Though the industry has been rocked over the past few months by closures large and small, few (if any) have hit so close to home as the news about Need Supply.
The Richmond-based retailer, Need Supply, was a veritable powerhouse, carrying a wide array of well-made brands, ranging from Americana workwear to the chic and avant-garde. Both Need Supply and their sibling brand, Totokaelo, confirmed on July 13th that they would be closing permanently.
Both companies, which operated under the privately-owned NSTO, didn’t immediately respond to our email and phone requests for a statement, but a spokesperson told Retail Dive, “Need Supply Co. and Totokaelo have made the difficult decision to wind-down its business and will be ceasing operations.”
Christopher Bossola founded Need Supply in 1996, primarily selling vintage Levi’s. The nascent store’s ethos of collecting the eclectic and well-made eventually expanded to include expertly-curated men’s and women’s lines and even home goods.
In the mid-2000s, when many other brands floundered at the dawn of serious online retail, Bossola brought Need Supply online, opened several retail stores in Japan in 2015, and in 2018 expanded the company’s reach by acquiring Jill Wenger’s successful Seattle retailer, Totokaelo.
Though Need Supply carried many of the hard-wearing workwear classics we love and important basics like Converse and Vans, they also carried harder-to-find pieces from Alden, Yoshida Porter, and Needles. Need Supply’s intriguing blend of basics, legends, and high-end fashion coexisted happily (if incongruously) under Need’s minimalist roof.
The bankruptcies of some big stores have caused experts to hope that the market may be adjusting itself. Ideally this change would be in favor of small, thoughtful stores over big, fast fashion giants, but this particular closure shakes our confidence.