June 3rd, 2011
I am finally “almost” settled in at our new home- 28 West 44th St , which is across the street from the Harvard Club and New York Yacht Club. I invite all to visit. I now have time to resume my blog when I have somthing worthy to say.
I try to learn by observing what those around me are doing. I have been amused by the endless promotions that one hears on the radio and sees on television promoting the daily “For one day only” sales by Jos A Bank. In a moment of enlightenment the other day I realized how successful they must be- why else would a publicly owned profitable company keep paying big bucks to ad agencies and for radio, television and newspaper exposure?
I have decided to compete! In keeping with the quality of the clientel I am privileged to serve, I will out due JAB. The following offer is good for the next Three days ONLY ( JAB offers are usually only good for 1 day) : Purchase one bespoke suit tailored using Holland & Sherry’s Escorial fabric for $625,000 and I will give you , absolulely for free, my town house condominium located on Preakness Mountain in Wayne ,NJ and a black Saab SUV , which is in perfect running condition and has less than 18,000 miles of use. The town house will be unfurnished . The Saab will have a full tank of gas.
March 19th, 2011
GO WEST, YOUNG MAN ( just a few 100 yards west of our present location )
Winston Tailors and Chipp2 are moving West. On or about April 1 we will move to 28 West 44th St- across the street from the Harvard and New York Yacht Clubs. There is also a 25 West 43rd St entrance to the building. We will be in the lobby - sharing space with Mid-City Tailoring. Our new mail address will be:
Winston Tailors/ Chipp2
C/O Mid-City Tailoring
28 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
Our phone and Fax numbers will remain the same. ( Phone 212 687-0850; Fax 212 687-5048). When the phone line switch is made there will be a “blackout”. This can last for 3 hours or a day or two. Verizon does not know how long it will take. ( We can send people to the moon but no one knows how long it will take to switch telephone lines!) For those who want to reach me during the “blackout” you can call my cell phone- 203 559-7653.
I look forward to welcoming you to our new home.
January 9th, 2011
I have been under the “Sword of Damocles” since August. My lease ended in August, and my landlord would not give me another lease. It was nothing personal. He wants to rent the entire floor to one tenant. I am the only tenant left on the 5th floor. My hope was that someone would rent the spaces to my left and right which would have allowed me to stay. This is not to be. They still remain rented. The landlord feels he has to gut the floor and configure it differently to get the entire floor rented. He agreed in August that he would give me a ninty day notice. He has so done . I must vacate on or before April 5. In anticipation of what is to come, I have stated clearing old files and evaluating things that are on the racks. We have an asortment of things that I am going to sell at give away prices. Some of it is new, most of it is not. There is clothing that customers brought in to have let out only to find there is no more outlet. Everything is in good condition. It will all be sold “as is”. We will do alterations on the same basis as if you had brought a garment into us to alter. There are suits, sports jackets, trousers, vests. Most of the items are things that were made for individuals. This means they are not “true” sizes. For the former football and basketball players there are a few 46’s,48’s,a 52,and some XL’s. At the other end of the scale I have a heavy black cashmere blazer in about size 36S. There are blazers with fancy linings, at least one dinner suit, and a 42L Black DB suit by joseph Aboud that sill has the joker tickets attached. There are few raincoats, a swim suit or two, and a sample Tussah Silk sports jacket. In the next few days I will try to take some measurements and arrive at size “guesstimates”. If you are in the neighborhood, you are welcome to stop up- 11 East 44th St # 501- 212 687-0850. If you know someone in midtown Manhattan who wants to share space with an operation like mine, have them give me a call.
November 20th, 2010
I have been here before. I just can’t help myself. When I joined my dad in 1961, Chipp and our brethren “carriage trade” retailers had two “sales” a year- the first day we were open after January 1st and the first day we were open after July 4th. Nothing was reduced before those dates. They were called “clearance sales” and the remaining merchandise from the season was marked down to help convert broken size ranges into cash and to make room on the racks for the new season’s inventory. This is not what happens today. Major retailers are running sales and promotions every day they are open- which for many is seven days a week. What has pushed me over the edge this time are the endless advertisements issued by JoS.A.Bank. They are on TV, in the newspaper, and on the radio. I drive to my morning bus at 5:00 AM and I drive home from the bus at about 6:15PM. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t hear a commercial in both directions. Each day it is something new- as if they are always trying to “go one better”. The adds usually offer the “deal” for “Today only” or for “The next two days”, etc. The other day it was “Buy 1 suit at full price and get 3 more suits absolutely free.” I went to their web site an hour ago and every suit and sports jacket is reduced 70%. I don’t like the sound of the spokman’s voice- especially how he says “absolutely”. I wonder how many people who are Bank customers have ever thought of the following: Joseph A Bank is a profitable publicly owned corperation. They are spending a lot of money on their constant stream of adverisements. They are paying rent on many prime locations. They are paying saleries to salespeople and support staff. They are selling everything at big markdowns. I wonder if anyone has ever bought anything at “full” price- not counting the 1 full price suit you have to buy to get 3 more for free. How do they do it? Do people really think that the 70% off product they bought was ever remotely worth the full list price? For those who do, I have some shares in the bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn that I will sell at a good price.
October 25th, 2010
On Saturday October 23 my wife had to make a return to the Nordstrom store located in the Garden State Mall. We got to the mall at about 11:00 AM. It took us 15 minutes to find a parking space. While my wife made her return, I wondered over to the watch department. (Chipp2 sells a lot of watches. We can put the image of any dog that exists onto a watch face. In addition to dogs, we can put cats, fish, birds, you name it onto the watch face. We make custom watches putting one’s own dog’s image onto the watch face at no extra charge. We use Citizen watches, which are a good inexpensive watch.) I wanted to see what a “watch department” was selling. I was not surprised to see the prices of the watches- they had all the major makers on display. I noticed a basket with a sign - “Watch Bands Reduced 50% “. The watch bands on the Chipp2 watches are leather. We offer them in basic colrs- black, brown, red, green, blue. The watch bands in the basket were mostly leather, some snake skin. None were metal. The ticketed prices were $100 +. Because I remember what the prices of products were in 1960, I am uncomfortable with many of the prices of the products we sell sell today. When a customer wants a cashmere jacket I almost choke stating the price. I found the watch band prices unbelievable. My wife says it is another example of my having one foot stcuk in the past.
September 13th, 2010
Long before Madonna and GaGa , Liberace was a star known by one name. He was a classicly trained pianist who rocketed to fame as a flamboyant entertaniner who appeared in movies and toured with his oversized grand piano to the major venues of the world. His sense of humor and his outrageous sequined, bejeweled wardrobe were his trademarks. At one time he was listed in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the top earning musician and pianist on the planet. Very few of his many fans knew he was actually a fine classical musician. They only thought of him as “Mr. Showmanship.” He created a foundation to help musians and opened the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas in 1979. Liberace died in 1987 at the age of 67. Yesterday the foundation announced it was closing the museum- a victim of the huge attendance fall off as a result of the recession, which has hit Las Vegas with great intensity. The announcement sparked the rememberance of Liberace’s visit to Chipp in the late 1960s- it could have been 1968,1969. We had created a limited edition of a very edgie summer jacket. It was made of 4 1/2″ patches of 6 different white and blue cotton prints which were sewn togeather- stripes, polka dots, and geometrics. The jacket was featured in one of our front windows. My father and I were out of the store at a meeting when Liberace came in. When we returned one of our salesman rushed up to us tell us we had missed the excitement- Liberace had walked in and bought one of the jackets, paid for it with cash, and carried it away with him. My father got very upset. He said that if we were carrying something that appealed to Liberace we were doing something wrong.
August 17th, 2010
I subscribe to the Saturday/Sunday New York Times. I like the Magazine section and the Business section. (My wife finds the wedding announcements in the style section funnier than most sit coms.) This past weekends paper included a Nordstrom magazine. It was produced on heavy stock and very artistically produced. Each page featured an item or two. No prices listed on these pages. At the back there were pages that had little miniature reprints of the full page shots and below these pictures one found the descriptions and the prices. The entire magazine contained women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Here are a few of the listings: A tote bag with letters of the alphabet, which looks like the tote that my 6 year old granddaughter carrys to school with her lunch and books, is a bargin at $1,795. A blouse made of silk/cotton/viscose/and polyester is a steal at $2,420. Hand bags and clutches- $2,295, $1,920, $2,795, $1,695, $1,995. Boots, shoes, platform pumps- $2,395, $1,395, $1,495, $1,500, $1,675, $1,314. There was a platform pump listed at $643- probably a price misprint. Nordstrom is doing it’s part to fight deflation. I would love the names and addresses of the women who are buying these products. I want to write to their husbands/boyfriends and tell them what we are doing at Winston Tailors. I am sure there are people who think our opening made-to-measure suit price-$1650- is way out of line. It will not be anyone ordering from the Nordstrom magazine.
August 12th, 2010
If you had a gathering of the chairmen of the economic departments of the 10 top universities in the country, you would probably find that there were 10 different opinions on what will cure the economy’s problems. Keynesians and the advocates of Laissez-Faire are at each others throats over the national debt and whether inflation or deflation would be worse. They all agree that keeping money moving is what the economy needs. The spector of saving- put your money under your matress and get ready for a depression or put your money in a bank if there is deflation and it will be worth more later- has them all quaking in their boots. I want everyone who reads this to come into Winstion Tailors and order a suit, jacket, trousers……. I pledge that I will immediately spend the money to keep the money in circulation.
August 4th, 2010
In 1961 a gentleman walked into Chipp with a coat length of Vicuna cloth he had purchased in South America. He wanted us to make a custom overcoat. My father would not accept the order. After the customer left I asked my dad why he turned down the order. He said the profit we would make was not nearly enough to off set the down side risk. What if the cloth was scorched in the pressing , or damaged in the cutting ? The cost to replace the cloth was not worth the risk. When a customer brings in cloth to have a suit, jacket ….. made, the tailor’s mark-up is based on his/her labor. The cost of his/her labor is a constant whether the cloth is cotton or cashmere. ( Side bar: This is why I tell my customers that they should not have me make them poplin suits/trousers etc. or seersucker items. The price I have to charge becomes inappropriate for the product. The overwhelming amount of those products in stores have been made “off shore”. When you add the cost of quality labor to poplin or seersucker the price gets out of wack. You can’t turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse. The seersucker will still be seersucker in spite of the superior tailoring. Why do I have poplin cloth and seersucker cloth in our showroom? I have customers who say “thank you, but I can’t get what I want from anyone’s stock- colors, details.”I have customers who have very challenging sizes. I have even had a customer say he wanted to give me the business to be sure I stayed in business. ) If a customer asks me to make a coat from a cloth that will cost me $2,800 per yard, I will not do it. I would not feel comfortable selling a coat for $20.000+.
July 28th, 2010
Until yesterday I had never heard of kirgyz. I deliberately did not give any enlightenment concerning kirgyz. I wanted to see if anyone would contact me to see if kirgyz was a figment of my imagination. Two individuals did inquire- so I thought I should clarify it for those others who wondered but did’t want to admit they didn’t know. The kirgyz is a half goat half ram with a wonderful soft cashmere like coat. It has more sheen than cashmere- some think sheen is good and some think sheen is bad. The hair is gathered by combing with an iron comb. Another fibre, which I did not mention yesterday, is “lurex”. Lurex is the regitered tradename for a metallic yarn- a synthetic fibre that is coated with aluminium. Both kirgyz and lurex strike me as creattions of Dr. Seuss. ( Ted Geisel was a customer.) I wonder what surprises the next price list I receive will have?