Just recently, Beau Satchelle were involved in a conference call with our business mentor who chose to discuss the topic of bespoke and how entrepreneurs in the luxury space should consider offering this level of service to ultra-high and high net worth clients.
The year after we introduced Beau Satchelle to the world as a bespoke luxury leather goods company, I penned a blog post on “the costs of bespoke” sharing my views in general as to some of the reasons for the high costs of goods or services relating to bespoke. Four years later after working with high-end clients, I wanted to revisit that old blog revising it with a bit more knowledge and experience on the topic of bespoke.
Until the invention of the sewing machine that introduced mass production, 200 years ago bespoke tailoring was how men’s suits were made (cutting and sewing by hand) and was the only method of clothesmaking in Europe. For many decades, the word bespoke was tied to custom tailoring within men’s fashions. As consumerism grew and marketing to the wealthy became more sophisticated, the term bespoke is used more broadly and basically means “specially made for a particular person”.
Prestigious luxury brands have focused on providing products and services to clientele which enhance an individual’s lifestyle of comfort and indulgences. What is fascinating is along with the discretionary growth of the millennial generation and younger, these groups are reluctant in ownership of traditional items such as cars, homes and other luxury goods and instead have influenced a “shared economy”, a subscription memberships culture and the mindset of renting luxury to access products whether staying in a decadent Airbnb, renting high end evening wear, or participating in an Uber or a Lyft luxury program. Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc. speaking at a luxury insiders conference in 2018 defined current luxury as both inclusive and exclusive, aspirational and attainable…what matters most is that the products are objects of desire. Yet, some industry experts argue that ownership is an essential element to luxury. As individuals hit accomplishment goals, purchasing a luxurious product such as a performance car or adding to an art collection says “I have arrived and want to reward me with the best!”.
For any luxury brand, whether a global gold standard of the industry or an emerging company, offer some segment of bespoke is required, understanding that affluential clients expect to be rewarded for their hard work and successful results. Bespoke exudes refinement, class, and exceptionalism. For some, it brings a particular affluent lifestyle and status and for others to participate in an interactive journey with a personalized result.
Bespoke has a place in every industry. For example:
· Fashion and accessories
· Private security of personal, home and cybersecurity
· Wealth Management Consultants
· Personal staff of doctors, personal trainers, nutritionist, nannies
· Spiritual and mental coaching for health and wellness
· Interior design and furniture
· Recreational toys
· Jewelry and watches
· Food and Liquors
A flourishing industry that specifically caters to custom lifestyle experiences began with credit card companies such as the American Express Black Card. Personal or Corporate Lifestyle concierges have developed into a bespoke model as these companies ARE the “red carpet”. Concierge or luxury lifestyle management companies with offices located globally including the U.S. embodies the statement “your wish is our command” as these companies hire and train highly skilled employees to assist with daily life tasks to special events. These concierges’ sole focus is creating a seamless lifestyle both at home and arranging VIP services around the world.
What will be interesting in the next months and years is how luxury companies pivot to a post-pandemic landscape. All signs point to companies redefining how to incorporate the culture of wellness and health into their products and services while elevating the game of bespoke in catering to their clientele. For Beau Satchelle, our process had already involved creating a pristine production environment and thoroughly disinfecting the finished product and accompanying materials before the packing and shipping process. We anticipate reinstating face to face meetings with clients, yet we have the tools and capabilities of working digitally and keeping the client in the production loop with continuous communication.
Beau Satchelle serves individuals who appreciate and seek original goods with proven authenticity. Our clients are attracted to the uniqueness and want to own items that no one else has. Guarantees of quality and craftsmanship are key and owning or experiencing something created specifically for their interests. They expect world-class service because they’ve earned living the good life and will pay top dollar for that lifestyle.
With regards to our wheelhouse, a discerning client pays companies who offering bespoke products for:
Their Labor – the Master’s talent, his or her craftsmanship and dedication to detail; it is an undertaking of the crafter’s love for creating excellence in his or her particular field. Even in the world of bespoke perfume, which takes personalization to a whole new level, developing a specific fragrance can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, a client pays for the time invested in his or her custom piece. A bespoke suit can take up to 8 weeks and several fittings before it is delivered. A leather bag or set of luggage can take months depending on the client’s requests and intricacies of the design.
Even the methods of creating the design can add to the labor costs. A bespoke watch created by a master watchmaker is a collaboration of months with the client in designing the mechanics with custom tools as well as the personalized straps to fulfill the most demanding tastes. Even exclusive designers of machine sewn handbags offer bespoke handmade products to certain clients. Keep in mind, an elite leather craftsman of a hand-sewn item can even surpass his machine sewn counterparts in precision and durability.
Premium Materials – if you’re commissioning a bespoke item, the materials selected will reflect exceptionalism. Whether the sourcing for materials is local or overseas, leather bespoke companies will seek materials from sustainable sources which will impact the increased value of the purchased piece. We will only purchase premium cow and exotic skins, quality linen, high-end thread, and distinctive hardware.
White-Glove Service – Bespoke artisans and designers stand behind their work. Many will require a nonrefundable design fee or a material costs fee, but the service you experience will be above and beyond. Guaranteed workmanship is a pledge that is taken seriously; the product’s worth comes in its heirloom characteristics and the ability to stand the test of time. A true Master of bespoke invests time into developing white-glove services for both first-time purchasers and repeat clients.
Beau Satchelle provides products to our clients in two ways. We have created a collections of products, still bespoke in nature, (handbags, briefcases and other fashion accessories) that are designed structurally the same but will not necessarily have the exact elements (i.e., the type of leather, the dye, the hardware and handles may differ).
However, our second service is exclusively bespoke and will be designed to the specifications of the customer. We have been commissioned to design and build briefcases, attaches, handbags, journals, wine carriers, chef rolls, leather costumes, leather jewelry, pet collars, phone cases, and reupholstered furniture. For us, the sky is the limit as we encounter more niche luxury product requests for clients who desire a one of- a- kind pieces that no one else owns. We love the challenge of bespoke and servicing the high expectations of our clients! -AJ
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Hat Tip to the following photographers
Nikidn – Yacht chilling at Rang Yai Island, Ko Kaeo, Thailand
Adam Jaime – cocktail
jshan@seefromthesky – underwater photo Maldives
Jacob Spence – white stingray corvette
Jared Rice – Bathtub
Noah Rosenfield – Arrowhead Point, Pebble Beach CA
Domenico Farone – Portofino, Liguria Italy
Photo Mix – Scenic View
Tom4328 – Bedroom
Olya Lolé – Facial