Behind The Scenes At A Custom Suit Shop That New York Businessmen Love

michael andrews

Photo: Dan Goodman/Business Insider

Recently we checked out the SoHo studio of Michael Andrews Bespoke to find out what it’s like to get a custom-made suit.Clients are guided through the process of designing their own suit by skilled stylists who help clients navigate the 2,000 styles of fabrics.

Click here for a tour of the studio >
Each customer is personally measured by Andrews himself. Suits are then made by tailors in the company’s workshop in Shenzhen, China, near the Asian tailored suit capital of Hong Kong. Fittings are done at the studio and final adjustments are made by the tailors there, many of whom are originally from Hong Kong.

Andrews, a self-described “recovering corporate lawyer,” targets trendy business elites and the fashion conscious who want to get the perfect suit with the perfect fit.

The idea for the shop took shape while Andrews was still in the corporate world and unable to find suits that looked good and fit well, and were also reasonably priced. So he left the corporate world for fashion and started the company in 2007, believing that there were more people like him. He wasn’t wrong and the company has grown into a multi-million dollar business. 

The store, located in Great Jones Alley (on Great Jones St. between Lafayette and Broadway), is elegantly designed with a sleek and hip but welcoming decor. Clients are offered drinks upon entering. Andrews stresses the importance of client care.

“The business is about personal attention, high quality, and making sure clients are happy, so the space is designed to be somewhere you want to spend time in,” he said.

And customers seem to appreciate the service. Almost 75% of customers are referrals and most customers don’t just come once. All the clients we met in the store said they had heard of the place from friends or family.

Josh Fishman, a diamond dealer, learned of the store from his son, who works in finance. He had a suit made on his first visit and was back for some custom shirts.

To ensure quality remains top notch, Andrews uses a special system to rate his tailors. Each suit made receives marks and grades for quality and tailors are assigned scores. Those with the highest scores get special bonuses. This has enabled the studio to get the same level of quality from a Chinese factory that you would expect on London’s Savile Row, but at a much lower cost, Andrews explained.

Suits start at $995, significantly cheaper than other custom tailors in the area. Shirts start at $155 and pants at $235. The studio can also make custom tuxedos, sports coats, and over coats and they have plenty of accessories in the store to add to your ensemble.

But before you go to check it out, make sure you have an appointment.

Said Andrews, a perfectionist who insists on personally measuring each client, the only problem with his business model is that “there’s only one of me.”

First you need to find Great Jones Alley (Hint: it's on Great Jones Street between Lafayette and Broadway)

Look for the simple sign, enter the gate and the store will be on your right.

The first choice you have to make on entry is what to drink.

Prices listed on the bar aren't for the drinks (those are free).

Michael Andrews in his element.

Reading material selected for the business elite who frequent the studio.

And if you want to wear your new suit while working out, here are some suggestions.

Nick, centre, says he has been shopping at Michael Andrews for the past 4 years and their suits make up 70% of his work wardrobe.

Clients work with stylists to select the right fabric out of more than 2,000 varieties.

Andrews personally measures each client.

The tools of the trade.

Strong customer relationships and a pleasant atmosphere are an important part of the business.

Photos of clients are taken for reference at the factory where the suits are made.

Michael is constantly on the move at the store, personally tending to each customer.

Cloth is cut to just the right size.

Attention to detail is crucial for success.

The work is demanding.

Ironing ensures the fabric is in just the right condition.

A work in progress.

One rack for suits to be fitted and adjusted and another for suits going home.

Examples of the finished product.

Once a Bespoke suit is made it is bespoken for.

Not many offices allow you to drink while you work, but here it is encouraged.

Andrews credits his success to attention to detail and a demand for perfection.

The scene from above.

In addition to suits, the shop offers ties and other accessories.

Nothing goes better with the perfect suit than the perfect gloves.

This old-fashioned cash register probably can't handle all the shop's transactions, but like just about everything in the studio it sure does look good.

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