One of the catalysts for the creation of a new business is when a budding entrepreneur finds the ways an established business type can be improved, be made more convenient, and better serve customers’ needs.
For a model of such an innovative business that has quickly built a large and satisfied client base, look no further than Michael & Co. Custom Clothiers.
Founder Eli Meisels, who grew up as one of seven children in an observant family in Brooklyn, became familiar with custom clothiers and appreciated the promise of suits “tailor made” to the customers. But he also noticed that these businesses had aspects that were frustrating and needed to become more customer-friendly.
He founded Michael & Co., based in Lakewood two and half years ago with a mission to improve the entire customer experience.
One thing he did was eliminate the pricing structure that charges extra for all sorts of added features. So, for instance, if a client orders a suit and wants the buttons and buttonholes on the sleeve to actually work, and not just look nice, Michael & Co. does not charge an added fee just for that change.
To start the process of preparing a custom suit, Michael & Co visits each client, at their home or office, for a first fitting. These fittings are set at times that are most convenient for the clients. Michael & Co. staff work early mornings and late evenings to accommodate their clients’ schedules.
Another thing Meisels included in his company’s approach is a second fitting when the suit ordered is ready. Many other custom clothiers will simply ship the new suit to the client; Michael & Co. visits the client and observes as he tries it on. The second fitting allows Michael & Co. to make adjustments as needed, without the customer having to go through the hassle of shipping the garment back or making time to visit their local tailor.
They create every new garment “from scratch” and do not repurpose pre-made suits or on-the-shelf patterns. They work with a wide variety of fabrics and tailor all clothes to be a perfect fit.
Michael & Co. has grown to employ seven people, including one full-time tailor and six salespeople who are trained in taking customers’ measurements and delivering not just the suits but also the Michael & Co. customer experience. The company has built up a client base of 2,500 or more, and Meisels estimates that half of them return to place a second order within six months.
Clients of note include Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees; Jacob Trouba of the New York Rangers; UFC fighter Cody Garbrent; and business leaders in Lakewood and Teaneck.
Michael & Co. advertises that their suits are priced between $499 and $2,000. Customers will often order one or two suits, three or four shirts, and two or three slacks at a time, which produces multiple different outfits. The first session for taking measurements can take up to an hour, while the second fitting session takes about 10-15 minutes.
Meisels said that the “beauty” of custom-made clothing is that each garment is designed to optimally fit the wearer. Michael & Co. has created dress clothes that complement sports players, students and salespeople.
Asked for a particular success story, Meisels shared that the company has made suits for real estate agents who were just starting their careers, with some who questioned the need to “spend so much” on a suit. The agents became successful in their work and reported that how they looked played a big role in their achievements. As Meisels described it, “When you feel that you look your best, you have more confidence. And when you have more confidence, you can do your best work.”
For more information on Michael & Co. Custom Clothiers, and to schedule a session for taking measurements for your custom-made suit, text, call or WhatsApp 732-569-1106 or send email to [email protected].
By Harry Glazer