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In Conversation with Simon Whitaker of Master Debonair

Master Debonair is about being effortlessly stylish. The brand offers a collection of clothing and accessories for the modern British gentleman. They're an award-winning family independent menswear retailer with classic values, great service, quality apparel and exceptional customers. Master Debonair originated in the North East of England and is for gentlemen who're looking for styles with a little twist, and something a little different from the High Street mass-produced apparel. Their aim is to provide a personal touch by speaking and listening to their valued customers.

In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Simon Whitaker, Founder of Master Debonair about his background working in sales & marketing, and the founding story of his menswear brand which stocks branded sartorial clothing and accessories. Simon had always dreamed of opening his own bricks & mortar space and took his business plan to the bank when the time was right. Our host Peter Brooker and Simon also talked about the power of social media, being dubbed as the Peaky Blinders brand, why their DIY approach to photography has been well-received, and whether tailoring will boom after lockdown.

“I lost my dad in November 2015. Quite suddenly, he was only 64 and he was a very dapper chap. He worked as an independent financial adviser and he would always have a three piece suit on. When I was planning to go to the funeral I didn't want to just go in a black suit and black tie. I wanted to look for accessories that were a little different such as a pocket square, tie clips, lapel pin, that kind of thing. I couldn't find anything. Eventually, I went into one of the big brands but I was a bit disappointed. I've always wanted and talked for many years about setting up my own business. I worked in a number of companies over the years in sales and marketing, but I always wanted to do something for myself. And that's how I started Master Debonair. It was because there wasn't anything out there in the marketplace that I thought was a little bit different. I first sourced accessories and it then snowballed from there. I ended up building a website, and I've never built a website before. I went to the bank with my business plan and I don't think they had ever seen such a comprehensive business plan put forward for forecast sales of £10,000 a year. Because of my experience of putting together a sales budget of 20 million, it was easy to put together that kind of sales budget. When the website went live late in February 2016, we instantly saw sales.”

This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 114 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Simon Whitaker, Founder of masterdebonair.com. You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.

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