When the going gets tough, the tough do something out of left field

Dee Murthy moves in a rarefied atmosphere. There aren’t many people who write the business plan as part of a class and then decide to go ahead and do it. The other guy founded FedEx so Murthy is in good company.

Men don’t know what to buy

Murthy’s industry-changing business idea is not rocket science. Men don’t know what to buy when it comes to clothes. Murthy and his business partner, Andres Izquieta, decided to find a way to make it easy and keep it hip.

Their success was over twelve years in the making. On the way, they learned a thing or two about selling clothes to men. Men buy clothes as a sort of necessary evil. The shopping part is the bit they don’t like. Having the clothes is great, and buying fashion is ok. It’s the shopping which is the problem.

Take away the issue

man shopping in store

The revolutionary idea has two smart elements to it. One part is obvious; if men don’t like to go shopping take the shop to them. But the truly brilliant idea is how the club funds the business.

Their brilliant idea was to found a club. With thousands of members on a subscription they generated immediate cash flow, and it is a brilliant idea.

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The Club

Like all the best ideas, it is remarkably simple. The club members indicate the sort of clothes they lean towards and fill in their measurements and shoe size.

Then in return for their monthly subscription, items of clothing, footwear and accessories turn up on their door step and they get to keep the full package.

Fashionable men

fashionable man

What makes Murthy and his team so successful is over time the member gets a wardrobe that works together and is coordinated. But at the same time, the company and its designers get an insight into what sells in men’s fashion.

They have an immediate handle on the market, and they get it in 30 days. No wonder there’s a line of designers hoping to work with them.

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House brands

Their model leaves them a lot of room to maneuver. They have a range of standard brands which form the basis of the collections and which the members know intimately. But beyond the brands, they have the flexibility to work with external designers on special collections.

A campaign with Chris Paul from the Houston Rockets, for example, was curated to stress the power of individuality.

They can work in sales as they need to or want to, and as there’s a parcel going out to every member every month, they have the shipping down too.

In-house Design

Besides the two founders, another key team member is Mark McNairy who came on board to head their design aesthetic for some time before also launching their shoe brand, New Republic by Mark McNairy. But even with an in-house designer, they can still pivot creativity by adding brands.

This is possibly the most innovative of all their ideas. Items can be added to one of the house brands, but if it has the potential to be a stand-alone, all they need to do is add another brand.

Five Four

Murthy’s original brand is Five Four, although now it falls as a line under the Menlo Club umbrella. With Five Four the team offers the foundations of the range, but still has the power to nudge it in a direction for a while.

Five Four x Nick Wooster is a collection under the basic brand. Another collection is Five Four x Hotel 1171. This idea allows them to play with styles and price and keeps the brand fresh and exciting.

Grand AC

This brand was founded in 2016. The AC stands for Athletic Club, inspired by the laid-back Los Angeles culture of clothes leaning towards sportswear as everyday clothing.

At the launch, Murthy said “Everywhere you go you see guys wearing workout gear, even if they aren’t heading to the gym. So, we sought to create an entire brand that offers guys something more on-trend and stylish that they can wear to the gym, at a very accessible price point.”

New Republic

New Republic is both a testament to the tractability of their concept. The official name is New Republic with Mark McNairy. Murthy has no false ego and is willing to share the limelight.

New Republic stands on its own as its own brand, but of course, there’s a section of the main website dedicated to it as well.


Oshenta is the most recent brand launch by Murthy and Izquieta, which falls under the sunglasses category. Sunglasses are one of the most difficult accessories to choose. What looks good, do they ‘go’? But of course, the members can be comfortable these ones too because it’s a brand that they can trust due to the connection to the other Menlo House brands.

What looks good, do they ‘go’? But of course, the members can be comfortable these ones do because they come from the club and they trust the club.

The special relationship

The Menlo Club founders have a huge respect for the thing they created. They understand the power of their member base and treat it respectfully. There is the sense it’s never taken for granted, in fact as a member there are few rules. You can leave whenever you want to.

Caring for the brands is one of their jobs. Nurturing their members is perhaps even more important. The company is adept at using social media to underscore and develop a relationship with the members on an individual basis. They clearly know what they are doing.

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