FAQ - Ask Mike the Suit Guy
Q: What is the typical turnaround time for a custom tailored suit?
A: Typically, the turnaround for a custom tailored suit is 3-5 weeks. Once your order reaches the top of the queue, we can finish the actual stitching in a maximum of 6-8 hours in our Bangkok factory. Once the clothes are finished, they follow a quality check procedure and final touch, including steam ironing. All measurements are checked for accuracy and all zippers and buttons are inspected. Even though it takes about 8 hours to finish, we try to give the clothes 25 hours on a hanger or mannequin and two supervisors check the materials to ensure there is no flaw in the fabric. Even in A grade materials there can be a minor flaw, so we check thoroughly. We make sure that the name is spelled correctly inside the jacket and the monogram on the shirts are also correct. Once the suit has passed inspection it gets invoiced for customs clearing and it takes approximately 4 working days to reach the USA.
Q: What is the quality of the fabric used for your custom tailored suits?
A: Being in this business for a long time it’s very important to understand the material, not just the stitching unit. I would qualify myself 95% knowledgeable in materials and I always end up buying top quality materials. I do not like to work with less than Super 130. If you go less than Super 130 I’m sure you have experienced in the past that when you buy a suit or pant, the material gets ripped when you put your hands in your pocket. I see so many clients who are wearing suits of inferior quality and the suit rips at the seams. I suggest to not go less than super 130 and not higher than super 180. When the thread count is on a higher side, the material is more durable.
There is so much improvement in technology which reflects in materials. They go according to the trend. The trend now is to wear more lightweight materials. Super 180 is too heavy and 100 is too thin, so minimum 130,140,150,160. Super 180 is more like a winterish suit and is more stiff. Regarding the quality of the fabric, it is important to note where the materials are weaved. We are talking about the factories who are strictly weaving materials for big brands, top prestigious factories have very high class and up to date machinery for weaving material. When I say “high class” machinery, I mean that when they weave the material, the machines are so smooth and well calibrated that the thread does not break. Don’t forget, threads are weaved to make fabric so once they are weaving thread, the machine has to be an up to date, new machine with no loose screws. They are appropriate machines run by knowledgeable people. The temperature in the plant is also important. Once the material is weaved it is going to come out of the plant and it is going to change a little bit. Sometimes it shrinks a little. All A grade plants weave A grade materials. That means that when an A grade plant weaves 60 yards of fabric, there is not even one break in the thread and there is no flaw in the material. We use strictly A grade fabrics for our clients’ suits.
B grade fabric is always weaved in small scale factories with very low technology and less resources. Those materials are very cheap. Whatever price you pay for B grade materials, you are still paying too much. Whatever you pay for A grade materials, you are not paying enough because it is a very big challenge to weave A grade fabric. We are making suits for a lot of prestigious brands so all materials we get are A grade fabrics and do not have tremendous shrinkage. It’s not that you send your trousers twice for drycleaning and your trousers get 2 inches shorter or you lose color on the knees or elbows. There is no flaw in the material. I recommend to get a suit with strictly A grade fabric, which is the material we use.
Q: How much variety of fabric do you offer for your custom tailored suits?
A: Small buyers, people who are in the textile business small scale, can afford to have a lot of variety by buying materials at higher prices and smaller quantity. Accoridng to my experience, small tailors like to buy 15 yards of one color, which is a very small qty. With 15 yards of fabric you can make 3-4 suits for American sized clients (6' with chest 44-46 and waist 38). This quantity is very small and it is easier to have a larger variety. Once you grow, like us, you have more clients and sales are big so we have to have at least 200 yards of material for each fabric, all A grade fabrics. Being in the business now for 20 years I know that the variety of materials is one of the largest industries compared to any other. Factories are weaving A grade materials and every factory is weaving something different. In my 20 years experience, I buy big lots... a lot of material. We can change materials every week if we want, but we don’t change that fast because our business is promoted by word of mouth and when one client sees a nice business pinstripe suit on one friend I cant say, “Boss, we are finished with that fabric.” So we stock 200 yards of fabric. We always add new fabric, new variety within 3 months because we are working with brands and we get branded materials every 3 months. We have at least 300-500 materials for suits and shirts at a time.
Q: Can you tell me about the quality of workmanship in your custom tailored suits?
A: It’s like you have the best car, but if you put water in the car it’s not going to run. So you have to have the best fuel to get the optimum results of what you're doing. In our industry the workmanship is very important. We take much care to have accurate measurements and details. We use the best quality machines. We use a nilon mix silk thread. There are a lot of threads in the market that can be used for stitching. One example is cotton thread. You must have experienced buying a dark colored shirt. You send for washing and after a few washes the shirt has white thread. The thread used for stitching is poor quality and the color faded because it is cotton. The thread we use is a Japanese thread from the Venus company. They make the best thread in the world. If I give you just a genuine thread and ask if you can break it, even though it is very thin, you can probably break it, but not without cutting your hand in the process. Once you stitch anything with that thread it is not going to break easily or fade. I’m very sure we are using the latest and best technology threads, which are very important to provide the highest quality. In my 20 year experience I have never had a complaint from my client who lost a button. The button breaks before it falls. It is very important to have a good quality thread and for all the pockets to be in their proper place such as ticket pockets. Many clients request a ticket pocket, which has a specific place and needs to be accurate.
Every suit has fusing between the liner and the material. Small scale units use fusing, which is more like a glue. Many times my clients ask me whether we use a glue liner inside the suit, so I would like to share some knowledge with you. It is always glued. You see the suits that get damaged very easily are also glued. The difference is how the fabric is glued to the material. Small scale factories just iron it and the fusing sticks to the suit material but it does not stick for a long time. After a couple of washes, the fabric detaches. We have a special machine which is very expensive. It weighs tons and is a hydraulic machine. We put the jacket fabric and glue on the machine. It is set at very high temperatures according to the thread count of the materials and it is a very heavy duty machine. We just press one button and the machine puts a lot of pressure on the fabric, which fuses the materials so well that it will not separate from the suit material. Since we use high quality fusing machines I see clients after 7 or 8 years wearing the same suit and it looks absolutely new.
The quality of the buttons is very important also. Everyone has their own cleaners. I was so shocked to see posters at many dry cleaners saying that “we are not responsible for breaking your zipper or buttons.” They want your money, but they do not want to care for your suits or shirts for which you paid a lot of money. They are just worried about their $1.50. So I did a lot of research with different clients about their major issues in the past and with different tailors. They say, “Mike, sometimes after a few washes the button breaks.” So we use a high quality thick button imported from France. They are used for high quality and very prestigious branded shirts.
We do functional sleeves as well. Functional sleeves, actually also called surgical sleeves, invented by doctors because there were a lot of doctors who did not want to take off their suit jacket while doing surgery or checking their patients and requested functional sleeves, which are very trendy now. Typically functional sleeves are evidence of a tailored suit.
They are special details. We also offer hand stitching. While I was taking classes for tailoring I learned that if you put a hand stitch around the jacket it is described as a beautiful girl and the hand stitch is a beautiful lipstick.
We can offer these options at a very economic price.
Q: Can you tell me about your quality of service?
A: Quality of service can be a tricky question in my business because we try to give the best service. We cannot please everyone all the time, but we are always ready to take any call and any email from our clients. If they have any question or issue we try to address any question in less than 24 hours. Lets say you order clothes from me and you receive everything. If you have any small issue, I say small because any issue is small since we make a suit from thread so it's a very small thing for us. We have strategic tailor teams in Dayton, NJ and Salem, NH and we try to fix it or make any needed alterations as soon as possible free of charge.
Q: What should I expect during a visit from Mike the Suit Guy?
A: Now we are talking about what you should expect from me when I come to you. It's both ways. I expect from you and you expect from me. You should expect from me our latest swatches for suits, shirts and latest ties to go with your suits/outfits and latest styles. I remember about 15-16 years ago I use to sell double breasted suits that were in at that time. I can actually walk you towards the latest trends and fashions. A lot of clients like to order single breasted, two buttons with two vents in the back. That is the very latest. Of course three buttons with the two vents in the back is always in fashion.
From time to time I travel with my personal assistant, Patty Herrera. She knows quite a bit about fashion by working with our company. She also has a passion to learn about fashion, how to put things together, what goes with what complexion, color of eyes, your hair color. She is also very good with helping you pick out the colors from our overwhelming selection.
When we have an appt with you, please give us about 30-45 min window to arrive due to traffic, parking and other unexpected delays. Many times, if I have an appointment before yours I might be expecting 4 people and 10 or 15 show up. I will not turn them away so naturally I may be delayed in reaching you. If you have time constraints, please mention it so we can make time according to your convenience. Over all I can tell you, if you give us an appt, you will not be disappointed.
Our preferred method of payment is by check, but we take all credit cards including VISA, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. We even accept Paypal.
Q: Who is your typical client?
A: Our clients are top notch people. Typically they are people who are wearing suits everyday. Our clients range from a hair dresser to the mayor. We serve every client and our prices are the same for everyone. Our prices are very competitive because we are the direct factory source. Even a person with a low income can afford our suits and people with a high income love to buy suits from us because they feel they are receiving a very good deal and they save a lot of money which can be utilized for different expenses such as education for the kids, or the mortgage, or they can buy a better car.
Of course saving money is always a plus because you can use your money for many other resources so we would recommend you to buy from us so you can save money and look good at the same time. Everyone can afford our suits. We sell a lot of suits to bankers, attorneys, people who work for the government, people who work in the private sector, people who own a small business, even people who don't wear suits everyday, but they still want to wear our suits to church. I remember one day I went to GNC to buy vitamins for my family and a sales guy asked what I did for a living. I bought $80 from his store and he bought $1500 worth of suits from us right away.