Founded in 2014, Spruce is a style consultancy with an in-house barbershop and clothier for men located in Denver, Colorado. Created by husband and wife team Taylor Romero and Becca Miller, our mission is to empower people by helping them to look and feel their best. It's all about building confidence and relationships with yourself and with others.
The Spruce Story
Even though Spruce was founded in 2014 (and opened its doors June 8th, 2015), the real story started in way back in 2006. Becca was working at a fast-growing law firm and Taylor had been brought in to digitize some of their processes.
The first time the two met was actually over the phone. Becca had just started and was looking to help clean up the firm's website. Though the two would come to forge an unbreakable relationship, they didn't get off on the best of terms.
See, Becca made one fatal mistake; she called Taylor before noon and in his world, that was a mortal sin. So, she took note and agreed to call him back later.
It was on the second call that they hit it off. The 30-minute call turned into an hour. You know the kind. Anyway, after they hung up, Taylor decided he wanted to learn more about her. In an attempt not to seem too desperate, he devised a plan. He told her that he had some photos that he wanted to share with one of his friends at the firm but that the only place he had them was on MySpace... yes... MySpace.
Taylor's friend (who was a grown ass man) did not have a MySpace account and Taylor knew it. So, he suggested that Becca befriend him so that she could then show his friend the photos.
Becca agreed and the two were instant MySpace friends! This gave Taylor all the access he needed to investigate her further. He browsed through her posts and photos. Due diligence, he called it. It wasn't long until the two were an item, and despite their best attempts to keep it under wraps, everyone at the firm knew.
Becca always looked professional. She knew how to wear clothes that fit. Taylor... he was more into the "utility" of an item. It was a rare occasion to catch him at the office with shoes or socks.
It happened slowly. A pair of basketball shorts here, a torn up tee-shirt there.
"Where is my brown shirt?" Taylor would ask.
"Oh, the one with the holes in it? I threw it out. I'll go with you to the mall and help pick out new stuff," Becca replied.
"Ugh, I hate shopping!"
Unfortunately for Taylor, in the absence of anything even remotely resembling Spruce, he was forced to give in and visit the mall.
Call it, "Operation: Own clothes other than the ones you owned in high school."
This story is all too common. Style is tough, and Taylor was not the only one Becca guided along the way. Besides going shopping with friends and family, she would receive selfies from her guy friends asking her to critique their look.
"Does this shirt match?"
"Is this too much grey?"
Many of Becca's friends came (and continue to come) to seek her style advice. I know what you're thinking: this is where the lightbulb goes off and the idea for Spruce is born. It's obvious, right? Well, it wasn't so clear at the time, and things are always more complicated than they seem.
Fast forward 6 years
It's 2013. Becca was working for a digital agency downtown, and Taylor was building mobile apps. They were both recovering from a few failed joint ventures that left them in debt and emotionally drained. Both of them were, for the first time in a long time, enjoying the benefits of a steady paycheck.
But it wasn't enough.
Before long, Becca was taking night classes at the local art institute in retail fashion management. She decided she wanted to get out from behind a computer and open Spruce! Actually, that's not true; Spruce is yet to come (told you this was complicated). Her original plan was to open a vintage clothing and housewares boutique on South Broadway. It was going to be called Love[sic].
Taylor was also unsatisfied, though the reasons for him were much more ambiguous. He was clocking in and clocking out, getting paid, and working for a software startup whose system he got to design and build. Still, there was an uneasiness brewing. Luckily, it came to a boil at just the right time.
It's all about timing...
Becca put in her notice. She told the agency that she planned to travel around Asia for a few months before returning to Denver to open Love[sic]. They laid her off. They were polite about it and ensured that she would receive unemployment benefits while she got her footing. She refused, and a month later she was on a plane bound for Asia.
It was while she was gone that things really began to unravel for Taylor. Not having his strongest ally, coupled with a job that had him feeling trapped, was too much. In December of that year, he quit his job. He had nothing in the pipeline, no prospects for a new gig, but he just knew he needed out.
But, not having any work made him nervous. From having spent so much time working at a single company he'd lost the momentum he had previously. It wasn't as easy for him to find new projects now. Not long after he left, one of the founders of the company approached and asked if he would be interested in joining another venture they had. It would be free from the problems of their current endeavor. At least, that's what Taylor believed.
...and the time is now
Fast forward another 6 months, and Becca is back in the country, an even more seasoned traveler, ready to start on her dream of opening Love[sic]. Conditions for Taylor had improved, and he was feeling a little more positive about the future... but there was still that uneasiness.
Becca worked diligently trying to secure merchandise, setting up an online store.... all the things one needs to run a successful retail operation. But, things weren't that easy. She was in a saturated market and did not have the budget to compete.
To make matters worse, she was having a hell of a time finding a storefront. The South Broadway area is pretty hopping and not many people were interested in moving. Becca found herself roaming up and down Broadway day after day, week after week, waiting for an opening.
Can it be time yet?
Almost... It was about this time (early 2014) that Taylor found himself, yet again, in a position that was unfulfilling. The startup he was with just landed a half million in investments, and it turns out that complicated things more than he expected. He put in his 30-week notice. He wanted to be around to help finish the new release of their software, but as soon as the investors heard the news, he was fired.
What if it was just for men?
Taylor landed some side projects, and Becca was working part time for a jewelry rep. They were making ends meet, but spending most their time talking about the future. What they were gonna do, where they wanted to be, what they wanted to build. Becca was working on the idea of a clothing store. She enjoyed learning about fabrics, diving into the finer points of fashion, and helping people look great.
"What if you open that store, but do it just for men?" Taylor asked. That was the spark that started the fire. A few days later, the couple was walking home when Becca pulled out a folded-up piece of paper from her pocket. It was of potential names for her new "mens only" apparel shop. She read them to Taylor.
"Refurb... Dapper... Spruce... Gent..."
"Spruce!" he interrupted. "Definitely Spruce."
The fire that started a blaze
They refined the concept:
A one-stop shop for everything men need to clean up their look. Combine great products with helpful, educational service. Ensure that even if we didn't have something that worked, we could give a man enough information to find something that worked elsewhere.
From this point, things started moving at hyper speed. They had a logo, registered their domain name, and started hunting for a place to set up shop within a matter of weeks.
During a meeting, one of Taylor's clients (he was still working freelance at this point) suggested they look on Tennyson for a place. There was a lot happening up there, and the neighborhood was really blowing up. They found the perfect spot, and 2 weeks later they signed the lease.
From this point, the Story of Spruce is documented online on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. When you have a moment, look through the photos and videos that have been uploaded over time. We took special care to document the whole process and hope you come on our journey with us to...