So why is this interesting? From the business perspective, as Hugh points out, it’s all about strategy:
“the demand for bespoke English suits is fairly steady, but the supply of young tailors willing to endure a 7-year apprenticeship has been drying up over the last 50 years. Now the average age for a good English tailor (at Thomas’ level) is around 60. So even if the market for bespoke is tiny, there’s only about 20 people IN THE WORLD who can cut an English suit at Thomas’s level. And a good portion of Thomas’ direct competition have never even sent an e-mail before, let alone started blogging.”
The service being offered here is neither cheap (a two piece suit will set you back a cool £1610) nor commoditized, so any differentiation could mean defining a whole new market segment.
Of course, the other thing that’s interesting here is that it’s the opportunity to read the thoughts and insights of a highly skilled personal artisan in a business that’s otherwise dominated by alienated labor, large corporations, and mass marketing. Sound familiar? Thomas brings it home in his post about “how to pick a ‘bespoke’ tailor” (emphasis added):
Don’t be convinced by the narcotic effect of labels, they mean nothing. Have your eyes and senses tuned. Don’t trust the glossy magazines for your info, they are writers, not cutters. Their world is about PR, not about the actual stitching.
No journalist ever had to spend seven years as a proper tailor’s apprentice. Their agendae are different from yours.
All business is personal. Especially in tailoring.
Hear that? Cluetrain in the distance.