Stuart Smith of Riverdale has worked in many different capacities in the past, but he found his passion in men’s fashion through suit design. Several years ago, his career path took him to working at a custom suit company where, over four years, he designed more than 5,000 suits for men. When he realized he peaked at his company, he decided to venture off and do it on his own.
Today, his company, Stuart Smith, is catering to the sophisticated and professional man. His custom suit company has been particularly popular among the religious Jewish community in the tri-state area, and word of mouth is building out his brand. While the suit brand is only eight months old, Smith is finding this experience rewarding and fulfilling, and his clients agree. His entrepreneurial drive is evident with the satisfaction he gets—and it shows in the evident growth of his client roster. “I’ve had many jobs, but this is the one job I have found the most love for,” he said. “I’m really good at it and I enjoy what I do.”
Custom suits are a well-kept secret within the fashion industry. Smith is aware that many people do consider staying with the tried and true comfort of buying a suit off the rack in stores. But Smith has a knack for understanding the client need in making them feel better about themselves through the article of clothing. “Custom clothing isn’t just about the look of the suit,” he explained. “It’s in the feeling. It’s made specifically for that person and makes them feel special and comfortable. Off-the-rack clothing doesn’t give that same modern style and fit for someone’s body. A custom suit helps build that for them.”
His business is built as a concierge service, with him visiting clients wherever is convenient for them. He doesn’t have a showroom but does offer the same personable service he would with a showroom. He’ll meet a client at their office or their home, after hours or during the day. “I measured someone in a library once—even a hotel bathroom.” The fitting takes a little over an hour. They involve numerous details—“usually about 30 or so—everything from the type of lapel to how they want the pockets to look to the buttons and the lining. There’s a tremendous amount of detail that goes into designing a suit,” Smith said.
He really wants to get to know his clients. He’ll come armed with a bottle of scotch to build up the relationship so that he can get a better understanding of who they are and what they need. The objective is to take pride in the service he offers while also saving people time and energy for having to go out of their way to meet with him. The experience, he acknowledges, can also feel overwhelming, but Smith is an “experienced stylist all the way through” who helps ensure that people get the best possible attention without feeling drowned by all the details.
After all measurements are in, it can take up to four weeks, but usually two to three weeks, for the final product to arrive. More custom fabrics will take slightly longer. This is a faster turnaround time than other brands in the industry, a fact that Smith is proud of.
Repeat customer Ben Smilchensky explained how Smith has given him the best experience. Smilchensky is the type of buyer who does it all online, except when it comes to suits. Word of mouth brought him to Smith’s business to buy his first-ever custom suit and he was hooked. “Stuart showed up at my home dressed in a beautiful suit at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night with a vast array of fine fabrics, linings and buttons. He was respectful, professional, did not pressure sell and, most importantly, knew his trade. Within a short time he took my measurements, helped me pick out a fabric and described in detail all of the extra (and included) items that came along with my first custom suit. He delivers a great product, he is honest and trustworthy, easy-going and incredibly responsive and flexible. I would use him again—in fact, I have, as I have purchased five more suits from him since our first encounter.”
“When I create a garment, it helps them stand taller and exude confidence. It makes them feel more successful when they walk into a meeting or walk down the street wearing this well-fitted custom suit,” Smith said. This is why he continues to be successful, and his personal touch has grown his name throughout the community.
For more information, visit www.stuartsmithny.com or call 646-418-8618.
By Tamar Weinberg