The Normal Brand brings its durable, understated basics to the Country Club Plaza

From left to right brothers Jimmy, Conrad and Lan Sansone. Photo provided by The Normal Brand.

Before they were in high school, the Sansone brothers had their own business. The oldest two of ten children in a suburban St. Louis family, Jimmy and Conrad Sansone started running a summer camp for kids in their neighborhood when Jimmy was twelve and Conrad was eleven.

“We had an efficient peer-to-peer marketing network: our siblings’ friends,” Jimmy says. “We grew up babysitting, so this was really just babysitting on steroids. We basically just babysat them every day for a week and had them play sports.”

The Sansone brothers’ summer camp and other entrepreneurial efforts (sealing driveways, selling poinsettias) eventually landed them in the pages of the St. Louis Business Journal. Their brother Lanran the summer camp after Jimmy and Conrad. The camp’s still going—it was handed down to the three youngest siblings the way other families might pass down a ten-speed.

The Sansones are still getting ink from the St. Louis Business Journal thanks to their quickly expanding clothing stores, The Normal Brand. The Normal Brand opened a hometown shop in 2019 and quickly expanded with a retail outlet in Nashville and, now, the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City (425 Nichols Road, KCMO, They just recently opened two more stores, in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood and in Denver.

Photo provided by The Normal Brand.

Jimmy left corporate finance to start the business in his parents’ basement in 2015. Brothers Conrad and Lan joined soon after. As the name implies, the idea is to “make normal clothes better,” with a focus on comfort and quality.

“We grew up in a family with a love of clothes,” Jimmy says. “We were taught that the way you dress is a sign of respect for yourself and the people you meet with. We grew up shopping with our hands—you go into a store and you can feel the quality.”

Fabrics are a big focus of the clothing line. “Most of our fabrics are custom blends,” Conrad says. The “core fabric” is a proprietary poly/cotton/spandex blend they call “Puremeso,” which you’ll find in hoodies ($78), Henleys ($52) and polos ($62). They say it’s “crazy soft” and has a “great drape.”

“We have a huge emphasis on a soft hand and combining that with durability,” Jimmy says. “We want to produce a garment you never want to take off.”

With minimal branding, understated design and the use of durable cotton, The Normal Brand’s pieces stand in sharp contrast to so-called fast fashion. 

“We want to help you build an efficient closet where you’re getting a great cost per wear of your styles,” Jimmy says. “Growing up, when we would shop with our mom, she would say that before you buy something, you need to think about wearing it three different ways so you are building an efficient closet and you’re buying things that you can wear over and over.”

At the store on the Plaza, expect music, candles and a “positive and welcoming atmosphere.” Also, expect to be greeted and helped as you shop.

“There’s actually a huge benefit to being an outsider, which is what we are, to the fashion business,” Jimmy says. “We might have a very steep learning curve for some things, but we ask some of the same things that maybe our customers would ask.”

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