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How a simple tailor’s shop grew into a global brand

Established more than 60 years ago in Hong Kong, Sam’s Tailor is a bespoke tailor that caters to the rich and famous

Today, the shop is run by its second- and third-generation proprietors, Manu Melwani and his son, Roshan Melwani, who operate under the simple mantra ‘give the customer what they want’.

Naraindas Melwani opened the shop in 1957 and, over the decades, Sam’s Tailor has grown into a global brand known for its stylish suits and tailored clothing. Located on Kowloon’s Nathan Road, Sam’s has become a Hong Kong institution renowned for its ’24-hour suits’, which are measured, cut, assembled and fitted within a day.

Discerning clients travel to the shop from across the world to be fitted for a custom outfit. Celebrity clientele have included former US Presidents, film stars, royalty and musicians. Take a look at Sam’s website and you will see the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Sylvester Stallone, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Stephen Fry posing with Roshan or Manu. However, its reputation stretches far beyond the celebrity world, with tourists and VIPs alike making a beeline for the shop.

So, what is the secret to the shop’s long-standing reputation and success? As well as the quality of the fabric (much of which is imported from England) and the discreet service, part of the answer lies in that simple mantra, ‘give the customer what they want’.

As a video on the company’s website explains, when a new client visits the shop, the approach is to ask them lots of questions about what they are looking for, before offering expert advice on fabrics and styles.

A further element of the shop’s longevity is that Roshan is not willing to be complacent about its success. As the website states, he now wants to ‘take Sam’s forward into the next generation of great tailoring’. One such example is the recycled and reusable ‘Sam’s Green Shirt Bag’, which highlights the shop’s green credentials.

It also highlights how far the shop’s reach extends, with the website proudly displaying photos of the bag sent in from such far-flung locations as Munich, Stockholm and Barbados.

Now 41, Roshan has been working in his late grandfather’s shop for nearly 20 years. He holds a business degree from New York University and worked in London for a year before joining his father at Sam’s.

During his early career, Roshan created distinctive ‘out of the box’ pieces that helped to cement his name as a ‘go to’ tailor. While Roshan continues to stay abreast of trends to ensure the team can best advise clients on the latest fashions, in recent years, he admits the shop has come ‘full circle’ in terms of style. It now focuses on creating timeless, bespoke pieces that the client can wear regularly.

The lessons businesses of all sizes can take from Roshan Melwani and the enduring success of Sam’s are clear: don’t assume you know what the customer wants, and never stop evolving; no matter how established your brand and reputation.

Find out more about Sam’s at: http://www.samstailor.com/home-2

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