With leading department stores and online, retail giants, finding space in the marketplace for handmade goods and business, like tailoring, which is based on face-to-face interaction, may seem like a pipe dream. For one local artist, that pipe dream, ultimately, turned into a dream realized. Andrew Porter from Andrew Porter Fine Clothiers specializes in the art of handmade suits for the rich and famous and the working man. Talking with Indy’s premiere tailor begs the question: what’s the value of a handmade suit these days? Porter discusses his early influences and showcases the value of his craft. CNBC once reported that custom tailoring demand is high in the United States but the number of tailors is shrinking; while the average age of a tailor is increasing. Without dwelling on that idea, custom tailor Porter recalls the ups and downs in his own journey and rests on the importance of word of mouth in gaining new clients. For more with Andrew be sure to watch Tailor-Made in Indiana (Part II) and Tailor-Made in Indiana (Part III).
Interview(s) recorded on July 12, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part 1 of 3.
Read a partical transcript of the interview here:
Bennett: As an entrepreneur in a classic business, how did you combine the two?
Porter: I’m originally from Michigan and my father was a pastor. I get my appetite for dressing from him. I found myself begining to like patterns, fabrics, clothing and suits; paring shirts with suits. It grew into a passion. I began selling off-the-rack suits at entry level pricing and found a lot of competition from the big department stores. I realized it needed to get to a more niche market/client of custom-made clothing. That started by in 2002 and blossomed into a decent business.
Bennett: Is word of mouth how you’ve got your business to grow?
Porter: Yes. I went through the economic downtown of 2008, 2009, 2010. It was a pretty rough few years. Early on, I was going to every networking luncheon, business luncheon, mayor’s luncheon and passing out business cards. I had some good people in Indy that I connected with who saw my passion. Once I was able to do business with them, they turned me on to their friends. Fortunately now, I don’t have to do much marekting.
Bennett: You’ve fitted a lot of people, any fond memories that stand out right now?
Porter: That’s a really good question. Gary Brackett was one of my first, professional clients; really fun guy and really easy to work with. Early one, like with any company, you take some bumps on the head. I alwasy wanted to start off and work for myself. I had some issues early one and some embarassing moments, but I stuck with it. People see my passion and it’s worked out to be a great business.
Bennett: Coming up, Andrew helps me dispel some common, men’s style myths and later he will demonstrate how he measures for a new suit. Click the link below to watch parts two and three.