Last week Davelle Clothiers Founder and CEO David was interviewed by the Custom Tailors and Designers Association (CTDA) President Luke Mayes. Luke, the North America Sales Manager for Dormeuil, asked David a wide variety of questions about the menswear industry and David’s career.
Highlights from the interview will appear in the new CTDA email newsletter, but we wanted share the entire transcript here so you can hear all of David’s thoughts.
LM: What have been the secrets to your success as a clothier and businessman?
DE: Continued education via the CTDA as well as relationships with vendors have been the key to my success as a Clothier. Vendors are the blood of the men’s designer clothing business, and via the CTDA we can talk about business issues and how we can help each other. My relationships with vendors go beyond just price, they’ve become mutually supportive which helps me as a Clothier.
As a businessman, I believe success lies in creating long term relationships with clients. I believe it is imperative to ask questions of clients such as “What are your expectations?”, “What do you want from me?” and “Where do you want this relationship to go?”. These are crucial questions and more important than just making a sale.
Businesses who are successful ask these questions and understand that people want to have their own identity, not just dress like someone else. Even if you have impeccable taste as a businessman, it is imperative that you have the ability to develop personal style in others. Otherwise, we are just trading around clients among each other and selling a product that might look pretty but doesn’t meet the needs of the relationship as defined by the client.
My approach is to create specifically unique clothing solutions for individual clients. We have been around for over 20 years, but it isn’t just about who is here the longest, it is about creating your niche and offering something that no one else has. You can find some of the products we carry in other stores, but you won’t have the relationship with your wardrobe consultant and personal empowerment you get at Davelle Clothiers.
LM: Where do you see the future of the men’s clothing industry heading?
DE: We need education in the business. There is no definition of the fabric terminology out there and no real understanding of the craftsmanship of the garments. Clients need to be able to ask questions and learn about the clothing they are investing in. More knowledge is the key for the men’s clothing industry and understanding how to impart that to our customers is crucial.
LM: How does social media play a role in your marketing strategy?
DE: It’s now the foundation of our communication strategy. It let’s people know what we are doing and why- the vendors and products we’ve carefully selected and that we are relational, not transactional.
Social media lets us reach customers in a variety of ways to let them know what we are all about- we’re not about the buy 1 get a whole bunch for free. We’re more than one sale headline after the next, we teach people what to wear, why to wear it and how to wear designer clothing for men in a personalized way.
LM: What are today’s consumers looking for in tailored clothing?
DE: What men are looking for in designer clothing is uniqueness. They want a personal clothier and wardrobe stylist they can trust to give them individualized direction. They are unsure about the suits for men that they see in magazines like GQ and Esquire- are those looks really right for them? There is a lot of confusion out there and customers are asking “what should I do”?
They want to look updated and modern without going to extremes. Our clients want to dress for who they are. They’re looking for something different from just following the trends they see- they want tailored clothing that is the right fit for them. There’s a happy medium and balance for modern vs traditional – and men need an authority to guide them.
LM: What do you see as key trends for the coming Fall?
DE: I see a lot more textured solids and exotic blends. I think we need more mohair and I see that happening. We need more alpaca, more mohair. In terms of color I see rich tobacco earth tones and mid blues being the two most dominant. And heather grey is also strong. I also don’t see people going below 3 1/4 ” ties.
Thanks Luke for the great interview, it’s an honor to be featured in the first CTDA email newsletter!
David is the Past-President of the CTDA and a member since 2005. David has been designated as a Certified Master Designer by the CTDA.