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Do We Still Need High-street Exposure in the Age of the Internet?


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#1 Sator

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 10:57 PM

It is not for nothing that Savile Row is close to the heart of London's banking and business sector. Yet today we live in the age of the internet. Many store owners are wondering why they pay the exorbitant rents (plus insurance, electricity etc) for stores in expensive business districts. Why not move your store to somewhere less expensive and compensate for the lack of exposure by spending more on a better website?

 

Some store owners argue that casual walk-ins are rarely a source of quality customers these days. The best clients are the ones off the internet, who know exactly what they want. That raises the question as to whether the old fashioned flashy storefront is even necessary.

 

Some have even started to ask themselves if it is better to buy a large home in a nice district and build a workshop into it. It has always been something common in Italy anyway. Instead of paying for a flashy store on high-street why not spend a bit of the money you save by hiring a more upmarket web designer? Your website then functions as an electronic storefront to give you exposure where it matters most.

 

Remember, though, as my web designer friend warns me, you get what you pay for when it comes to web design. Many older firms trying to enter the digital age make the mistake of trying to do it on the cheap because they don't take it seriously. Many old print media firms, I am told, are making this mistake, which isn't being made by digital native business models. 

 

Anyway, this is a controversial subject over which I have had a few lively conversations. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?



#2 Martin Stall

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:38 AM

I agree: expensive premises may stroke the proprietor's ego, but those premises themselves are not what make a business. It helps, but it's a valid question whether or not the expense is worth it.

 

Especially now that there's the internet, which makes it a lot easier to find the 'right' kind of people, i.e. those who value your work enough to pay a good price for the quality you deliver.

 

Interesting thought, too: to not have a flashy shop but instead a strong online presence. Makes a lot of sense, especially considering that customers with deep pockets exist the world over, and only a very minute percentage will ever walk by your door.


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#3 jukes

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 05:21 AM

On the other hand, the type of customer who frequent places like Saville Row, go there for the tradition and service. Its OK to have a website and work from home, but if your home is not within easy reach of the city or West end, not many clients will go out of their way to go there. There are tailors who have workshops out of town, but they still rent a place on the row to see their clients, or they fly around the world to see them.
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#4 Martin Stall

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 05:40 AM

Very true. It all depends on the type of business model you choose. There's no one way, no right or wrong, other than choosing a system that suits your personality, and satisfies the type of customer you want to be working for.


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#5 tailleuse

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 09:06 AM

Thomas Mahon, the tailor who writes English Cut, moved from London several years ago.  I gather he has a workshop that is connected to, or close to his house.  He visits the U.S. a few times a year 


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#6 maxee_sg

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 11:43 AM

I find the best is to have both online and offline. 

 

After all, online customers and offline customers could be from different target groups.


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#7 Martin Stall

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 04:52 PM

Thomas Mahon, the tailor who writes English Cut, moved from London several years ago.  I gather he has a workshop that is connected to, or close to his house.  He visits the U.S. a few times a year 

 

Pretty fancy place too, I've visited. He took a big risk making that move, but he had some smart marketing to back him up, and going for the travelling tailor approach was clever. Also, at that time he still visited Savile Row frequently (weekly?) to see customers.

 

From what I understand, he grew the offline/travelling part slowly, while trimming down the local/London bit by bit.

 

That's the trick: Find a system that has potential, test it, adjust it, and don't burn any bridges. Run with what works best.


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#8 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 07:34 AM

 

Pretty fancy place too, I've visited. He took a big risk making that move, but he had some smart marketing to back him up, and going for the travelling tailor approach was clever. Also, at that time he still visited Savile Row frequently (weekly?) to see customers.

 

From what I understand, he grew the offline/travelling part slowly, while trimming down the local/London bit by bit.

 

That's the trick: Find a system that has potential, test it, adjust it, and don't burn any bridges. Run with what works best.

 

 

The Journeyman tailor springs to mind?


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#9 Martin Stall

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 07:36 AM

Sure, why not? It's a completely feasible setup.


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#10 tailleuse

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 12:13 AM

 

Pretty fancy place too, I've visited. He took a big risk making that move, but he had some smart marketing to back him up, and going for the travelling tailor approach was clever. Also, at that time he still visited Savile Row frequently (weekly?) to see customers.

 

From what I understand, he grew the offline/travelling part slowly, while trimming down the local/London bit by bit.

 

That's the trick: Find a system that has potential, test it, adjust it, and don't burn any bridges. Run with what works best.

 

Yes, his property looks very nice.  I think you can stay there a few days while being measured for a suit.  Another good thing he's done is to post educational articles for men who can't afford bespoke.  There was a feature on the quality you could get at various price points. 

 

I've been watching Cousu Main, French version of a British home sewers' competition, The Great British Sewing Bee.  One of the judges is a Paris-based tailor named Julien Scavini,and I started reading his blog, Stiff Collar.  He's organizing a get-together for his readers.

 

I don't mean to say that client education is unique to these blogs: most good ones do it.  A pleasing graphic design is also important.


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#11 Martin Stall

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 12:38 AM

Good point you make. Educating a customer on the many different aspects of buying bespoke work is extremely important.


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#12 greger

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 12:47 PM

Depending on where you live a classy shop might bring in more customers. Around here two tailors, who were busy, you stepped into their work shop- there was no fancy place to meet customers. Customer came for the clothes not a fancy shop.


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#13 tutorversal

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 09:47 PM

More than half of internet-using teens have decided not to post content online over reputation concerns.

#14 tailleuse

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 06:42 AM

More than half of internet-using teens have decided not to post content online over reputation concerns.


Really? That's not my impression. In any event, posting photos and thoughtful commentary of one's juvenile tailoring attempts is not the thing that gets people into trouble.

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#15 tailleuse

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 06:45 AM

Really? That's not my impression. In any event, posting photos and thoughtful commentary of one's juvenile tailoring attempts is not the thing that gets people into trouble.


Take down that photo of the pick stitched shawl collar vest right now! The Internet never forgets!

I would draw the line at photos of a person in his or her underwear.


Edited by tailleuse, 23 August 2016 - 06:45 AM.

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#16 greger

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:49 PM

What!? Not going to show off the fine underwear you just made?
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