Haberdash O.N.E. owner Gary Ballard had over a decade of experience selling apparel for platforms like Grailed and eBay when he opened his own men’s consignment store in March 2018.
He never considered opening a brick-and-mortar shop until he met a few young men with criminal records that were having employment challenges, needing immediate employment to satisfy their terms of parole.
He took a close look around and noticed that there were plenty of consignment clothing stores for ladies, but there was a distinct lack for a shop that provided quality used clothing and accessories for men.
So, Ballard decided to take the leap and open Haberdash O.N.E. The store opened in the historic 24th Street corridor in North Omaha with the support and assistance of the Omaha Economic Development Corporation.
Mentors Along the Way
Ballard noted that from a young age, clothing and fashion was something that interested him. His ‘mentorship’ started with his mother Nancy and his grandmother.
“My mother ritually took my sister and I on Saturdays to the shopping mall to shop for the week,” he said. “It wasn’t a stretch for us to travel to Kansas City to catch sales at Loehmann’s and other major department stores. My grandmother was famous for allowing us to circle toys out of the J.C. Penny’s and Sears catalogs as children, which graduated into being able to order our clothing out of Bullock & Jones and Bachrach catalogs from our teenage years into adulthood. Clothing and style were just what my family ‘did’ – on both sides.”
The company’s name is a play on the traditional English ‘haberdashery’ creation, an establishment that houses a barber, tailor, hatmaker, whiskey or cigar bar, and more. Ballard wanted to mirror this concept, but due to the limitations of the store’s physical space, he decided to offer a partial haberdashery experience and abbreviate it to ‘Haberdash.’
“We added O.N.E. as an acronym meaning: currently the only ‘one’ (men’s store) in the Omaha metro aspiring to model a full-service Haberdashery, and we also wanted to abbreviate Omaha, Nebraska,” he said.
The shop is operated by Ballard and his shopkeeper Amos Lacy. Together, they began making a name for business and revenues started growing consistently until the onset of the pandemic and shutdowns that happened in 2020.
This forced Haberdash O.N.E. to think outside the box and adjust its business model to something that could yield long-term growth. They established a strong cyber presence and employed social media strategies to survive, in addition to starting their own ‘house’ branded merchandise. The result was a soaring success.
Now, customers around world are sporting Haberdash O.N.E. apparel in the form of T-shirts, sweatshirts, outwear, pants, and more.
“Our branded clothing and accessories began to quickly outsell the consignment inventory, making it unsustainable,” explained Ballard. “This was a very humbling and flattering problem to have. We are the only Nebraska born Urban-Collegiate brand. Our clothing and accessories reflect just that.”
Currently, there are only a few consignment pieces left in the store and online. It may always keep a few of these items available, but looking ahead, Haberdash O.N.E. plans on continuing to grow its standalone brand.
Local and National Growth
“Our brand is succeeding in the local community because we offer a very unique aesthetic and brick and mortar experience,” Ballard said. “We have retained near half of our brick-and-mortar clientele and have added a burgeoning national customer base in 2021. We’re not yet back to pre-pandemic revenues, however, we are making enough to remain open.”
Today, the company is seeing significant growth in its national brand exposure, having already established a loyal customer base with people in different parts of the country. The shop also ships to customers in the United States within two business days.
While the reach has grown far beyond what Ballard initially set out for, Haberdash O.N.E. is dedicated to the seeing the people and the communities of Nebraska – Omaha especially – thrive.
“We are a minority inspired, created, owned, and operated brand and business,” said Ballard. “We look forward to continue connecting our brand messaging with positive initiatives throughout the city of Omaha, and the state at large.”
Ballard plans to do this by publicly co-signing anti-violence, teen pregnancy/STD awareness and prevention campaigns, and helping with career prep and readiness initiatives for young people in the area.
Assessing the Future Retail Landscape
Looking ahead, Haberdash O.N.E. recognizes that the retail landscape is continuing to morph, especially when traditional mall models are closing or adapting to more micro or pop-up shop models. Ballard’s primary 2022 goals are to grow client base and to gain local market share on the merit of uniqueness, relevance, and quality of house-branded offerings.
“Due to the overwhelming excitement about this brand and its marketing, we are so very excited to see the growth in post-pandemic traffic with the merging of our new national cyber audience,” he said. “We are a viral sensation waiting to happen. Our customer reach is at its largest ever.”
2118 N 24th Street #103, Omaha 68110 • https://haberdashone.square.site
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