A Conversation with Mike Rodela and Garrett Minniear of Quality, Indianapolis’ Premier Streetwear Shop
A decade and a half ago, Indianapolis natives Mike Rodela and Garrett Minniear were just two kids skateboarding their way through their teenage years. Fast forward to 2016, when the lifelong friends decided to invest in their mutual love of men’s fashion and streetwear style by opening their own clothing boutique, aptly named Quality. Today, Rodela and Minniear smartly avoid pigeonholing themselves into any specific style, but they agree that the boutique’s current aesthetic is definitely inspired by their skateboarding roots.
Located in one of Indianapolis’ most active arts-and-entertainment districts, the airy, stylish shop offers several popular streetwear brands—including their own in-house label—alongside sneakers and various accessories. With a refreshingly clean website and a strong Instagram presence, it might seem surprising that Quality’s co-owners are so invested in managing an actual brick-and-mortar location. But in reality, maintaining a storefront was always their top priority.
“Ever since our beginning stages, we wanted to connect with people locally, and the only way to do that was to have a physical location,” Rodela says. “That’s always been very important to us; in fact, it’s the most important to us.”
Now nearing the end of its second year of operation, Quality continues to build connections with customers and fellow business owners. The boutique’s local roots, friendly and open vibe, and lively monthly events have melded Quality into the fabric of Indianapolis’ popular Mass Ave. neighborhood.
What motivated you both to finally make the leap into entrepreneurship?
We knew this was a risky endeavor and that this was a big chance to take, but we were also at a point where we were willing to take that chance, because we thought it was a risk worth trying. We did some research into where we wanted to be located and what was going on in the city. And then we made the decision that it was the right time for us to try to open the store and create our brand. Overall, we’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to own a business in the city that we are both from, and that we both love.
Fashion isn’t the easiest industry to launch a successful business. What do you bring to Indianapolis and the Midwest at large by opening a menswear boutique?
In the Midwest, men’s streetwear is still very much a subculture. With Quality, we have an outlet to express ourselves and like-minded individuals can come here and do the same thing. To a deeper degree, the physical store helps to make new connections and create new relationships. Our customers meet other customers and make connections that way. It’s helping to evolve and push the local scene forward.
You’ve both done a lot of work to build out Quality’s in-house brand and creative voice, from doing editorial styling and seasonal lookbooks, to maintaining an active Instagram page. Can you tell us about that process?
Sure—so, the brand is just called Quality. We do all the designs, we make everything ourselves, and we only sell it in-store and on our website. Everything we make is limited quantities, and we never go back and do the same thing. Our brand has grown along with our business and our shop.
With social media, Instagram is our main source of promotion for anything as far as events, products, blogs and editorials. And for our visual content, going back to the relationships and connections that we’re building within the city, we like to work with local models and photographers. And sometimes it’s just friends of ours we want to work with. It’s a way for us to bring people together and help move the local scene. We have a fun time doing it, and we’re also creating cool visual content for our social media platforms.
What sorts of brands do you find the most interesting? What kinds of aesthetics are you drawn toward?
The lifestyle that we grew up in, the experiences we have from skateboarding and the kind of fashion that people were wearing at that time influence us a lot. Now that we’re a little bit older, the emphasis is on essential pieces. Minimalism. Sort of a workwear—and even a kind of grungier—aesthetic at times. I think that’s what we’re drawn to and what we’re personally interested in. That’s where all of this comes from—this is a passion of ours, and this is what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis.
In an interview, you said that you don’t want Quality to be known for one specific piece of clothing or one specific brand. But how would you describe your vibe?
If I had to sum up the energy of Quality, I would say it’s a “curated modern lifestyle boutique.” I think that lets us not be too specific about one kind of clothing or a brand. We look at it as just a modern lifestyle, which can encompass a broad variety of things. At this time, we’re specializing in streetwear clothing and footwear and accessories and things like that, but we want to leave the window open for any future change and possibilities.
Images courtesy of Quality.