In suit appointments I'm often asked where do you visit the most, what areas of London, what industries?
So I thought I'd write this short article describing a typical suit tailoring day I experience in London to give a flavour of what it's like and who else buys bespoke suits from Mullen & Mullen.
As the black sheep of the family business, I live in London and commute up to York. Dominic, Damien and Catriona live in York and commute down to London. My day usually starts with an 8:30 or 9AM appointment and our most commonly visited areas of London include the square mile (City of London), so that's Chancery Lane, St Paul's, Bank and Monument; the many law chambers of Temple, Grey's Inn Road and Fleet Street; Liverpool Street; and of course, Canary Wharf.
Each appointment lasts approximately 40 minutes and I have about eight per day. A mix of first and second suit fittings, as well as new appointments.
We use public transport to get from office to office and the smartphone app Citymapper has transformed our job. It's surprising but public transport consistently beats all other means of transport in terms of timing.
The range of suit customers we see in London is incredibly and wonderfully diverse but as you can imagine the majority are within professional services.
Law, finance, management consultancy. The bread and butter of a suit tailors contact book. Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Credit Suisse, Barclays, J. P. Morgan, Hogan Lovells, Norton Fulbright Rose, Stevenson Harwood, Eversheds, Clifford Chance, PWC, EY, BDO, Deloitte., Accenture, BCG and Oliver Wyman are some of the recognisable names.
I would say these industries make up two thirds of my customer base. The remaining third is the mysterious "other": surgeons, professors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, architects, celebrities and more. Every man needs a suit not just for work but also special events. We craft many bespoke suits for weddings, sports and ceremonies.
A diverse customer base makes the day very interesting. I'll learn about air bubbles within the retina from an eye surgeon in the morning, the froth bubbling on the biotech industry from a hedge fund manager at lunch, an interesting court case about love, sex and divorce from a Judge at tea, and new quantum theories from a physicist before heading back to York.
It is always a joy to discover network connections between customers. I'll often discover one is the client of the other, used to work at the same place, are friends of, or occasionally fierce competitors. Once, two customers, both barristers, turned out to be against each other in the same court case.
At the end of the day the suits are taken back to York along with notes and photographs taken during the suit fittings. The next day I'll chat our cutters through the changes and prepare for the next trip to London.
The days are full, booked weeks in advance, and often I'll be too caught up to remember to grab some lunch. But one of the most rewarding thing about suit tailoring in London are some of the incredible views I'm able to experience, along with the many Gentlemen I meet.