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  • Daniel Kong

How the Hong Kong man about town can wear Zegna or Tom Ford and not break the bank

High-end retailer The Armoury has branched out with a website offering suits, shoes and accessories from big names in menswear at cheaper prices because they are either pre-owned, a special vintage item or not the latest product.

Seven years on from opening a premium menswear shop, The Armoury’s Mark Cho and Alan See had a mission when they offered a cheaper alternative to the high-end products in their Central premises.

Drop93, an e-commerce platform launched in July, sells pre-owned, vintage, and past season menswear at a big discount to the original price tags.

“There were two major reasons why we started Drop93. The first is that we sometimes come across garments from past clients being sold at charity shops. Many of these charity shops are unwilling or don’t have the capacity to treat our bespoke goods well, and the last thing we want to see is really great quality pieces being treated this way,” Cho says. “So if we can help to find these products a better home, that would make us really happy.

“The second reason is that we’ve been in business for seven years and have never gone on sale due to a strict pricing policy. As a result, we’ve slowly accumulated certain products that we aren’t able to sell. Drop93 is about trying to mix these two problems together and find a creative solution. It’s our way to make our ecosystem a little more complete, a little more intact.”

The name of the business derives from “Drop”, as in a supply drop because Cho is fond of military terms, and the figures “93”, which when spoken in Cantonese (gow sam), are a homonym for old clothes.

Products on the website cover a range of categories and brands such as Macintosh, Liverano & Liverano, Saint Crispin’s and John Lobb. Discounts can be considerable – an Anderson’s belt which retails at HK$1,300 (US$167) is on offer at HK$590, and a Tom Ford pre-owned suit worth HK$32,000 is on sale for HK$10,000.

All products are positioned at a premium or luxury level. In addition, they are all sourced from a tight-knit group of consignors.

“Drop93’s consignors are regular customers at The Armoury.” Cho says. “If you are a regular customer at our store and are of good standing, we are happy to consign. If we’ve never met you, and you are offering to consign branded goods, we will probably say no. We trust our customers, as they trust us.”

Currently, 90 per cent of sales are online but Drop93 does have a showroom in Lai Chi Kok, where about 10 per cent of purchases are made. Visits are by appointment only.

Cho doesn’t see Drop93 as money-spinner, more a way to reduce inefficiencies and cement relationships.

“Drop93 doesn’t make us much money. Compared to other competitors, our commission rate is much lower.”

“Logistically, there are so many processes. We take photos of products including detail shots, measure the garments, write the copy, upload photos, answer customer service questions and deal with the logistics of transit. It’s a lot of work for a 25 per cent commission.”

Drop93 is already building a network of regular clients. The Armoury attracts those with more disposable income, while Drop93’s discounted rates lure younger buyers.

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