UPDATE: July 13, 2020: A company spokesperson confirmed that NSTO's brands will close for good. "Need Supply Co. and Totokaelo have made the difficult decision to wind-down its business and will be ceasing operations," Corey Simpson Booker, attorney at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, told Retail Dive in an email. "This includes [retail] stores and online."
Need Supply Co. and Totokaelo, two U.S.-based apparel retailers operating under privately-held NSTO run by Need Supply founder Christopher Bossola, are winding down, according to multiple news reports.
Both brands are running online sales events, but neither provides information about the future of its business. A notice at Need Supply advises that "Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, our Richmond store is permanently closed."
Emails to Need Supply, Bossola, representatives of NSTO and investor Cormack Capital (formerly Herschel Capital Corp.) weren't immediately returned.
Speaking to Shoptalk last year via podcast, Bossola said he launched Need Supply in 1996 as a vintage Levi's store before expanding into a curator of men's and women's apparel and accessories geared to millennials.
"The young luxury customer, what I refer to as new luxury, they're purchasing things from brands that inspire them, not brands that are aspirational," he said, adding that they're "signaling cultural knowledge" more than wealth. While Need Supply sells mostly third-party brands, customers perceive it as a single brand, he said at the time.
However, the pandemic, and the recession it has helped usher in, may have been too much for the brands and their consumers.
Need Supply has been selling online since 2008 and ships worldwide, according to its website. The same year the company acquired Seattle retailer Totokaelo, which shares a focus on the millennial luxury shopper. The two brands grew their sales and expanded their brick-and-mortar operations over the years. Four years ago, Herschel Capital Corp., the investment arm of retailer Herschel Supply Co., acquired Totokaelo and a minority interest in Need Supply.