This month we are excited to be featuring Hicham Ratnani, COO/CFO and Cofounder of Frank & Oak. Frank & Oak is an online clothing store revolutionizing the way men shop and is the #1 online brand for modern men. What could be better than expert styling, at home try-ons and an 8% store credit on every purchase? How about the hand-written note that comes folded into every purchase! Hicham believes in focusing on every detail, something he may have learned during his school years in electrical engineering, or maybe he learned to have everything covered during his football days? Either way, Hicham is paying close attention to the company and changing the face of eCommerce and men’s fashion in Canada.
Q: Frank and Oak has come so far in just a few years. What does it take to build a successful brand from the ground up?
A: Building a brand takes perseverance. When you start out, it’s a lot of getting to know your customer, and hustling, more than anything else.
I always tell my team to keep their heads in the sky and their feet on the ground—everyone should dream big and innovate, while still taking things step by step.
Q: Tell us about what you did before starting Frank and Oak. How did it prepare you for taking on this new challenge?
A: I’ve always been an entrepreneur–I started my first company at the age of 13, and have loved building companies ever since. Still, there are two standout experiences that have really helped me on the Frank & Oak journey. First, my previous career as a Technology Strategy Consultant with Deloitte. I saw a range of companies and industries from different angles, and learned a lot about best practices and improving business processes. Second, my background playing football. I was a team captain (directing a group of 50+ guys) from a young age, which gave me the skills to lead a company and execute a shared vision.
Q: Frank & Oak has seen some major success in the last 12 months. Where do you plan to go from here?
A: We’re continually breaking into new product categories, improving the customer experience, and focusing on maintaining our company culture—both on the customer side, and internally.
Q: What are some of the challenges currently faced in the Canadian E-commerce industry and how has Frank and Oak overcome them?
A: There aren’t too many Canadian e-commerce companies out there; so we’ve got the fantastic opportunity to offer Canadian consumers a new way to shop online.
Q: How has Frank and Oak integrated mobile into your shopping experience? And what effect has it had on business and brand awareness?
A: We have a fully integrated mobile experience, with apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Our goal is to offer a simple and flexible shopping experience, which means letting our customers browse on the platforms they’re most comfortable using. Today, more than 20% of our traffic and sales come through mobile.
Q: What does your average day at Frank and Oak consist of?
A: I oversee our operations, so I’m usually working on ways to improve the customer experience and eliminate any barriers to success.
I always set aside time to answer customer service emails, too. Customers are the pulse of the company, and it’s important to connect with them directly for a deeper understanding of what’s working well, and what areas need improvement.
Q: What do you love most about what you’re doing right now?
A: I love that I work somewhere with such an inspired (and inspiring) team on a project that touches so many people and their lifestyles.
Q: What advice would you like to extend to other young entrepreneurs looking to get involved with something amazing or to start something of their own?
A: There’s one resource you’ll never have enough of: time. If you want to start something, don’t hesitate.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t know otherwise.
A: I really enjoy cooking. This past weekend I made lasagna, banana bread, and cookies.
Interview by Rachel Scott