More SAULT, Please!
By Tanesha Barao
Sault New England, located at 677 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, is a chic boutique for men. The owner, Philip Saul, opened the store in September 2011 after noticing a need for stylish pieces for the everyday man.
The white, intricate design of the ceilings combines with the classic wood flooring to create a rustic and comfortable vibe when a customer enters Sault. The store is clean and neat; soft music playing in the background sets the mood for a relaxed shopping environment.
Philip Saul is not new to the world of buying and selling, with a background of nearly eighteen years in retail and merchandising. He explained his humble expectations when he first opened his own business. Saul generated the name of the store by adding a t to his last name and including New England to represent the roots of the store and its future. Saul said that he liked the “concept that salt is a form of preservation; it’s very New England, very Cape Cod. . . . Ideally it’d be nice to have multiple stores and kind of keep them in the New England area.” Saul is also supporting the local economy by selling brands from Fall River, Massachusetts.
With merchandise ranging from men’s clothing to stationery, light bulbs, and even terrariums, it’s no surprise that choosing a favorite item is tough for the owner. “Some of my favorite pieces, they go in different cycles depending on what season it is,” said Saul. “I try to rotate the merchandise and the look of the store for the season. Everything is my favorite. I mean it’s all got a special place for me. There’s not an item in the store . . . that I don’t really like.” Handpicking each item in the store reflects Saul’s dedication to selling items that he himself would use; he carries merchandise he values rather than items he knows will sell well.
Saul not only selects his stock with great care but also deeply appreciates his customers. “I believe that everybody that walks in the door makes the decision to walk in the store and I appreciate that and I want to be able to give them a good shopping experience,” said Saul.
Although Sault sells mostly men’s clothing, Saul is aware that his customers include women. “I’ve got to be realistic,” said Saul, “and realize who my customer base is.” Saul mentioned that a lot of families visit the store, as do women shopping with a friend. “You don’t want to alienate the customers,” said Saul, commenting on the items he sells. He wants everyone who walks in to feel that he or she could buy something. Carrying stationery, books, and candles, Saul is able to interest women who are not there to buy men’s clothing. When a woman comes in with her boyfriend, he would like to believe that she will “be able to buy something, and he’ll be able to buy something.”
Saul has a keen eye for men’s fashions but commented thought- fully on the prospect of expanding into women’s wear. “I’ve been asked that so many times, about women’s,” Saul said. “I think when it comes down to it...everything I sell, I believe in, and where I find my passion and where I get excited is in men’s apparel and in gift and in home. So I could definitely see expanding into a separate home store and then expanding on the apparel end. Everything needs to line up. I want to make an educated risk. I don’t want to take a risk just because.” Clearly knowing his boundaries, Saul has considered expanding but plans on taking it one step at a time.
Saul mentioned that he would “never want to have that disconnect between the customer base and what I sell.” It is important to him to see the storeowner take part in the everyday duties of the store. “It’s just nice to be able to see a business that you can actually relate to the owner, and the owner’s actually in the store . . . I find that really interesting,” said Saul. “And that’s something I never want to give up.”