Profile: No.50 adds touch of style to Pinfold Street

Co-owner Jordan Quinn talks about evolving from digital to ‘bricks and mortar’ retail

Running a 21st-century fashion and lifestyle boutique requires as much knowledge of emerging digital technology as it does today’s clothing trends.

That’s the verdict of Jordan Quinn, co-owner of No.50 Heritage & Lifestyle on Pinfold Street, one of the newest arrivals in the city centre’s diverse fashion scene.

No.50 stocks leading brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Alpha Industries and Novesta in its contemporary store that was converted from a former café in the summer of 2016.

Jordan, who runs the business with his brother Jamie, has spent two decades working in menswear in the city, beginning with a Saturday job before progressing to shop management and menswear buying.

He also has extensive experience of digital sales after launching No.50 as an online-only offering in 2011 before moving into ‘bricks and mortar’ retail last year.

“I grew up in Birmingham and got into retail when I was about 18, with a Saturday job,” said Jordan.

“I loved the lifestyle and being in that crowd of people and my passion evolved from there.

“After moving into shop management and menswear buyer I felt like I could have a go at doing this myself.

“I had a vision of bringing something different to the city.”

Birmingham’s retail sector has changed beyond recognition since the 1990s, according to Jordan.

“Growing up in the retail trade in Birmingham back then was a lot different to how it is these days,” he said.

“Digital is central now. It’s crazy how things are changing in retail with augmented reality and 3D. These things were happening in the films we grew up watching and now they’re real!

“When I first started in retail 20 years ago there were eight or nine good independent fashion stores. There’s a lot less now but there’s always room for more,” added Jordan.

“A lot of shops started as a traditional store then realised the way the world was going in terms of online so they added a website.

“We’re the new generation. We couldn’t have afforded to simply ‘arrive’ and start paying overheads and rent so we had to build ourselves up from the lowest point, which is online, with low overheads and all our own IT work and management.

“We’re trying to keep an eye on the tech trends, with apps, watches and how fashion fits in. Customers are more and more demanding these days. It’s about fulfilment today, or within the hour. It’s something we will always try to evolve with,” he added.

Jordan talks about how No.50 made the move from online to physical store, with a short-term pop-up launch to gauge feedback from customers.

“The store was an old greasy spoon café. We had to strip it down and start from scratch with the interior,” said Jordan.

“It has been open since August 2016 after a pop-up from the website to gauge the public response. This was great for us.

“We then started contacting the brands we wanted to work with to build relationships and explain what we’re about.”

Jordan’s brother Jamie brings his background in art and design to No.50, by taking care of the store fitting, branding and marketing.

“Jamie helps with our online offering and making sure the background IT is as it should be,” added Jordan. “We worked together when we started the online business. We have different visions with my retail background and Jamie’s design background. We have our healthy debates!”

Jordan ‘fell in love’ with the unit on Pinfold Street after spotting it while he was out arranging deliveries to customers.

“We always wanted somewhere in the city centre of our hometown,” he said.

“When we started the online business we were using the Post Office over the road. It was then I spotted this unit had become available and fell in love with it.

“It’s got a lovely, traditional look to it, with a nice cross-section of people coming up and down Pinfold Street and with Grand Central nearby.

“The Midland Metro extension, which will come up and down Pinfold Street, should also help when that’s up and running in a few years.”

And what about the future for No.50? How does Jordan see the brand and store evolve? “We’ve signed a long lease and looking forward to developing for the future. It’s early days and we’re determined to create our own identity as an independent and try to bring brands to the city that aren’t being offered elsewhere.”

“We will always evolve,” he added. “We’ve sold pieces we designed and had made for the store like the hangers, lighting etc. which has prompted us to introduce a small homeware offering in store.

“It’s great when people come in saying ‘I really like that, can you get me one?’

“It’s nice to be dynamic and grow naturally as a brand.”