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Fields seeks to fill gap in menswear market

Retailer at 25: MenCo store owner Janika Fields (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A menswear store in Hamilton is picking up trade and providing a creative outlet for Janika Fields.

Becoming a shop owner was not her plan when she went overseas to study for a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree, with a concentration in advertising design and photography.

However, after completing her studies at Savannah College of Art and Design in th US, she returned to the Island and was unable to find a job opportunity in her field of study.

Demonstrating adaptability and pragmatism, Ms Fields ventured into the retail sector with MenCo, on the corner of Reid Street and King Street.

“I’m learning that life doesn’t have a blueprint and sometimes you just have to enjoy where it decides to take you,” she said.

“My story isn’t different from most college students who was given the opportunity to study abroad to further their post-secondary education, but due to the economic climate there is little to no opportunity for you to work in the field you studied.

“As a result of no opportunities being presented to me, I decided to stop waiting around for one and create an opportunity for myself instead.”

MenCo opened its doors in November after Ms Fields noticed a gap in the market.

“Most women in Bermuda would complain about the lack of variety in the numerous stores that cater to them, most men complain about the low number of stores that cater to them in general,” she said.

Ms Fields discovered that many men were ordering their clothes online as a result of the lack of on-Island options.

She believes MenCo is tapping into that market, and she emphasised that it is important the clothing range and accessories have an exclusive feel.

To achieve this she only orders three or four of each item. The boutique stocks everything from underwear to clothing and accessories. Ms Fields also makes and sells one-of-a-kind men’s jewellery.

“The more exclusive the better. That’s what makes me stand out the most, not to mention the personalised experience each customer receives when they walk in the door, accompanied with a smile,” she said.

MenCo also caters for bigger men, going up to 6X shirts and size 50 pants. The store offers personal styling and shopping, and special ordering.

It is still early days for the shop, but Ms Fields has a positive outlook and confident in the future prospects for MenCo.

“Since I opened in November, I have grown tremendously,” she said.

“Although it takes about three years to start seeing real growth in your business I am grateful for the small increase I see week to week, whether it be a new face that walks into the store or having someone come up to me and tell me they are hearing good things about my store.”

She is also thankful for the support she has received from her mother, brother and uncle.

“Being a shop owner at 25 is a joy within itself,” she said.

“Every day I open my doors there is a feeling of accomplishment that keeps my spirits high, even on bad days.

“It’s not easy being 25 and owning something, as it comes with a great deal of responsibility and sacrifice. But I am enjoying it every step of the way.”

MenCo has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Mencobermuda