Learning About Spencer Hurd & Whiskey Ginger
We are pleased to introduce Spencer Hurd, our host for the Nov. 12th Networking Thursday and owner of Whiskey Ginger, a men’s clothing and accessories boutique that features lifestyle brands, many of which echo European design.
Hurd was inspired to open a retail store in DC after spending five years living in Kaiserslautern, Germany, which is near the border of France and approximately an hour southwest of Frankfurt by car. Many of the brands carried by Whiskey Ginger have their roots in Europe.
Several brands are not available elsewhere in the District, much less the east coast. “I like to bring in items that are unique. Several of our most popular brands are designed in places like Sweden, Norway, Italy, and the UK. They are a different style than what you typically find in DC. Often, the differences aren’t so fashion forward that it’s not a practical piece. Most of the time, the difference is in the details and the fit.”
Hurd moved to DC in the spring of 2014 and immediately knew he wanted to cultivate a small business. In a mixture of luck and timing, he found and leased an available space right on U Street and Whiskey Ginger officially opened its doors in May 2015!
One of his goals while developing his DC business is to get involved with the local community. He likes the idea of participating in events that are communal and have the opportunity to benefit other people, “Hosting Networking Thursday is a great way to get involved, as well as develop and maintain connections with people.
In the digital age of social media, having a real connection with someone is a lost art, and to a certain extent can be a real challenge. Participating in events like this is key.” Hurd is also a member of the LGBTQ community and, as an avid singer, participates in the Gay Men’s Chorus Washington.
When asked how he got into the fashion industry, Hurd explained,“While I was in Europe I took interest in the fashion there and started attending the major fashion shows in Florence and Berlin.” While in Europe, a place he considers his second home, he began making business contacts in the fashion industry and created a website called Fashion Nemesis which seeks to deliver fashion forward clothing, accessories, and global trends to customers.
Currently, his goal is to spread the word about Whiskey Ginger and make a name for himself in the District, “One of my goals is to build awareness that I’m open and here! As I’ve done most of the work myself, the beginning stages were focused on setting up shop and finding Whiskey Ginger’s voice. Now it’s time to take it to the next level; strategy, marketing and encouraging word of mouth referrals are going to be key. In my opinion, grassroots efforts are some of the most influential and impactful way to get a message out.”
Whiskey Ginger is perfect for men ages 25-45 who are, as Hurd says, “fashion-forward and conscious about what they are wearing. They are professionals that like to stand out in the crowd, but but not in a flashy way. Maybe it’s a pop of color in somewhere unexpected or an interesting textile that pulls everything together.”
When asked about his business vision, Hurd said, “My long-term plan is to open a few additional locations within the next few years. I’ve also toyed with the idea of extending the brand into other market segments, possibly a lounge or a bed and breakfast. However, my goals are also centered around business development. For example, I’ve always liked the idea of conceptualizing, executing, and assisting with the early stages of managing a business so that it's best positioned for success, and then hiring talented people to take over so I am free to move on to the next exciting project.”
Overall, Hurd’s entire philosophy is to add something new and rewarding for consumers, “I’m a big believer that when a transaction takes place, it should be a fair exchange with equal amounts of satisfaction. I love it when I hear customers tell me someone complimented them on something they bought from Whiskey Ginger. That’s when I know it was a success.”