We love introducing you to new local businesses, and the two sisters behind Hans Clothier, Rachel and Morgan Colwell, are no stranger to the fashion industry. Basking Ridge natives, these ladies decided Somerset County needed a high end casual clothing store dedicated to Men in the same way ladies boutiques are sprinkled throughout our area. Read our interview below to get to know how Hans Clothier made it’s home in Far Hills!
What are your names and what is your connection to Far Hills?
Our names are Rachel and Morgan Colwell. We are sisters who were born and raised in Basking Ridge, NJ and attended Ridge High School. We grew up going to the Hunt and when our parents moved to Bernardsville a few years ago we found ourselves in Far Hills even more. We felt that it’s the perfect spot for Hans Clothier.
Where did the name Hans Clothier come from?
Hans is our dad’s middle name. When brainstorming store names, we kept coming back to Hans and it just worked. The German name honors our dad, a man of many talents and hobbies.
Were you both always into fashion?
Yes, we both worked at the Lilly Pulitzer store, Paradise in Morristown throughout high school and some of college during breaks. We both went to Marist College for Fashion Merchandising, Rachel had a minor in business and Morgan had a minor in fashion promotion. Post graduation, Rachel worked for the British coat company, Barbour in wholesale sales and Morgan worked for a multi-line women’s wholesale company called Scarlett Showroom in sales. All of our experiences in retail and wholesale helped us to open Hans Clothier.
What’s it like working with your sister?
SO FUN! We’re best friends so it’s truly a dream come true to get to be together all day. We both have different strengths and weaknesses so we try to divide and conquer tasks accordingly. For example, Rachel is very organized so she knows exactly what emails need to be answered and what styles need to be reordered each day. Morgan handles a lot of the creative stuff, like making print ads, updating the website and thinking of Instagram posts. We make a really great team. If something isn’t working it’s easy to talk to each other and work it out.
What made you decide to open a clothing store dedicated to men?
Through research, planning, and conversations with men in the area we realized that Somerset County was in need of a casual men’s store with quality products and brands. Due to the pandemic, people want to shop local now more than ever. Plus, going to the mall can be a pain. There’s a lot of great women’s stores in our area, so we wanted to give men the same convenient shopping experience.
Has owning your own store always been a dream?
Yes! We have always wanted to open a store and both are passionate about fashion. We realized after working in corporate fashion that working in a smaller retail environment is where we both thrive.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Rachel is the older sister but Morgan is the one who taught Rachel how to ride a bike! Morgan is more daring, while Rachel is cautious and it shows in our product assortment. We have different styles but somehow it works really well for us. It’s amazing that we have become so much closer throughout the years, some people think we are twins!
If you could give one tip to fellow Entrepreneurs what would it be?
Grow your network as much as possible! We wouldn’t have been able to open if it wasn’t for all of the stores we connected with over the years either that we worked at or with in some capacity. We spent the summer interviewing many business owners and with those connections we felt like we got great advice with everything from packaging to our POS system. It’s so important to have a network to bounce ideas off of. Take as much advice as you can from other experts in your field while staying true to your ideas.
This interview was done in partnership with Hans Clothier. You can learn more about Rachel & Morgan’s shop by following them on social media or popping in to their Far Hills shop to pick something up for that special guy in your life!