a conversation about his namesake menswear store on King Street. We were going to talk about the different roles that he and his brother, Daniel, have in the business, but we don’t. We talk about the coronavirus because that’s all anyone can think about right now.

Lash is naturally and sincerely rela-tionship-centered, so it’s no surprise he’s enjoyed nearly two decades of success in Charleston menswear. What is a surprise is that he saw the online shopping trend coming three years ago and embraced the technology required to nurture relation-ships whether his clients shop from home or in the store.

Jordan Lash opened on King Street in 2017. The store offers domestic and global menswear brands that are comfortable, stylish and hard to find, even online. For men, having a curated selection of sharp, well-fitting clothing and expert advice is a game-changer in a market where shopping is tedious and time-consuming at best.

The thing that stands out about Jordan Lash, the man, is that his brain is always working, scanning trends and putting together what will work for both traditional and contemporary Charleston. Lash knows what his clients like and can match new items that arrive with their individual needs and tastes. “When I come across something that would suit one of my clients, I text them. If they like it, I save it for them, special order it or drop ship it,” Lash says.

Though nothing is more important to Lash than people, he doesn’t believe technology is the enemy of relationships. Lash is a stoic; whatever the problem is, he’s hard at work turning it upside down.

Lash admits he isn’t sure what the future of shopping will be, but whatever it is, he and Daniel are ready and will be proactive about adopting it early. “We’ve always believed online is part of the future of retail. Luckily we prepared early for this shift with a cloud-based point-of-sale plan,” he says. Cloud-based point-of-sale tech enables staff to use any portable device, anywhere, to check inventory, process payments and perform other functions that formerly had to be done at a dedicated terminal at the checkout counter.

I said we didn’t talk about Lash’s young-er brother, Daniel, but we do. As much as Lash likes to take playful jabs at his sibling, it’s clear that he holds Daniel, and their differences, in high regard, and he depends on his brother a great deal. Jordan Lash is happily married with a son, sincere and serious in the way that big-picture thinkers usually are. He describes Daniel as funnier, a dedicated planner and detail-oriented.

This is the genius of the Lash brothers, and why Jordan Lash, the retail store, likely has the right stuff to stay the course. Daniel thinks differently and can connect with a different kind of clientele. “We help each other find middle ground,” Jordan Lash says.

When asked to predict what changes may be coming for the future of retail, Lash is optimistic. “One thing that’s changing is all of the buyers’ events have been canceled,” he says. “Now our vendors are coming to us, like the good old days. This season is so unique, nobody knows if there will be shows later in the season or the reps will continue to come to us. It’s a new world. I think I was the first retailer to call our vendors when the coronavirus hit. For me, transparency and good communication are key. Our vendors are more like family for us than ever before.”

Something that the Lash brothers agree on is that whether transactions are done in person or through technology, their business will remain relationship-driven. “Our customers are our friends,” Lash says. “They’re part of our lives.” He also hopes that the changes in retail will enable stores, not just his, to have true seasonal merchandise. Lash, like most consumers, isn’t a fan of shopping for clothes in December and only finding inventory for the upcoming season.

The Lash brothers are ready to embrace the future of retail and have their fingers on the pulse of cutting-edge technologies. However, true to form, Lash says, “The best thing you can invest in is people.”

Jordan Lash has implemented all of the recommended safety guidelines and is open regular business hours; clients are also welcome to shop online.

Robin Howard is a freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.