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Small Business Snapshot: Peter Manning NYC

Small Business Snapshot: Peter Manning NYC Credit: Peter Manning NYC

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Jeff Hansen, co-founder and CEO of Peter Manning NYC, explains how this image represents his business.

We started Peter Manning NYC as a clothing line dedicated to men who are 5'8" and under, or what we've termed 'not-so-tall' guys – that's 30 million men in the US alone, and millions more around the world.  Our business is based on the premise that your shirts aren't supposed to hang to your knees; your pants aren't supposed to stack up at your ankles; your sleeves aren't supposed to cover your hands.  And you shouldn't have to tailor everything. Or worse yet – shop in the boys' department, to find something that fits.  Our clothing is specifically designed to fit the shorter man right off the rack.

I've been involved in the development of a number of brands over my career, including many fashion apparel brands, but none has generated the kind of excitement and enthusiasm we've seen from our customers at PMNYC.  When I met [co-founder] Peter Manning, he had a real passion to do this, as a 'not-so-tall' guy who struggled much of his life to find clothes that fit. This was an opportunity to create a whole new segment from scratch, and it was also an opportunity to have a positive impact on people in the process, which was important to us. 

Unlike most fashion start-ups, we are filling a significant and underserved need in the market.  Guys shouldn't have to walk around in over-sized, ill-fitting clothing, and we have a chance to make them look better and feel better, to boost their confidence and restore some self-esteem.  We have rethought clothes entirely, addressing every detail and developing a new proprietary size system, just for our guys.  And we're having good success doing it, as evidenced by the tremendous response and feedback we've gotten from customers, along with their wives, girlfriends, and partners!

This photo is special because it shows us in DUMBO, Brooklyn, our third location in three years. We've been lucky to have doubled our sales in each of our five years, but it's a whirlwind. This rapid pace of growth presents our biggest challenges by far: finding larger spaces and continually adding good, smart people – all while maintaining tight control over our quality and still providing highly personalized service. It keeps us all working hard, but we firmly believe that if you don't take care of these basic things, it doesn't matter how fast you grow, you'll eventually be out of business.

As of today, we've outgrown that location in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and have moved into our new space in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. This space includes a Fit Shop, where customers can come try our clothes and find their fit (and maybe meet Peter in the process!), because not everyone's comfortable buying clothes online. We are working hard to bring our concept to as many as guys as possible across the country, so expect this to be the first of many new Fit Shops we open. 

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Taylor.