Emirates Man – ‘The Summer Escape Issue’ – Download Now
Bespoke tailoring, a sharp attention to detail and superlative fabrics make Suited & Booted the go-to for the coolest cuts.
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, and how do you set the day up for success?
CALVIN SMITH: Every morning, my day starts with selecting my outfit. I think about which appointments I have during the day and consider which look is most appropriate for the clients I’ll be meeting. As our clients vary in their needs, ranging from smart casual to formal business attire, we always consider which fits with that when we dress.
What was the catalyst for launching Suited & Booted and how do you now work as a team?
RYAN SMITH: We identified a gap in the regional market in terms of the tailoring experience itself and the product quality that was being offered here in Dubai. We wanted to offer a range of tailoring options to match the needs of individual lifestyles. We offer a modern twist on classic British tailoring, with a focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience from beginning to end.
What is your approach to business and building a work culture?
RS: We are at a stage where it’s incredibly important to us that our team have a personal input in the business. We have and always will be, people-orientated. From staff to management, our teams are the most important asset within our business and its key that we continue to cultivate a supportive and enjoyable work environment.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to date?
CS: We got the keys to our first shop in January of 2020, and this was our first major expansion. We completed the shop fit-out, but 3 weeks later Dubai went into strict lockdown. When we opened in June, we were overwhelmed with the support of the network we had built and will forever be grateful for that.
“Our main focus is to grow in a way in which we never dilute customer experience or compromise on the quality of our product.”
You use incredible fabrics, was this a key part of the brand NDA from the outset and how did you achieve this as a new brand?
CS: In the early days of the business, there was a lot of trial and error in terms of what product would work for the market, but we are now confident that we are consistently producing the best quality product to date. We have found using luxury high-end Italian and British fabrics gives us the best result and sits perfectly alongside our company ethos and brand positioning. We continually request customer feedback and use this to develop and improve our offering.
Did you have any mentors in the early days and how did this help navigate the right path?
CS: We are in a very fortunate position in that we have a number of extremely successful clients, which we never take for granted. It’s an amazing situa-tion to be in, as we always discuss our long and short terms goals and take their valuable advice and guidance on the best way to move forward.
Which has been the best piece of advice you’ve had in business?
RS: The harder you work, the more luck you create.
CS: Don’t be scared to make changes in the business. To become great, you need to be constantly evolving and improve yourself, your product and the service you provide. You might not get it right one hundred percent of the time, but even when you make mistakes you are learning and improving.
What has been your approach to scaling the business to date?
RS: We have huge plans for the future of the company. Expansion has happened naturally and over the past 12 months we have doubled in size. Our main focus is to grow in a way in which we never dilute customer experience or compromise on the quality of our product.
What do you believe is the value of social media in business growth relating to luxury and which platform do you feel will next drive most success?
RS: Social media is a massive part of our business and also part of a customer’s day to day life. People used to go shopping to physical stores more regularly, but are now on their phones or in front of a screen for 8-10 hours per day and can now make a purchase at the touch of a button. We have always invested in our social media channels, and we always receive a positive response which impacts engagement and sales. We run all of our own social media channels ourselves and are constantly personally interacting with our clients.
You offer a truly bespoke service, with multiple fittings if required. Tell us about the process of being fitted for a suit?
CS: Over the course of two to three fittings, we will build the suit to the client’s specification – the suit has been cut by our master tailor specifically to their body shape. In terms of the fit and the customisation, we allow the client to have as much or as little input as they desire – in most cases our clients ask for our expertise and styling advice to bring the look together. Our main aim is to make the process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. We often receive feedback from our clients that they will never go back to purchasing off the shelf after experiencing made-to-measure tailoring.
Which styles are currently driving sales?
RS: Business attire is always going to be in demand, and makes up a large percentage of our sales due to the corporate environment that exists within the region. We have recently noticed a surge in demand for smart-casual suits, and weekend attire such as shorts, chinos and linen shirts. These trends are relevant for both men and women.
Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
RS: In five years, we will have expanded within the Middle East region, with multiple local locations and the UK and online-based operation.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in the current market?
CS: If you’re looking to start a business, it has to be something you are passionate about. However difficult you think it will be, be prepared for it to be twice as hard. The highs are very high and the lows are equally low. If you have passion for the experience that you deliver and you have full belief in the product you are selling, then you can overcome anything that comes your way on the journey.
This is The Summer Escape Issue – where do you love to escape to?
CS: As I’m sure it’s the case for most people we haven’t had many holidays running a business and during a pandemic. We both love Italy and travel there as much as possible. It’s always beneficial for work inspiration and much-needed downtime.
Emirates Man – ‘The Summer Escape Issue’ – Download Now