Some people prefer to invest in the familiar, building a business in an industry or sector they know well; others like Suit the City franchisee Tony Carr, are looking for a complete change of direction and an exciting new challenge.
Tony is no stranger to challenges or to building a business. Before joining the UK’s only made-to-measure tailoring franchise, he was former Group Retail Operations Director for Mothercare and The Early Learning Centre, with a long pedigree in retailing.
However, he was finding corporate life less fulfilling and wanted to spend time enjoying family life, Tony was seeking a new career that would not only give him the independence and freedom he desired, but also an outlet for his creativity and sociable, outgoing personality.
“Suit the City was exactly what I was looking for,” Tony confirms. “I’ve always loved individual style and great quality, so made-to-measure clothing instantly appealed to me. Working in a business environment in my previous life, I would invest in smart, stylish tailored suits, which meant I knew first hand that there would be a strong demand for Suit the City’s service and recognised the potential for building a successful business.
Tony fitted the Suit the City bill perfectly. “The business is emphatically not about franchisees sewing hand-made bespoke suits,” says Managing Director Carol Rawson – “garments are produced by a team of expert tailors at a specialised factory in Europe.” The ideal Suit the City recruit is an experienced business person and good networker, with strong interpersonal skills and a passion for delivering outstanding customer service.
“We absolutely are not looking for tailors,” Carol says. “What we need is more people just like Tony. His skills lie in finding customers, understanding what they need and delivering an excellent service. As a franchise owner, you can expect one-to-one training and on-going support, in addition, you will have access to a top quality range of Savile Row fabrics, multiple style templates and carefully selected suppliers.”
She continues: “You will also learn how to take accurate measurements and use our leading edge technology, plus there is style and image training and you get to see how fabrics are manufactured in the U.K. all of which means that you are in a strong position to offer expert advice to your clients.”
The Suit the City franchise offers exceptional value for money, with the initial franchise investment at just under £20,000. Plus operating costs are low as the service is mobile and existing franchisees work from home, which has the added benefit of no commuting! If preferred the franchisee can visit the client’s home or business premises to offer the service. This business model also means there is no requirement for expensive high street retail premises or the associated add-on-costs of rent, rates, energy bills and seven day a week staff.
As a result, the customer benefits too, as they get real value for their money. Tony and rest of the Suit the City team can deliver top quality, individually styled, made-to-measure garments at sensible prices – typically, about a third of the cost you might expect to pay on Savile Row. “For my customers I am the obvious choice,” says Tony. “Locally, my service is going down a storm, simply because my measuring is accurate, so the suits look great and fit well and we offer extensive choice – no two suits are likely to be identical. I have over 3000 fabrics to offer, plus a multitude of styles and bespoke details, in short, all the attention to detail that my customers expect.”
Tony continually wins awards from his local networking group for the most exciting presentations and one-to-one meetings in a month. He says it’s a nice accolade, but much more importantly his networking leads to plenty of new customers. “Once I have a customer, they invariably love the clothes and return to order more, which is incredibly satisfying; they also recommend me to friends and colleagues so that the business acquires a momentum of its own,” he explains. “What’s more, I’m making money doing something I have a passion for.”
The bottom line is that Tony is making money, but he’s also having fun; he loves the fact that he is involved in the whole process, from advising on style, helping select fabrics and match colours, through to final delivery of his unique products to his delighted clients. Simply put, for Tony, Suit the City is the perfect fit.
Suit the City is member of the British Franchise Association.