Introduce yourself and your store.
My name is James Rennie and I own Ryan James Studio, an independent menswear store in the heart of Glasgow that curates quality clothing, grooming and accessory brands from the UK and Europe.
Is there a story behind the name?
The idea behind Ryan James Studio is to give men of all ages, and body types, the confidence to discover their own style. Mixing both established and emerging brands, we offer a curated range of labels, styles and products as well as a personal styling and events within a relaxed and comfortable space.
How long have you been doing this?
During an extended trip to New York in 2014, I fell in love with the boutique culture and the personalised, unique shopping experiences on offer. Feeling inspired by this exciting approach to buying, I decided to create my own company that offered male shoppers something fresh.
I launched the brand with a Glasgow pop-up and web store in 2016 and after building up a strong client base and adding new brands to the mix, I opened a permanent store in Trongate in July 2017.
Best moment of store life so far?
Running a small business and working predominately by yourself can be a challenging thing, so I think it’s really important to recognise even the small ‘wins’, so in that sense, there are lots of best moments.
I recently celebrated the store’s second birthday event and that was definitely a proud moment. To see how much Ryan James Studio has grown in a relatively short time and share it with customers, friends and family was amazing!
How did you come across Text From A Friend?
I was working in collaboration with local salon Kevin O’Neill hair last year when I was introduced to Sharon and discovered Text From A Friend. Straight away, I loved the cheeky nature of her products and the minimal style really appealed to me.
What's your favourite Text From A Friend product?
I brought the Text from a Friend range in to the store at Christmas so the festive card range is definitely a favourite, but I love the ‘Shit I Should Do’ notebook – perfect for my many to do lists.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I chopped and changed my mind time and time again about what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I always knew it would be creative in some form. I studied broadcasting at university, but after I graduated decided this wasn’t quite right for me and started working part time with Ted Baker.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Just go for it! A friend once told me, “make your mistakes on someone else’s money”, which I think it a great motto, but I would say do not let fear get in the way. When it feels the time is right, just take the leap and do it.
When you get time off, what do you do?
It can be hard to switch off completely, even when I’m away from the shop, but I love to explore new places so if I can get away, even for a short time, I will. I recently took my first trip to Amsterdam, I can’t believe I have never been, what a place! The laid back style, interesting shops and of course a canal cruise or two made it the perfect trip!
Favourite city/destination to visit?
My favourite city in the world has got to be New York. I absolutely love the atmosphere, it’s as busy, but not as stressful as London and there’s such a buzz in the air. The style and service of quite a few NYC boutiques have helped inspire and shape Ryan James Studio.
What inspires you to buy a maker's product?
I love hearing the story behind someone’s work and brand. Each item is carefully chosen to work together in the shop so there needs to be a connection somehow. I’m always thinking about the products that my customers will enjoy - but shopkeeper’s prerogative – pieces that I’d probably buy myself too!
What do you love most about having the store?
I love that I can make the rules! After working for big brands, it’s great to be able to decide to bring in emerging designers, host creative workshops that I think people will enjoy or use the space to launch a local collaboration. If something doesn’t quite work out? Learn from it and on to the next.
I’m proud to say the brand has grown over the past couple of years, so all I can hope that is this continues, adding more brands to the mix and continuing to support local talent as well as the established labels.
Dream product to have in store?
Perhaps something under a Ryan James label… People are very complimentary about the store and the products I stock and many ask when I will be launching an own brand collection. It’s not really something I’ve thought a lot about so far, but never say never!
Top tips for visitors to your city?
There is a lot going on in Glasgow right now, it’s an exciting place to be. I love eating out and going for drinks and there are so many bars and restaurants to choose from.
The East End is really picking up, so I’d say avoid the obvious spots and head East. 13th Note and Mono are local, so close to the shop and ideal for after work. Afterwards a short stroll down Gallowgate takes you to my current favourite, 226, right by the world famous Barrowlands.
Glasgow is well-known for its great shopping too, but again, avoid the main drag. There are so many small businesses across the city offering great products with amazing customer service, much better than the high street. Take a wander or check out pop-ups such as The Glasgow Markets, which regularly bring lots of these independents together and discover something new.
Find Ryan James Studio:
Pics: Simon Gray