Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Source Material

The old Playboy buying/gift guides from the 60s and 70s are some of the highlights of the magazine, and early on were part of the inspiration for the first Hugh pop up. The products were vetted, the styling was straightforward, and for a lover of vintage stuff there is always something cool to see.

Take, for example, this bar gear guide from 1961. A Dansk Fjord bar tool set was $15 (about $120 today if you trust the consumer price inflation calculator). Dunhill had some pretty hip silverplate bar accessories with that 8 inch cocktail jigger and tapered cocktail shaker. And Raymor was selling a streamlined martini pitcher I'd be happy to stumble on today.

Friday, February 5, 2016


I recently spent some time cleaning out dead links from my bookmarks folder, and was dismayed to see so many blogs I used to follow have disappeared. It's like blogging stopped in 2012. Which it kind of did, with social media becoming the preferred way to connect online. But all that great information and inspiration disappeared too.

As a small business on social media, it can be difficult to connect with followers - a like or brief comment on Instagram is about as intimate as things get these days. Facebook used to be a conversation, but now you're lucky to reach 5% of your page fans without paying $10 per post. It has its uses for promotion, of course, but the magic of the casual connection is gone.

Social media also isn't really the best way to bundle various types of content in one place. So there's that.

I'm making a leap of faith and starting this blog again. Think of it as the Hugh backchannel - it isn't meant specifically to promote stuff we have in the store. It's more the things that inspire the store. Pop culture, vintage finds, musings on design, tales from around town. 

Hugh is still on social media! Connect with us on Instagram @thankhugh. Follow us on Twitter @thankhugh. Fan us on Facebook /lovehughlongtime.

And read this here blog!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Detroit's Own Mad Men

Madison Avenue wasn't the only place where independent ad agencies thrived back in the day – Detroit had its own version of Mad Men in the eponymous Ross Roy agency.

Ross Roy, a portrait. Actually, the portrait.

Ross Roy, who started as an automobile salesman, founded his agency in 1926 in Detroit with the Dodge Brothers Corp. as the major client.  When Dodge was acquired by Chrysler in 1927 the Ross Roy sales approach was extended to all Chrysler Corp dealers, and the agency grew with Chrysler through the 1930s and 40s specializing in training, merchandising and production of education films. During World War II it more than doubled in size producing these materials Chrysler as part of the war effort.

After the war the Ross Roy agency thrived with Chrysler as their main client, but also taking on clients such as American Steel Wool Manufacturing Co., Dana Perfume, Esquire socks, and Lake Central Airlines.  As a fan of Mad Men it's amusing to see how these types of businesses have also appeared as clients of Sterling Cooper/Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Ross Roy Inc. occupied offices right on East Jefferson in downtown Detroit at Joseph Campau, directly across the street from Garden Court Apartments and Doctor's Hospital (or as we have known it, Staples).

Ross Roy Inc., once upon a time.

Ross Roy Inc. continued to grow and acquire other independent agencies in the 50s, 60s and 70s and by 1980 had billings of $191 million annually. In the late 80s they moved their offices to Bloomfield Hills and by the time they were acquired by Omnicom Group, the parent company of BBDO, they were one of the largest independent shops in the U.S.  The Ross Roy name disappeared in 2000.

Ross Roy himself passed away in 1983 at the age of 85 (so he would have been about Bert Cooper's age in the 60s).  Today, the man is a member of the pantheon of legendary Detroit businessmen.

Here at Hugh we've managed to acquire some of Ross Roy's personal effects from his estate that, not coincidentally, are perfect accessories for the Mad Man in you – an assortment of vintage cufflinks and tie bars, and a rather stellar silverplate ice bucket.


They make their debut at the store Saturday at our Mad Men Pre-Party, so be sure and stop by. Not only can you own a piece of Detroit history, you can own something from a real Mad Man.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Classic Shaving: the Double-Edged Safety Razor

This is part two of Hugh's look at the elements of classic shaving.

The double-edged safety razor is the razor your father or grandfather probably learned to shave with.  It has been around since the early 20th century, and when we think about the kind of manly shaving we see in old movies, this is the kind of razor they all used.  It provides an exceptionally close shave with minimal irritation, and is convenient, earth-friendly and economical to boot.

The primary misconception about shaving in this era of multiple-blade disposable cartridges is that a single blade can't give you a close shave.  The is actually not true. The trick to using a safety razor is proper beard prep (see yesterday's post), maintaining the blade at a 30-degree angle against the skin, and using short strokes while letting the weight of the razor do the work. You don't want to apply any additional pressure or you'll end up with razor burn.

There's a little learning curve to using a safety razor, but there was a learning curve when you began shaving in the first place.  After a couple shaves your muscle memory takes over and it all becomes second nature.  There are many helpful tutorials on YouTube that go over the basics of the double-edged safety razor, if you want a little extra advice.

Aside from getting a close shave and looking hot while doing it. using a double-sided safety razor has other benefits.  It is much more cost effective than using expensive proprietary shaving refills, and you get to use both sides of the blade.  And because there are no plastic parts, disposing a razor blade is simply returning metal to the earth. Groovy, man.

At Hugh we have a couple options for those who want to make the switch.  The high-quality Merkur razor we sell is hand-made in Solingen, Germany (the cutlery capital of the world!). It has an extra-long handle for easy handling and is nicely-weighted.

If you are merely curious about trying the double-edged safety razor but don't want to make a bigger financial commitment, we also sell the Vie-Long safety razor, made in Spain.  It is a bit lighter and the quality isn't as obvious as the Merkur, but it is quite affordable and a great way to test the waters.

Lastly, for those of you enjoying a complicated facial hair moment, we do offer the Merkur Detailing Safety Razor.  Each end of the blade is a different size for shaving with precision.

Of course, there are other options available, and accessories other than the ones we stock.  Ask about them, we can easily special items.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Classic Shaving: Soaps & Brushes

Modern technology has transformed the shaving ritual to the point where "ritual" isn't even the proper word. It's really just a task at this point. But as one of the touchstones of masculinity, it seems a shame to relegate it to one of a litany of grooming "S"s (I'll assume you know the rest). 

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the elements of classic shaving, but lethal-looking razor blades and the plethora of shaving accessories out there can be intimidating. At Hugh I've waded through it all to bring you a selection of products suited to everyone from the curious to the committed.   My goal is to put a little enjoyment back into your shave without the hassle.

We're gonna spend a little time this week diving into it all, starting with ...

Shaving Soaps & Brushes

One thing every man can benefit from is switching from shaving cream in a can to a good shaving soap and brush.  It's the simplest way to improve your shave, not to mention give you a little old-school grooming cred each morning.

Hard shaving soaps remove dirt and oil from whiskers, allowing water to easily penetrate for optimal softening.  It's as simple as wetting your shaving brush and working up a lather. At Hugh we sell D.R. Harris shaving soap, either with a covered mahogany bowl or alone for use in a shaving mug.

Another great thing about a shaving soap?  A single 3.5 once puck will last months and months.

Quality shaving creams in bowls or tubes are great to use with a brush too. They are good for guys who value convenience, or who have dry skin since they are rich in moisturizing agents.  Our preferred brand is Baxter of California's Close Shave Formula.

Using a shaving brush is key in making your perfect shave dreams come true.  A shaving brush lifts whiskers and gently exfoliates, resulting in a better shave with less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs.  A shaving brush also helps your bottom line, as it generates more lather using less soap.

Shaving brushes come in many varieties: boar hair as the baseline quality, horse hair a step up from that and badger hair is the best.  And even badger hair comes in multiple grades, ranging from coarser & less expensive to very fine and very expensive (you can spend over $100 on the best brushes). 

The badger brushes we stock at Hugh are the Vulfix Old Original Super Badger brush ($50) and Pure Badger brush ($30).  They providing softness and excellent absorbency, and are hand-made on the Isle of Man in the U.K.

Of course I can special-order any other brushes and the lead time is generally quick.  Feel free to come in and we can discuss the nuances of animal hair.

Next up: the Double-Sided Safety Razor

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Big Opening

It's been just over a week since the opening party and I've only now had the chance to sit down and try to collect my thoughts. Here they are: Holy Shit.

You kids sure love a party. Best guess is over 300 folks showed up to welcome Hugh to Midtown. All I know is we went through six cases of bubbly (and three bottles of San Pellegrino) in four hours. Drunks, the lot of you. Come back soon.

Here are some photos I cribbed from Facebook and Twitter of the event, since I didn't have a chance to think about getting someone to take pics at the party.

Ted Balowski and Nick Gorga, founders of Hatch Detroit and the people
who really made this happen.  This isn't a red-eye problem by the way,
 Ted's eyes actually look like that. It's weird.
My old friends from Ann Arbor drove out, and got this pic of me with my family.
That's my mom Peg Posch in the foreground, you may remember she was my pit bull
during the Hatch competition.
Me giving thanks and extolling the importance of independent business in Detroit.
They give our neighborhoods their personalities and they rule. Support them all.
That's right, a champagne pyramid. That's Kyle pouring with me, she is awesome
and has helped me at every Hugh party since the first one. She was also a partner
in the Woodbridge Gypsy Den & Tearoom, the first runner-up in our Hatch finals.
And yes we are still friends.  Detroit people are awesome that way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almost There.

Even Playboy magazine is anxious for Hugh to open. No need to wait much longer - Hugh opens at 3pm on Friday, November 16.  We're finally there!