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The Fashion Geek Podcast

64 | Can Austin Roberson and Louis Geramita Lead Gen Z Into Classic Menswear?

Reg talks with Austin and Louis about their career paths into Made to Measure and tailoring. Are they ride or die? Are they a stitch in time?



Guest Links

Timestamps

00:00 Introduction and Welcome
01:09 Meet the Guests: Austin and Lewis
02:12 Austin's Journey in Menswear
03:20 The Menswear Mindset Podcast
04:51 Generation Z and Millennial Perspectives
06:20 Austin's Role at The Man Shop
15:09 Lewis's Venture: Primo Tailoring
19:31 Challenges and Future Plans
25:27 Store Renovation and Design
26:59 Vision for a New Store
28:06 Creating a Unique Shopping Experience
30:31 The Importance of Tailoring
33:14 Personal Stories and Reflections
44:23 Fashion and Style Philosophy

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Transcript

Louis Geramita [00:00:00]: It's pretty much changed the entire course of my career. So like I said, I started in, I started in the construction industry, and I don't know how much digging you've done, Reggie. But you go through my Facebook profile pictures, and you are gonna find some WAP doozies when I went through my Western phase. And I could care less about clothing. I wore whatever. I didn't care. I just but then once I finally learned the history of I think it was the Chukka boot, is when it all switched. And I was like, dang. Louis Geramita [00:00:32]: This is really cool, and there's so much impact that clothing has on us. And from that point on, it kinda was like, okay. I'm out of I'm out of construction. I'm going right into fashion. This is where I wanna be. This is what I love. So for me, I mean, on a day to day basis, yes, you could argue that it helps me in certain ways. But just from a career point of view, it's kind of shifted the entire trajectory of where where I am today. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:54]: I'm Reg Ferguson, and I'm a fashion consultant from New York City, born and raised. I've been helping men look fly for years. And now, I wanna help you learn more about menswear, the entrepreneurs, the brands, and top fashion tips on The Fashion Geek Podcast. When I was 23 years old, it seemed so long. I was burnishing and laying down a foundation for my style, which began at birth, thanks to my mom and my grandparents. I had my first bespoke suit done at 23. Big shout out to the late mister Leroy Maduell. Much loving, mister Leroy. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:40]: You will miss me. I was working on purchasing suits, 2 week rotation makers, and accessories like shoes and antique waft. Did I think I was gonna become a fashion consultant? No way. So what does it take at age 23 to say, I want to tailor an open minded store, or I wanna be a made to measure specialist and one day take over the store I'm currently working on. What can generation z offer in the world of tailored sweatpants to the culture of classic men's world? Yo. This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. How are you? Welcome to The Rod. Thank you so much for listening. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:26]: I'm a men's fashion consultant here in New York City, and I help fashion challenged men go from confused to confident. If you ever found yourself staring at the closet not knowing what to wear, or if the idea of shopping for clothes makes you feel physically ill, then this is a show for you. My goal with every episode is to help make looking good feel easy. If you ever want my help, email me at reg atnyfashiongeek.com for a consultation. If you have a friend who's looking to level up his fashion style wardrobe game, please share an episode with them. While you're at it, if you dig the show and haven't already left us a review or a rating, please consider doing so now. Your shares, ratings, and reviews help us grow the show and help us get the possible guest, and help more men dress their best. Today, we are going to talk with Austin Roberson, who is in Arlington, Texas, and Louis Jerrameda, who's in Erie, Pennsylvania. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:37]: And we're gonna talk about something that the everyday man should have in their wardrobe. We're gonna talk about made to measure clothing, but we're gonna talk about it Gen z style. I wanna make an apology immediately. I said Robertson. I should've said Robertson. Austin Roberson [00:03:54]: See, it's okay. I was gonna say something about that jokingly, but you caught yourself. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:59]: Yeah. I did. All good. So Austin and Lewis in the building. How are you, gentlemen? Austin Roberson [00:04:06]: Very well. Excited to be here. Louis Geramita [00:04:09]: Likewise. Doing good. Just coming off of a cold, but, I've been worse. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:16]: Well, it's good to know you're keeping safe out there. So before we go into our topic, gentlemen, please tell us, so what did the 2 of you do? Louis Geramita [00:04:43]: Go for it, Austin. Austin Roberson [00:04:46]: So, I am a business partner at the, demand shop in Arlington, Texas. I actually oversee our our custom program as well. I've been there for, just over 5 years, and I have not worked a day yet. So it's been absolutely amazing. You know, I love what I do, learning the ins and outs of of menswear and interacting with clients. And, they have a problem, as in they don't have the right clothes for the event they're going to, and I'm there to solve it. So that's specifically what I do. Louis Geramita [00:05:19]: And, personally, myself, I am an alterations tailor and made to measure, salesman, I guess you could say. And then in the short, I like to make memories with people through their clothing, whether that's fitting them or getting them something perfect to wear for a big occasion, a transition in their life, whatever whatever have you. But, yeah, I'm in the clothing game, and mostly, it's it's in the tailoring realm is where I where I lean most heavily. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:46]: I think what's really gonna be interesting about this conversation, not to put any pressure on the 2 of you gentlemen, is you represent that side of the business, but also we're peers because you both cohost together a podcast. Wanna talk about that as well? Austin Roberson [00:06:07]: Yeah. Louis, why don't you start that off? Because I did the last time. It's only fair. Right? Louis Geramita [00:06:13]: Yes. Thank you, Austin. Austin Roberson [00:06:15]: Gotta put you on blast Reginald Ferguson [00:06:16]: a little bit. Louis Geramita [00:06:16]: So me and Austin, we we cohost the menswear mindset, which is a podcast we started, what was it? 3 years, Austin? 3, 4 years ago? Austin Roberson [00:06:27]: I think it was probably about 3 or 4 years ago. It was, like Louis Geramita [00:06:30]: 2018. Almost. Austin Roberson [00:06:32]: Yeah. It was 2018. Louis Geramita [00:06:34]: Yeah. So quite a few years ago, pretty much just as a creative outlet for the 2 of us, just to kinda talk about what we're learning in menswear. At the time, we were both kind of like the heirs of menswear stores. I have since left and started my own. But, yeah, just a place for us to just kinda chat and thought that, hey. If we could build kind of a community around it, great. That has kind of morphed since then. As of the pandemic, we figured, hey. Louis Geramita [00:07:00]: Let's take some time, really beef this up, and try and get our name out there as some serious podcasters. So that's where we're at. That's a little bit of the backstory of the Menswear Mindset podcast. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:14]: So really, like I said, we have an opportunity to interchange topics, to really be honest. But the main reason I was excited about having you gentlemen on is because, like it or lump it, you are part of generation z. Austin Roberson [00:07:35]: Well, I'm I'm I'm actually a millennial. I'm a 94, baby. The year of legends. Wow. Okay. That's how it's gonna be. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:47]: So one millennial and one Gen Z er. I'm sorry that he made the separation, Louis. I thought you guys were a team. Austin Roberson [00:07:55]: We are a team. We collaborate well. Louis Geramita [00:07:57]: We were too. Austin Roberson [00:08:00]: It was an Indian it was the end of an era. It was a good run, my friend. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:04]: The bottom line is you guys represent truthfully the the youngest in the classic menswear space, you know, versus, let's say, people in their seventies, for example. And I like to tease I'm somewhere there in the middle. I'm older than the 2 of you. I'm younger than senior citizens. So, what led both of you, do you think, not that it's so oddly special or unique, but it is to the 2 of you? What led you to go, hey. This is the path I'm interested in. Austin Roberson [00:08:43]: Well well, part of the reason and I'm kinda jumping ahead a little bit. But part of the reason we had wanted to start this podcast was because we are coming from the perspective of being the future of men's wear in our specific region. So, you know, Lewis being in Erie, Pennsylvania and me in Arlington, Texas and kind of, you know, central DFW area, you know, where, you know, I live in Fort Worth, and so we're right between Fort Worth. So we get some Fort Worth clientele and then also some Dallas and Mid City. So it's an interesting mix. And the shop that I'm at, my business partner is in his, early mid sixties. And so, you know, he'll be retiring in a couple years. And so I'm his business partner, but also apprentice at the same time because, you know, I'm 2026, and so I'm I'm learning from under him. Austin Roberson [00:09:31]: And I know Lewis was in a similar situation, so we thought, you know, there's other YouTubers out there who are talking about, oh, you need a suit supply suit and then, you know, get some monk straps. And it just seemed like everyone was talking about the same thing. So we thought, you know, how can we make ourselves different? So our podcast is coming from the perspective of actually an ownership of men's specialty retail and and working in the industry. It's not just, you know, guesstimated information. It actually comes from, you know, the school of hard knocks. Reginald Ferguson [00:10:07]: So you're working in a shop that has been around since 1972? Austin Roberson [00:10:13]: Yeah. 1970, 1972, around that time. Reginald Ferguson [00:10:16]: Right. And the current owner who is your mentor is Wally Harden. Austin Roberson [00:10:23]: Yes, sir. Reginald Ferguson [00:10:25]: And he acquired this company to me in a similar vein that you are. The previous owner that he worked for was Eddie Williams. Mhmm. So, literally, this company, this brand has gone through one succession, and now it's prime for another. Mhmm. With the research I've done and feel free to try to be as humble as you possibly can, Austin. Because I have a funny feeling when it comes to you being on camera or behind the microphone, you, you kinda open up your chest there. Austin Roberson [00:11:05]: I try to be confident but, truthful at the same time. It's a it's a it's a bal it's a balancing act. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:11]: It's not easy being you. I feel from the research I've done, and I just want you to see if you plan to corroborate this, that you have brought the man shop into the digital age for the 21st century. Would that be an accurate assessment? Austin Roberson [00:11:29]: I'd say so. I mean, we were already there, but the presence was so small. It needed it needed some sprucing up. So we were on social media before, but it was, you know, phone quality and which wasn't the best, and it just it it didn't seem like it was as well thought out as it could be. And so when you come into our shop, it's an experience. And so, you know, we sell, you know, good quality items, you know, brands that people might be familiar with is Jack Victor Samuelson, Peter Millar, Johnny O, Trask Shoes, you know, different brands like that. And, you know, it's an experience because Wally has been there since he was 17 years old. Mark is yeah. Austin Roberson [00:12:11]: Mark is the other gentleman who works there, and he's been there since 80, 1989. And so there's a lot of experience at the shop. And so you're not getting a salesman, you're getting a professional who has studied the product. We are looking at clients, hearing what is best for them, and then curating ensembles and pieces that benefit them best. And so I've I've been in the industry since I was 17 as well. So, you know, about to celebrate almost 10 years in this industry and, you know, coming from retail, coming from custom clothing, artisan jewelry. So, you know, taking the mixture of that and then blending it into this, we all have 3 different perspectives that are woven together in a tight a tightly woven rope to benefit the client. I mean, that's our first and and foremost focus is making sure that they're smiling. Austin Roberson [00:13:01]: I mean, we're all gonna have a perspective saying, hey. I think you should be in this. But if the customer doesn't wear it, we haven't added value to them. So we add value through clothes. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:13]: So do you feel that bringing the company like you said, there was already a social media presence. Austin Roberson [00:13:20]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:21]: And I observed that in my research. But it seems, particularly through your advice or guidance that you're constantly having post that are specific to the clientele. But but but more notably, your IGTV series along with your YouTube. Would you care to elaborate about that? How did that come about? Austin Roberson [00:13:50]: So, that was we had realized that, there are some people who enjoy going into depth on some subjects and some people, you know, want just 30 seconds. So we there were some things that needed to go in-depth. We recently did a video a couple months ago about, Tenet, the movie Tenet. And, we actually did a movie review talking about their style. And so Reginald Ferguson [00:14:16]: Oh, I missed that. Austin Roberson [00:14:18]: So, yeah, I think that was probably April, so it was a couple months ago, and we, we we thought, you know, let let's go into depth a little bit more. There are some reels that we do that are, you know, 30, maybe 45 seconds, and some things that are a few minutes that we go into depth. We actually did a 4 part series, the end of 2019 going into a made to measure jacket that I had, made for myself, talking about the fabric selection, the fitting process, the prepping, the alterations, different things like that, where people can get that experience on the digital end. And then once they come in, they already kinda have an idea of how it of of how they will experience that for themselves. So one thing that we're implementing as well is, you can schedule a FaceTime. And so some people, you know, do you know, due to the pandemic, aren't comfortable going out and about. And with some people, we already have their measurements, and we we take pictures of what they've purchased before. So, you know, we've got little, wardrobes built up for them. Austin Roberson [00:15:17]: So whenever they come in, or if they, you know, contact us, we can jump on FaceTime, and I can show them the live inventory that we have. And they can shop from home, literally from home. I'm not just seeing the pictures. I'm walking them around the store as if they were walking beside me. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:35]: Nice. So is the armory upset with you, Austin? Austin Roberson [00:15:44]: I I wouldn't say so because we actually did. We we purely copied the what I'm wearing and y series from them. And the first one we ever did, we actually tagged them in it. And I said, you know, we saw this video. We got the inspiration. It was great. We wanted to make it our own. So, Mark Cho, you know, owner and founder of the armory, started doing when, you know, he was still in Hong Kong, he wasn't able to leave. Austin Roberson [00:16:06]: He started doing what I'm wearing and why. And I loved that idea because it wasn't just, hey. Here's a shirt. Here's a jacket. Here's some nice shoes. Come and buy them. He was explaining why he was wearing this. There were sometimes he, you know, was dressed to the nines, and sometimes he was dressed more casually. Austin Roberson [00:16:23]: And he said, you know, I'm meeting with a client later. They're a little bit more formal, so I wanted to dress to that. Or, I'm gonna be visiting clients. I'm gonna be on the move, so that's why it shows this option. And I really love that idea. So, you know, we gave them props. We didn't just do a copy paste. We gave them our props saying, hey. Austin Roberson [00:16:40]: We love what you're doing. We wanna do that for ourselves, and it kinda morphed into doing that in our own way. So it turned into what I'm wearing Wednesday, and I would say, you know, I'm wearing these colors and patterns because I was inspired by a Texas sunset or, you know, I there's a one of my favorite cigar lounge in downtown Fort Worth is called Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge, and they celebrated, I think, 5 5 years. No. Maybe about 6 years of being around. And so I dressed up and, you know, went out there. So the outfit that I was wearing, I'm like, yeah. I'm going to Silverleaf after this and, you know, wanted to wanted to celebrate. Austin Roberson [00:17:22]: So just giving people a specific reason and, helping them, you know, understand why we select what we do. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:32]: So, Louis, you're doing something totally different in the space. First of all, you're the owner of Primo Tailoring, and, certainly, I'd like you to elaborate about what led you to leave a store and go out on your own. But when I was doing research on you, I noticed that your presentation through YouTube really is about being instructional so people can learn the basics of tailoring. Louis Geramita [00:18:06]: Yeah. Absolutely. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:07]: Care to comment on that, Louis? Louis Geramita [00:18:09]: For sure. So I'll I'll touch on the the YouTube portion first. So, yeah, the YouTube is actually a little bit different than most of the other content I create, whether it be on TikTok or Instagram or Facebook. And mainly, that's just because I tried so many different things, that didn't seem to work that when the educational tutorial stuff really started taking off, I kinda just figured I'm gonna stick with it. And people have been reaching out to me and telling me to make more and giving me suggestions. So, really, the YouTube has really just been a a process of finding my lane and sticking in it. And then talking about Primo, yeah, I I am starting Primo Tailoring, which is going to be its own fashion brand, not just a custom suit shop. We're going to get all of our stuff done in our name, whether that's jeans, suits, shirts, pocket squares, ties. Louis Geramita [00:19:08]: We want to be able to completely, completely own our brand. And part of the inspiration for that was is seeing the way that normal brick and mortar is going and seeing it not going in a great direction. I saw an opportunity to try and pivot a little bit, try something new, and it pretty much came down to the place I was working wasn't willing to implement some of the ideas I had. So I had to make a decision whether it was stick it out here, wait until I have the opportunity to take over and make decisions, and risk being too late to try out my idea or branch out on my own kind of in the dark and put the pieces together as we go. And naturally, I chose the latter, and that's where we're at today. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:58]: And you worked for a clothier that's been around since 1850. Correct? Isaac Baker? Louis Geramita [00:20:07]: Yeah. They've been I think I think this year is a 100 and 71 years they've been around. Same family owns them and everything. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:15]: Wow. But you just hit on a word, and that's what led you to bounce. Same. Louis Geramita [00:20:21]: Yeah. Pretty much. I was, I wasn't really comfortable with just riding on the name of the store, which is kind of what they were trying to sell me on as the by value. I was like, well, names can be created overnight with the Internet. So, I'm not gonna stick around and hope that this is my my golden goose. I'm gonna go out and try and actually make something that that I believe in. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:47]: So when did you launch Primo? So Louis Geramita [00:20:52]: actually, a funny story. Back before I started doing tailoring, Primo was the name of my home improvement business I had started. And that was kind of my trajectory at the age of 17 was I was gonna do construction, home improvement, handyman work, and it was called Primo Primo handyman handyman service. Or it was either that or Primo remodeling. I don't remember. But I just love the name since back then. So when I got the opportunity to start a clothing line, I was like, what better than the Italian word for excellence? So I kinda just re resurrected that old brand name and put it into clothing, and I've just loved it ever since. Reginald Ferguson [00:21:36]: Holy cow. So the name flowed and transitioned. And when you started Primo tailoring, were you doing that out of your home? Because I know now you're you're about to launch a brick and mortar. But what were you doing? Where were you conducting business prior to this planned launch of a brick and mortar? Louis Geramita [00:22:03]: Yeah. So before became a legitimate thing, I was operating under the name of, just Jeremy to alterations because I didn't have to file for a fictitious name. I didn't have to do all the crazy paperwork, and I was able to do it just from my kitchen table. So, for probably about 3 to 4 years, I was doing my own side alterations just because we were swamped at the shop, and he was like, hey. If you wanna make some extra money, take some stuff home, advertise, see what happens. So I was doing that for about 3 years. And come 2019, I had applied for a grant, a small business grant that, I was just taking a stab at seeing if I'd I'd have a chance at it, and I didn't hear from them for about a year. And it wasn't until the beginning of 2020 that they reached out and officially told me, hey. Louis Geramita [00:22:51]: You had you received this lump of money, which was the perfect amount to formalize an LLC, that was able to get my fictitious name filed and all the stuff I needed. So from that point, Primo was born as a brand. I liked the name. It was something I was always kicking around within those 3 years that I was just Jeremy to alterations at my kitchen table. But with that little bit of financial backing, I was really able to propel that to the next level. And then really from there, it's all just been escalating rather rapidly to this point. So from the beginning of 2020, I was working outside of my my home still, doing it at the kitchen table. Come December 2020, I moved into my first location, which is the 3rd floor back hallway of an arts and culture, building called PACA here in Erie, Pennsylvania. Louis Geramita [00:23:44]: And I've been here for about 9 months, and I'm already moving to a brick and mortar store that is probably 3 times the size of the shop I'm in now. So it's been quite the quick progression of of changes. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:01]: And when do you actually open up the new store, so to speak? The new location. Louis Geramita [00:24:10]: So the the tentative date, I can't give anything in stone just because there's a few other people who are gonna be opening in the buildings next to me, so I can't give away too much for them. Sure. But it's gonna be it's gonna be sometime in November this year. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:25]: Okay. So sometime Q4? Louis Geramita [00:24:27]: Yes. As long as all the building plans go to code and build, like, building the shop and Austin Roberson [00:24:31]: all that, Louis Geramita [00:24:32]: like, tenants are being your control. Exactly. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:37]: You're there going to, city hall going, hey. What's going on? Louis Geramita [00:24:40]: Yeah. Exactly. Can we get these permits passed, please? I got I gotta keep my word to RedShall. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:48]: So how does that feel that you're about to open up your own store, Lewis? You've been working on this in your kitchen for years, and then you're in a a building, which to me kind of served a stopgap measure in direct reflection to what you're about to do. How does it feel? Louis Geramita [00:25:10]: Honestly, I don't think I've had too much too much time to sit and actually think about that. It, it doesn't feel real. I'm almost, like, kind of expecting within the next 2 months just to be like, oh, yeah. Never mind. That's not actually gonna happen. Just because of how quick it has all been happening, it's just been trying to solve one problem right after another. So, like, I don't even think I truly, truly know how it feels. I mean, it's exciting for sure. Louis Geramita [00:25:35]: I mean, this is kind of what I've been dreaming of doing for the past, like, 6 years, but I don't think it's fully hit me yet that that this could be happening in the next, like, 2 months. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:49]: So, Austin, you're in a store that, again, has been around heck before I was ever thought of, much less the 2 of you. So you've made it clear because of COVID, some people are not interested in physically being in the store, but you have it covered. You're doing video. You're doing FaceTime. And like you said, if these individuals already have a profile in your system, it's it's it's very it's very simple for you. Yeah. And Austin Roberson [00:26:22]: Yeah. Sorry. Go Reginald Ferguson [00:26:23]: ahead. I Austin Roberson [00:26:24]: was just agreeing with you. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:26]: No problem. When you look at the physical space, you've done a wholesale change for the perception of the store through video, through social media. I can only gather the footprint of the store. It seems rather large. My point is, have you given thought to how the store, how the layout should continue to be, or do you have ideas for changes that are a 180 degrees in style in light of what you've done taking taking this company through video to the 21st century? Every month when something important is going on, I send out my New York Fashion Geek newsletter to my fellow geeks. It drops on Fridays, and it offers a quick glimpse into the world of The Fashion Geek. I offer some tips, and it's a nice breezy read. To sign up, just head over to nyfashiongeek.com and fill out the welcome sheet. Austin Roberson [00:27:36]: Yeah. That's something that I've considered. And, you know, through through those considerations, I'm just trying to find the balance of you know, I I I wouldn't want any anyone to feel as if we're just completely changing and we're not the man shop of old where it's true we're not the man shop of old because, you know, that was at a different time. And we're we're progressing to be more up to date during the times, but still the base level is quality service first, quality garments, and quality knowledge. So those are, like, some 3 main pillars. So, with with the layout, you know, I try to keep things, fresh. Unfortunately, we had a freeze in early, February, and, we had a pipe burst. But where that was actually good is that, it caused us to to recarpon the, the store, and we redid the the back fitting room to kinda spruce it up a little bit. Austin Roberson [00:28:33]: We did a kind of a psychedelic, round rug in the fitting room with, like, gray laminate on the ground where it was carpeted before. So it's it's still got its because it since it was built in the seventies, it still got these big round circle windows. And, you Louis Geramita [00:28:53]: know yeah. Austin Roberson [00:28:54]: A lot of people come in just because they wanna see the inside. And so it's kinda funny when people do that. So we still try to keep, you know, little taste of of that, but, you know, making sure it doesn't seem like a old, dusty, stodgy, you know, men's store that, you know, unfortunately, a lot of people are are used to. You know, it's got, you know, young and old and just a a good balance of that. So, you know, thinking of, you know, potentially stepping into, stepping into ownership there, you know, what are the chains that would be of benefit, and what are the chains that would, potentially harm the trust in, you know, in our friends, in our family, in in our clientele. So that's something that I'd considered, but there's nothing, you know, concrete at this point that, you know, I'd wanna change. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:42]: So, Louis, you have the ability with a brand new space to really create a vision for your client, for your customer. What are your plans for the store aesthetically for a plan? Louis Geramita [00:30:06]: Well, I am glad you asked that because it's something I've put a lot of thought into. And kinda to, like, what Austin was saying, I think it is interesting with his situation is because he has such such a long list of clientele that have been shopping there for years. Yeah. Whenever whenever he wants to start to make changes, he has to be very, very conscious of those other people to make sure that, like, he's keeping that authentic man shop, which for me, it's something until right now I didn't even realize. Like, oh, I get, like, a fresh slate. Like, I can do whatever the heck I want because nobody knows who I am. So I have been taking a lot of opportunities to, really try and create the store, in a an experience base. I don't want it to be a normal brick and mortar where you come in and there's, like, 300 suits on the wall, a 150 shirts for you to choose from, 40 shoes. Louis Geramita [00:31:01]: Like, I want this to almost feel like you're stepping into, like, a curated closet of sorts. And because we're doing everything custom, we wanna do low inventory, but high product ranges. So more wide than we would probably go deep. But yeah. So if you're talking about layout, when you first walk in, I really want you to be immersed in kind of like an old school vintage tailor shop. I want you to feel like you just walked off of State Street in Erie, and you are completely transported to this new world. And by doing that, I'm gonna just have certain different textures in in the furniture, whether it's leather or velvet or, just natural suit fibers just everywhere. If we wanna get really granular, I'm trying to look for scent machines to kind of, like, put off, like, a leather grassy scent, just because that's more of a nostalgia nostalgic scent for people. Louis Geramita [00:31:55]: But when you first walk in, I want it to be very unsales oriented and more, like, suit museum oriented. I want suits on the walls from different eras, telling people about the creation of suits. So you're really kinda taken off guard that it's not, like, sales right in my face. And then as you branch in a little bit further, that's where we're gonna curate our, custom area, our off the rack sales. It's gonna be, again, very user friendly, experience based where you can try things on, have fitting racks. And then the next layer after that, because my shop is, like, a very long rectangle, is gonna be the tailor shop. So when you first walk in, you'll have a view of it. It'll have the old table, the old machines. Louis Geramita [00:32:35]: It's gonna be where me and all my tailors are gonna be doing our work so that you can really see it firsthand what is going into your garment in terms of alterations, which I think kind of will be a cool experience for people just to wanna stop in and check it out, chat for a little bit. We're not so focused on sales per square foot, more per, the experience per square foot and really capitalizing on getting someone to come in, be so amazed, or so thought provoked that they make someone to take a picture and post about it. And that way, it kind of creates a free sense of advertisement for the brand and the store. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:13]: I like that you're gonna have an exposed area for the tail ring. I'm certainly not trying to be indulgent though. This is my pod, but in my neighborhood, I have a shoe guy. I've been going to the shoe guy for many years and the original layout, you could see them working on the shoes. And then a few years ago, he decided to put up a wall, and I pleaded with him. I said, Mikhail, please don't do this. I said, it really means a lot for people to see the work being done. And, unfortunately, he didn't listen. Austin Roberson [00:33:50]: Oh, well, that's that is very unfortunate. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:53]: Yeah. I'm not saying that business, you know, was impacted because he didn't listen to me, but I think also because I've been going to shoe guys since I was a child, first with my late mom, much less on my own, seeing workmanship, I think, is always special in these type of instances at least. So kudos to you to have an open floor layout so people can literally they can see the sausage making. Austin Roberson [00:34:23]: And I think it can kinda build the trust in your clientele where they can see, you know, exactly what the tailor's doing. And it it's kind of a cool process because a lot of people are unfamiliar with what that looks like. So when Lewis had kinda given me that idea and he had told me what he was, you know, what he was planning on doing, I thought, man, that's that's really neat. There's just something about seeing that process happen. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:46]: Yeah. Louis Geramita [00:34:47]: Yeah. And I think it keeps it keeps the the the trait alive because people don't everything I hear from people, oh, no one's doing that. No one's tailoring anymore. So why not give them a view of what it looks like to have someone tailor something? And then kinda to go back to the YouTube play, Primo is also trying to get into the education sector to where we are teaching people how to tailor eventually. So having everything exposed and kind of walking through it and edging educating people on what tailoring is, is gonna be a huge part of our eventual, mission, when we go to branch out further. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:24]: Well, Louis, I love all these videos in which you preface by saying, this is so easy. You can do it. And I look and I go, no. I can't. I can't. I can't, Louis. I'm not doing it. Louis Geramita [00:35:40]: Now why not? Why why do you say that? Reginald Ferguson [00:35:42]: I'm afraid. Louis Geramita [00:35:43]: So you don't need me? Reginald Ferguson [00:35:45]: Mess up. Louis Geramita [00:35:46]: You've got me to guide you. You'll be fine. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:49]: No. I have you know where I live. I have the tailor. I have other options. You'll okay. I'm gonna tell you a story and you're gonna laugh. So I have a old J. Crew tie from back in the day. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:06]: This tie arguably could be older than one of you. And the back of the tie, it the thread started to unravel. It came apart, and then you could see literally the inner workings of the tie for a few inches, not the entire from top to bottom. So I had forgotten about it to be honest, because due to COVID I'm not suited and booted as Austin. And I affectionately use that phrase in clubhouse, which we're all part of. I decided, it's time to take it to the tailor. And I know that it's simple job, but Louis, you wouldn't want me to staple the fabric of the tie, would you? Louis Geramita [00:36:55]: Well, but here's the thing. If you're thinking about it from a business perspective, I'm doing my job then because what I'm trying to do with my videos is to cater to the 1% of people who wanna do it themselves and learn it and then sell to the 99% of people that look at it and are like, no. That's not for me. I'm just gonna send it to Lewis to do it. That's the real game there. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:22]: I hear you. I gave it to my person, and I thought it was very expensive charge. But you know what? I don't know how to do it, and I have unwillingness to learn. So that's the price I paid. Austin Roberson [00:37:38]: So to actually comment on that, so when I first started getting into the industry, I I actually wanted to be a designer and make my own stuff, and I had this it was, I think, like, one of the first ties that I had ever gotten and beautiful, you know, red, red tie with the navy and light blue stripe. And the, the the keeper loop on the back, came off, and so I'm like, oh, I'm gonna stitch this out myself. And it was the worst job you have ever seen. I mean, just so nasty. And I could have taken it to, you know, our tailor and have her redo it. But I I, like, I actually leave it because every time I look at that, it reminds me of, you know, like like, I remember exactly where I was sitting. I remember the exact desk. You know? And I'm like, I'm gonna figure this out. Austin Roberson [00:38:31]: And it wasn't the best job, but I got it done. And it just it made me smile because I'm going, you know, I like, at first, I wanted to be a designer or a tailor. And then now, you know, I'm, you know, like, more on the business side and also, like, fitting people. And I'm still designing and, like, curating looks for people, but I'm not actually making the clothes. So it just makes me grin every time I see that. Even though it's horrible, it just makes me smile. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:54]: I'm glad it makes you smile because if that were me, I just probably would have thrown it in the garbage. I just hey. I have other gifts, and and putting, putting a needle to something with a thread is not one of them. Austin, you talked about being a designer. I never knew that. But what I do know is that recently, you fitted your father Mhmm. For a made to measure suit. Mhmm. Reginald Ferguson [00:39:26]: What was that like? Austin Roberson [00:39:28]: So I'd actually fit my brother before, so it was a cool experience to be able to to help them both out. My dad had told me when I was younger, when I first, you know, gotten my first job selling custom clothes, he goes, I'm gonna buy a suit from you one day. I'm like, I would absolutely love that. And so I'm glad he didn't back then because my my fitting skills back then were not as good as they are now. And so, we were going to a, a family friend's wedding. I mean, they're just so close to me. Like, I call, them aunt and uncle, and then their daughters, I call them my sisters. Like, we're just we're close family. Austin Roberson [00:40:04]: So, he, you know, needed a he needed a suit, and so, you know, I got him all fit up. And if you go on my Instagram and you see that reel you know, the jacket needed no alterations. It was just the pants that needed some adjustment. And it was cool to be able to fit my father who, you know, had been self conscious about, you know, his body type and his physique for so long when he put that thing on. I mean, he felt great. I mean, it was comfortable. And on the inside, I call him papa bear. And on the inside, it says this this has been, custom tailored for papa bear. Austin Roberson [00:40:39]: And he didn't know that we were gonna do that. And so when he opened it up, he's like, oh my gosh. It's my nickname. And so that was really cool. And when my brother got married, he had been, you know, pretty big the majority of his life, and then he got on a not gonna say health kick, but he took it he took his health very seriously, and then he dropped, like, £60. And I was able to to fit him, in a suit, and this thing came out amazing. I mean, he looked he looked great. And I actually started crying. Austin Roberson [00:41:12]: And the reason I started crying is because, 1, it meant a lot that I got to fit my brother, and, 2, you know, I was just so proud of him. 1, finding the woman that he was gonna marry. They have a beautiful little baby boy right now. I am the, like, most proud uncle you will ever meet. I'll always talk about my little dude, Daniel. Just love that guy. Anyway, the plug of my nephew is gone. And now getting back into the fitting. Austin Roberson [00:41:33]: And then so, you know, he was starting a big moment in his life, and I was just so excited to to be a part of that. So it was it meant a lot. So as I'm crying, trying to hold back tears, he's laughing at me. He's laughing so hard. He himself is crying, and we're in the fitting room doing this. And so I'm getting pissed off, which is making me cry more. And so I'm like, shut up. This is stupid. Austin Roberson [00:41:56]: Well, he starts laughing even more. So it was it was a beautiful, beautiful moment. And so I actually mentioned that story, on my wedding toast. He's you know, he chose me to be his best man. And so I was talking about how sweet that moment was. But I mentioned I'm like, so this is a custom suit, and everyone knew I was in the industry, and they started laughing. And I'm going, no. No. Austin Roberson [00:42:15]: No. This wasn't like, this wasn't a shameless plug or anything like that. And then I pause and I go, but if it worked, you should come and talk to me afterwards because I'll get you fit up. You know? And everyone just starts starts laughing. Louis Geramita [00:42:27]: I always be plugging. Austin Roberson [00:42:29]: Always be selling. So I I link my I come to find out later, my aunt leans over to, my my dad you know, my dad's sister leans over to him and goes, he has no shame, does he? And my dad goes, I guess not because he's trying to sell suits at his brother's wedding. And so that's something we still laugh about to this day. But, you know, it's it's more than clothes because, you know, early on, my dad didn't understand, my passion. He's just like, you're wanting to get into clothes? That doesn't that doesn't make sense. And I'm like, dad, this is just what I love, what I want, you know, what I wanna do. So he thought I was just dressing up to play a part, but I was trying to show him, you know, dad, this is a part of who I am, and this is how I express myself confidently. I'm being a 100% me. Austin Roberson [00:43:13]: And so as he began to understand that, it was just such a beautiful touching moment for him to support me through that as well. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:22]: That's nice. I have questions for both of you. It's gonna be kind of like a lightning round. And wonderful segue, Austin, because I've looked through your gram, and I'm comparing myself to you at that age. Austin, how many suits do you have? Austin Roberson [00:43:46]: That's a great question. Suits, I would probably say, probably Mhmm. 15 with about 7 or 8 sport coats slash blazers Oh. With more on the way. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:10]: Yeah. I know. I know how it works. Trust me. Austin Roberson [00:44:13]: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:15]: Louis? Louis Geramita [00:44:18]: Well, if we're talking about suits I wear on a daily basis, we're talking like 5 or 6. If we're talking about the tubs and racks of clothing I've thrifted because I'm a serial thrifter, you're looking, like, probably, like, in the in the twenties. But they don't all fit me, and I don't wear them all very regularly. So, like, 5. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:40]: Okay. And what about sport jackets? Louis Geramita [00:44:45]: Oh, sport jackets? I only I actually got rid of a bunch of them. I only have, like, 3 now. Yeah. I just got one. I just got one that was a mistake order, so that makes 3 now. So, like, 4 suits, 3 sports jackets. Reginald Ferguson [00:45:01]: Alright, Louis. Sounds like, you have to catch up to, your big brother in fashion, Austin. Louis Geramita [00:45:06]: Honestly. I actually just bought some stuff from him. Austin Roberson [00:45:11]: Yeah. I forgot about that. Buying my own clothes. Louis Geramita [00:45:16]: Yep. Really trying to fill his shoes. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:45:19]: I I I've I've cited both of you yet. You guys are nowhere near each other dimension wise. Louis Geramita [00:45:27]: Yeah. Not even close. Reginald Ferguson [00:45:28]: Yeah. Yeah. Not even close. Austin Roberson [00:45:30]: Well, one thing to mention on that too, I I one thing I wanted to add to that is I've actually cut down on my suits and stuff recently because, you know, I don't wanna be one of these guys who is wearing other people's brands at my shop. Now there are a couple, like, vintage pieces I have every now and then that I'll wear, but, you know, for the most part, I'm going if I'm selling this lifestyle, like, you know, outside of the shop, you know, if I'm going to my favorite cigar lounge, you know, a a local bar that I like going to, or, you know, a nice restaurant in downtown Fort Worth or something like that, you know, if someone sees me and they know or, you know, they find out that I'm in the industry, you know, I don't want them to be like, oh, is this from you? Oh, no. Well but I can make it for you. I've worked with clothiers in the past who did, actually not the best business, and they would, like, buy a suit supply garment or something off price, have their clients wear it, and someone's like, oh, that looks great. You know, is this you? Like, no. But I can make it for you. So they were cheating the system. So that's something that stuck with me, and, you know, I'm more suited and booted. Austin Roberson [00:46:32]: I mean, living in Texas is kind of weird. I almost feel like I'm sinning, but I only own one pair of jeans, and I prefer being in more tailored clothing. And if I'm gonna do that on a regular basis, it needs to be my brand. It needs to be a representation of, I believe in this. I'm all in on Reginald Ferguson [00:46:47]: this. Right. You know what I think you're becoming? Austin Roberson [00:46:51]: A clothes horse? Reginald Ferguson [00:46:52]: Ostentatious. I Austin Roberson [00:46:55]: see what you did there. Reginald's got jokes for days. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:01]: I do. Yet I barely have shared any this evening. Why, gentlemen, is fashion important? Austin Roberson [00:47:13]: Well, I'm gonna I'm gonna jump in there first. I I actually don't enjoy using the word fashion. I I use the word style because in my and this is just me, and this is my stance. Too oftentimes, the word fashion is is connected to fast fashion and, you know, making things very cheaply and unethically, making things in sweatshops. So that's why I talk about style. So, yes, we're in the fashion industry, but style is a little more personal. So style is an external expression of your internal personality. And, you know, clothes are tools of communication, so why not have them speak well of you when you walk in the room before words even leave your mouth? Reginald Ferguson [00:47:54]: Louis? Louis Geramita [00:47:55]: I would probably say I I don't care using the word fashion, so I'm just gonna throw out that Reginald Ferguson [00:48:03]: out there. I think Austin's a little Louis Geramita [00:48:03]: off his rocker. Just kidding. Austin Roberson [00:48:04]: I mean, I am, but we're not getting it right now. Louis Geramita [00:48:07]: Yeah. Well, maybe that's the bonus content. What I will say though is, I think it's important, 1, because you look at back at, like, every major moment in your life minus your birth and you're wearing clothing. So if we're doing something that we're doing on a daily basis, you might as well find a way to do it well and enjoy it. Not to mention, like Austin just said, the amount of the amount of impact it has on someone's life, whether it's subconsciously or consciously. I just think it's an interesting field that people really on the on the normal day to day basis haven't really haven't really dive into too much. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:47]: What difference has fashion made in your lives? Louis Geramita [00:48:50]: So personally, for me, I would say it's it's pretty much changed the entire course of my career. So like I said, I started in I started in the construction industry, and I don't know how much digging you've done, Reggie. But you go through my Facebook profile pictures, and you are gonna find some wop doozies when I went through my western phase. And I could care less about clothing. I wore whatever. I didn't care. I just but then once I finally learned the history of I think it was the Chukka boot, is when it all switched. And I was like, dang. Louis Geramita [00:49:28]: This is really cool, and there's so much impact that clothing has on us. And from that point on, it kinda was like, okay. I'm out of I'm out of construction. I'm going right into fashion. This is where I wanna be. This is what I love. So for me, I mean, on a day to day basis, yes, you could argue that it helps me in certain ways, but just from a career point of view, it's kind of shifted the entire trajectory of where where I am today. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:52]: What's the top fashion tip that either one of you would give the everyday man so he could look his Austin Roberson [00:50:00]: best? Try it out. And to partially answer that last question going into this is, you know, I started dressing when I was in college, and I didn't have a lot of money. So, you know, I experimented with a lot of things through thrift stores and and mainly eBay. And, you know, if there were some pieces that my friends had, you know, I would either trade them for something or buy, you know, what whatever that was. And so it was a lot of trial and error, finding what I liked and what I different didn't like. You know, when I first started dressing up, I was buying these bold chinos and really skinny fits and, you know, crazy stuff like that. And then I started experimenting with more of a full cut trouser and fell in love with the, you know, Paris, like, husbands of Paris, like, falling in love with that style and just trying different stuff out until it just settled. And I went, oh, I love this. Austin Roberson [00:50:49]: Oh, I love this. So it's not one specific look. It's a lot of looks blended together. Louis Geramita [00:50:56]: I would say find a tailor and become great friends with him. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:01]: Boom. So for both of you, individually, what does the phrase always be fly mean to you? Austin Roberson [00:51:17]: You never know who you're gonna see or what's going to happen, so why not be always prepared? Be prepared for any situation. Louis Geramita [00:51:27]: Yeah. I would say that, to me, it kind of goes into a mindset of, get dressed and forget what you're wearing. Like, make it become second nature to where you're just always looking good whether it's at a niece's first birthday party or a big, job proposal pitch. Always be fly. Just just let it be let it become natural for you. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:55]: That sounds like a menswear mindset. Austin Roberson [00:51:57]: Oh, absolutely. Hey. Another plug, baby. Ladies and gentlemen, we pay Reginald Wealth to say that. Absolutely. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:08]: So how do you feel about the future of classic menswear? Is it in good hands? I think so. This is how this works. For those of us entering the second half of things, we once were the young guns trying to figure things out as we knew classic menswear was our thing. We may not be the old minds, but we're not 21 anymore. I applaud Austin and Lewis in their endeavors, and you should too. You can find both of them on the men's wear mindset podcast, which one day hopefully I'll be on. You can also find also my Instagram at Gentleman's Avenue and The Man's Shop, and Lewis at Aspiring Gent in Primo Tail Ring, also on Instagram. And Austin, I have more suits than you. Reginald Ferguson [00:53:04]: Well, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you had fun and are down for another one. Please tell a friend who could use some fashion help about the podcast or share an episode with them directly. If you enjoy the show, please give us a rating and review on Apple Podcast. Lastly, if you constantly struggle putting an outfit together and are looking to turn that confusion into confidence, I would love to talk about how we can improve your work. Work. Check me out at nyfashiongig.com, and email me at reg@nyfashiongig.com for a consultation. Reginald Ferguson [00:53:40]: Special shout goes to our producer, Serge, and everyone down with the Fashion Geek podcast. If you have a story suggestion, you can email me at podcast@nyfashiongeek.com, or hit me up on the insta@newyorkfashiongeek. And remember, always be fly.
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