2021 was our first full year in the pandemic, and what a year it was. Although some sectors remain under severe constraints, I’m humbled by our collective resolve to normalize this insanity and keep showing up for work…even if it’s in sweatpants. I’m encouraged to see men continue to dress well, and I’m hopeful that we’ll find our way to a better world together.
Thank you everyone for all the support over the years, for continuing to be dapper, and for allowing me to spend my days making the suits that I love. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from the past eight years in this insane industry.
Sustainability is our only option
As extreme weather becomes more prevalent, and trash more endemic, I’m more aware than ever that living in harmony with nature is our only solution for a future. I promise to continue my progress towards a zero waste business, and ensure that our workmanship is of the highest standard so that our garments will last into the next generation. For more details on our current sustainable strategies head over here, and I’ll always looking for new ideas so hmu in the comments.
You have to stay current
The only constant is change, and the only thing changing faster than corona variants is client’s minds. As a business your sole purpose is to serve the customer, and adapt to his changing needs. So many things have changed since 2020, from work environments to social norms, and every business must be sure to offer what their client’s need now.
In tailoring this has meant more comfort and individualization, both in the suit and in the process of getting it made.
Cashflow is Key
Handling regular monthly expenses with erratic and fluctuating incomes is a fine balancing act. Each business must find it’s unique approach to a positive cash flow, and be able to constantly adjust as sales go up and down in unpredictable ways.
Sitting on too much cash is counter productive as that money could be used to grow the business. Yet too little cash is catastrophic as a poor sales month can send you into debt and take months to turn around. Large businesses have accounting software to handle all of this, but for the small enterprise it’s down to your wits. I thank my mother and father, my friends and business associates who have always answered my questions honestly and guided me to finding my own balance in this regard.
The Jack of all Trades is Master of None
For the longest time I was trying to run a ten man business as one person, and it wasn’t working very well. I then reduced my services to bespoke suits and alterations only, and have eliminated or reduced absolutely everything else until the team is ready. And it’s gone progressively better the narrower my focus has become.
Although Charles and I could indeed be taking on a range of additional projects, we’re laser focused on being the best bespoke suit tailors. Of course we do accept non-core projects now and then, but with this focus we ensure that we deliver the best possible service to our clients, even if it means passing up an opportunity here and there.
Down time is not dead time
Running a business can be all consuming, and if it’s something you love it’s hard to resist falling completely into your work. Competitive hustle culture also piles on the guilt for any time not spent in building your empire. Last year I put some boundaries in place and got back (somewhat) to having a life apart from the business. And it’s really paid off! I’ve been more engaged, creative and clear minded in my job, providing a superior product and service to my clients in turn.
Take care of yourself, you’re worth it!
Thank you again everyone, your support has let me live my dream for eight years now, and I count myself so incredibly lucky to serve you! All the very best for 2022, I can hardly wait to see all the great garments you’re going to have me make for you! I’ve been writing these posts since I started the business in 2014, if you’d like to see what else I’ve learned from this fabulous industry go here
If you want to know more about the business check out the About Page, and up your fashion game with our Style Guide. Also follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and you can always get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (+27 73 345 1779)