In anticipation of the arrival of Michael Andrews Bespoke in the nation’s capital later this month, Modern Fellows spoke to its founder and CEO about Washington’s suit culture, the feel of the new space, and MAB’s typical clients. The official grand opening of their DC showroom at 1604 17th Street NW, between Q and Corcoran, is October 24 though they are already scheduling appointments. And they are throwing a party the evening of October 23.
To follow is a lightly-edited transcript of the conversation with Michael.
Why did you choose DC as your second location?
Washington is a very good market. It has a strong suit culture and a bit of a southern feel. I’m from Atlanta and so I feel comfortable there. It’s also a matter of proximity. We wanted to go to a place that was easily accessible without sacrificing service in New York. It is also easy for our new staff to commute back and forth from DC to NY. Our General Manager for DC has been in training in NY for a month.
What kind of a vibe will the new space have?
We picked a beautiful space on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a former residential brownstone. It is smaller and more intimate than our current space in New York. We’ve really been able to take this space and transform it exactly as we wanted to, which we’ve never been able to do before, which was kind of fun. It has a homey feel that we have tried to embrace in the design. We ripped out the kitchen and converted it to the bar. Our main sales area is this beautiful dining room table with a chandelier hanging over it. There’s a fireplace up there with some warm club chairs. Over on the side of the room there is a big plush velvet sofa. On the 3rd floor is where the tailors’ shop and fitting room will be. We made it out to look like a library. There is a gorgeous fitting room.
How would you describe your clientèle?
Our client on the whole is probably transitioning from high-quality off-the-rack suits. We have a number of clients who wore nicer off-the-rack brands and figured out that if they’re going to spend up to $2,000 for a quality suit, you can get a comparable quality, fully custom garment for that. It’s less guys who are already in more affordable made-to-measure and then moving up the food chain. Our clients tend to be individuals who are already spending for high quality ready-to-wear and they have figured out that they can get the same thing through us.
Are you thinking about growth beyond Washington at this point?
Our growth plans are simply to grow as big and as quickly as we possibly can without sacrificing a single bit of customer service. That could mean twenty locations, or it could mean two. I look forward to the chance to scale this into future locations, but right now our focus is making sure that our clients in DC get the same level of service that our New York clients are getting, and that our New York clients continue to get the same level of quality that they’re used to. We’re not going to sacrifice the level of service that we can deliver in the name of growth.
Photos courtesy of Michael Andrews Bespoke
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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