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IN BRIEF

Description: Suit the City is a bespoke tailoring franchise. You do not need any fashion or tailoring experience – your role is to market your business and gain sales, while our expert tailors make the clothing. Opportunities: In the UK, across Europe and the US. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Investment: £19,950. Training Provided: Yes. Home-based: Yes. Part-time: Yes. BFA Provisional Member: Yes.

VIDEOS

Suit the City Franchise Video: Interview with Tony

Suit the City Franchise Video: Interview with Tony

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FRANCHISE ASSOCIATIONS

BFA Provisional Member

Gordon Inglis - Leeds franchisee

Bq1t9zcpFKJDVRlnTQLVn5Q4WXNf_Bz9ONPioMqTDwc.jpgBefore joining mobile made-to-measure tailoring franchise Suit The City, chartered management accountant Gordon Inglis spent six years working for Lloyds Bank. He confesses that he’d dreamed of working for himself since university days, but realised that first he needed to build experience and contacts in the corporate world.

By the time the economy began to emerge from recession, Gordon had had enough of the financial sector and decided the time was right for a total change of career direction. He understood better than most the failure rates for new business start-ups and so turned to franchising as a safer route to self-employment.

“I’m a cautious person by nature, so I researched the marketplace thoroughly, looked at lots of different options and spent a great deal of time crunching the numbers,” he explains. “For me, Suit The City simply stood out. At that time, I wore suits every day, so I recognised that this was a service that professional people would need and appreciate. I liked the aspirational nature of the product and felt I would be able to relate to potential customers.”

Once the decision was made, Gordon embarked on his training. “There’s a lot to get to grips with,” he says. “From learning how to measure clients using master models to understanding the IT systems and becoming familiar with the huge range of styles, fabrics, and accessories. Thankfully, you don’t have to learn to sew as the Suit The City factory in Europe actually produces the garments, albeit to our precise specifications. ”

Carol Rawson, founder and managing director of Suit The City was able to coach him and provided sterling support on sales & marketing, while he describes technical director Sallie Belton, who delivers the measuring and systems training, as ‘endlessly patient’.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Gordon declares. “The directors are really knowledgeable, incredibly helpful and so friendly – you really do join a close-knit team!”

Training is not just ‘classroom based’, as Gordon discovered. Carol and Sallie spent several days on his territory in Leeds, providing hands-on training, helping him launch his business and starting the process of building up his customer base. He recalls they worked together on a marketing plan, contacted local media and attended a number of networking events.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about networking and Carol is great at that,” he smiles. “We went to visit one potential client and within an hour she had secured my first order!”

Franchisees are not ‘on their own’ until both they and the directors feel completely confident that they are ready to operate independently – even then, support and advice is at hand whenever it’s needed.

“When you start there are inevitably peaks and troughs as you build your business, but once secured, clients love the clothing and the service, so they tend to place regular orders, as well as recommending you to their friends and colleagues. I’ve been a franchisee for a year now and I’m very happy with the way my business is progressing; my clients include large professional companies of solicitors and accountants as well as individuals.”

For Gordon, career satisfaction and quality of life are at least as important as the potential financial rewards, which is another reason he chose Suit The City. He confirms with a wry smile that there’s not too much call for creative flair in the financial sector and few, if any, occasions where customers have been so thrilled with his service that they would recommend him others. In fact, he says, you usually only hear about the bad feedback banking.

“I really enjoy advising clients on style and colour; part of my role is consultancy and my clients really appreciate that personal service, professional advice and creating together an individual look that exudes quality and fits perfectly. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best part of being my own boss – I’ve had great response from customers, which is a brilliant feeling.”

For his first year, Gordon has focused on marketing menswear – from business, evening and wedding suits to casual clothing. Now he is ready to expand his business to offer women’s wear too.

“Until now, Sallie has helped out whenever I’ve been approached by female customers, as the range of garments is much wider and the different styles and sizes more complex,” he explains. “However, a year in, I’m looking to expand my business and have decided to invest in the training and master models to enable me to extend my made-to-measure services to women.”

He concludes, “Joining Suit The City was definitely the right decision at the right time for me. I love the dynamic relationship between myself and the franchise team – they are always open to ideas – and the business has definitely lived up to my expectations. I enjoy the flexibility of controlling my own diary, working directly with clients and seeing the look on their faces when their garments are delivered. It takes time to adapt to the change of lifestyle when you work from home, but basically I’m having great fun and believe there’s huge market potential for my business. I’m really excited about the opportunities that lie ahead!”

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