The Robert Graham Effect

Fashion’s contrarian has fun breaking fashion rules



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Michael Buckley, Chief Executive Officer

CEO Michael Buckley, who came on board after the acquisition, says, “We’re in over 900 locations in the U.S.” Living 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean in Manhattan Beach, Buckley is not in Fairfield County. But the Westchester native says, “My grandfather started Arnold Bread and put its first bakery in Greenwich.”

Buckley isn’t a baker, but he does make things rise—like the price of jeans. He was at Diesel when it introduced a $100 jean. “That was unheard of at the time,” says Buckley, “but now jeans sell for $250.” During his recent stint as president of True Religion, the number of stores shot up from one to 100. “We’ve opened eleven Robert Graham stores (our goal is forty to fifty), and we’ve installed sixty shops within shops (our goal is 125),” says Buckley. In November, a store opened on Bleecker Street in the West Village.

Incidentally, each store that opens gets a case of Jack Mitchell’s book Hug Your Customer. “It’s on our training checklist,” says Buckley. “Every employee is required to read it, as were all the employees at True Religion.” One way or another, it all comes back to Connecticut.

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