Andrew Ramroop OBE tells us the story of his Saville Row tailoring business and support from the UKTI has helped his plans to export the British name to foreign shores
Published by: By Business Matters, 27th January, 2015
What does your company do?
We are a small firm of hand-craft bespoke tailors.
What products services does it provide?
We make all outwear, for example, business suits, coats, shirts, morning coats and dress tails. These are commissioned and made to fit every customer.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
This company was established in 1938 with one salaried employee and in 1988, as a graduate from the London College of Fashion and an understudy to the proprietor, I purchased the business.
When did you start up, and what support were you given?
I effectively started my business in 1988. I received very valuable support from the Government to attend business seminars, loan guarantee and assistance with export from British Consulates abroad.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Tailoring suits for customers in 58 countries and starting the only dedicated school for bespoke tailoring whereby aspiring tailors can learn Savile Row Academy standards of excellence.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Our rent has been raised by 80 per cent. Managing overheads is a huge challenge for a small company such as ours to survive.
How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Our company has remained loyal to the traditions of high quality hand-made garments. We have our very own ‘Signature Style’ that is very popular.
What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
Working with UKTI to seek customers overseas: export markets now represent 60 per cent of our business and it is an area where we focus our efforts on growth. Because of this, we’ve become an ambassador for the Business is GREAT Britain campaign. I would strongly recommend any start-up or small business looking for support to visit www.greatbusiness.gov.uk. There’s a wealth of information available to help you grow your business.
Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
Hopefully we will still be on Savile Row. If we are, then the new Semi Bespoke business we have started (literally today) will be successful. We hope to grow this business to represent 10 per cent of our full bespoke service. Developing our products for the market is an important focus for us.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Focus on a business you would enjoy working on so much so that you cannot wait for the sun to rise daily and do it all over again. This will mean no challenge is too great if you enjoy the journey.
What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
The absolute pleasure of seeing customers from all over the world take pride in portraying their very own hand-made bespoke attire, the creativity in design and being paid to enjoy my job.