Menswear Style Podcast

Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI / Fashion Business Guidance

April 24, 2023 Menswear Style Episode 199
Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI / Fashion Business Guidance
Menswear Style Podcast
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Menswear Style Podcast
Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI / Fashion Business Guidance
Apr 24, 2023 Episode 199
Menswear Style

Tune in to the latest episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast as we sit down with Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI, a cutting-edge London-based scale-up. BTI is on a mission to revolutionize and democratize the fashion industry by empowering retail entrepreneurs worldwide to realize their business dreams. Led by the expertise of Robin Vindevogel, a former private tailor at Gieves and Hawkes, and guided by the esteemed Dominique Vindevogel as the chairman, BTI offers an all-encompassing solution for aspiring fashion brands and established businesses looking to take their ventures to new heights. By providing access to the extensive supply chain, purchasing power, and creative advisory services of one of Europe's leading fashion families, BTI empowers entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive.

Join us as Peter Brooker engages in an insightful conversation with Robin Vindevogel, exploring his background in private tailoring and the birth of the idea behind a fashion tech platform. Discover how BTI's guidance process operates and the valuable collaborations they've forged with celebrities like Rio Ferdinand. Uncover the wonders of their white label showroom and the benefits of streamlining a brand launch, which ultimately translates to cost savings. Gain exclusive insights from an industry disruptor that is reshaping the fashion landscape. Don't miss this engaging episode filled with insider knowledge and inspiration.

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Listen to 'Life Beyond Boxes Podcast' – the art of moving with ease and confidence!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tune in to the latest episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast as we sit down with Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI, a cutting-edge London-based scale-up. BTI is on a mission to revolutionize and democratize the fashion industry by empowering retail entrepreneurs worldwide to realize their business dreams. Led by the expertise of Robin Vindevogel, a former private tailor at Gieves and Hawkes, and guided by the esteemed Dominique Vindevogel as the chairman, BTI offers an all-encompassing solution for aspiring fashion brands and established businesses looking to take their ventures to new heights. By providing access to the extensive supply chain, purchasing power, and creative advisory services of one of Europe's leading fashion families, BTI empowers entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive.

Join us as Peter Brooker engages in an insightful conversation with Robin Vindevogel, exploring his background in private tailoring and the birth of the idea behind a fashion tech platform. Discover how BTI's guidance process operates and the valuable collaborations they've forged with celebrities like Rio Ferdinand. Uncover the wonders of their white label showroom and the benefits of streamlining a brand launch, which ultimately translates to cost savings. Gain exclusive insights from an industry disruptor that is reshaping the fashion landscape. Don't miss this engaging episode filled with insider knowledge and inspiration.

Moving + Packing Tips and Hacks, Real Estate & Life
Listen to 'Life Beyond Boxes Podcast' – the art of moving with ease and confidence!
PB:

Hello and welcome to another episode of the menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker and today on the show I am speaking to Robin Binda Vogel. He is the CEO and co founder at butcher tailors International and born as a sub label to the Belgian menswear brand butcher tailors, established in 1956. They offer a complete out of the box made to measure solution for ambitious made to measure specialists looking to join a fast paced global community of tailors. Joining the community provides you with access to fully established global made to measure showrooms, and it's equipped with a full collection of Tryon garments and fabric books from the finest Mills on the market. This was a really fascinating discussion, I was so pleased to get Robin on the phone, and you can find out more about butcher Taylor's international at the website we are bti.com. But here in his own words to talk about the brand is CEO and co founder, Robin Vinda. Vogel

Unknown:

basically which tailors was established in 1990 56. Back in Belgium, it's quite a pre eminent tailoring brands, my father had the possibilities to acquire it in the 90s. And then basically built it back up to former glory. He built it back to about 14 retail stores. But basically, about 10 years ago, you had the opportunity one one of his clients walked into the shop and at the seaside and wanted to see who was running the business now because he had bought a suit in the 60s or the 70s. And they started talking and it turned out the person that walked in was an Indian diamond trader, and needed suits made for the wedding of his son. And as you know, Indian weddings can sometimes be big affairs and long affairs. And before he knew it, I think I still remember the day. But before I knew it was seven days later, 10 days later, it was on a plane to Mumbai to dress the whole wedding. And that's basically how the Budget Status 2.0 started. And the way I see that at least, that's how he started doing more and more me to measure. And over those 10 years, we basically now sort of find himself in a position where he does meet to measure and the private tutoring all over the world for let's say the 1%. So a lot of heads of states, very good businessman. The concept is called flight the flying team. And I used to work for Gibson hawk. So basically I came to London 10 years ago, was forgiven hawks for about four or five years. And then I saw a TV show they did on the Belgium TV called top service. And one of the episodes features my father. And I sort of done the clicks in my head, like how me to measure works and the way he works and everything. So I quit my job, I give them hugs, and I started working for him. Did that for two, three years, private tutoring, a lot of travel, and then the pandemic hit. And as you can maybe know, like, yeah, younger people weren't super interested in buying suits anymore. So I took the decision or made the decision together with my parents to go in more of an operational role within the company, which I attended. And then I started working with this new supplier that then sort of started working. So I started working with this new supplier. And then I sort of realised or an idea started forming in my mind. And together with my co founder James Monroe, who used to be a private client of mine, I sort of split but spitballs ideas, and that's how PTI came to pass. So basically, what we are is we run a fashion tech platform for new businesses new mostly focused on tailoring at the moment that uses my family's supply chain or the buying power that we have to open that to new market entrants. So people that usually don't want to start as a Taylor private Taylor but don't have the possibility. So they do have the possibilities. But they need to do everything themselves as in, they need to source the product, they need to do their own marketing, they need to get a showroom. So on and so forth. We basically, with BTi, offer a full range. So we do production on one side, we do creative advisory on another side, and then business advisory. So basically, we're a one stop shop, to set up your brand, as I said, mostly on tailoring, but the idea is to expand into just any clothing. Could you perhaps

PB:

walk us through maybe a case study what happens with the process? What are the first steps from from meeting with the client to delivering on the product,

Unknown:

there's a couple of different ways because we started about a year and a half ago. And so at the moment, we're working with established businesses to have retail shops or, or premises and then that's the mostly production. But let's let's do the case study for someone who is, like I said, completely new in the market, and needs all of our assets or every every aspect of our business. So basically, they come into our showroom on to add strength, which we built. Where we have a full house collection, we store about 3000 fabrics at our factory. That then speaks to our order management software software platform that offers several categories, from suiting to shirts to casual wear, like bombers, or Safari jackets, outerwear, so on. They come to our showroom, we have meeting with them, to show them the quality of what we do, the fabrics that we offer, they show the showroom, basically showing the world of BTi, let's say. And then they usually go away with the price list and the steps to get on boarded, if that's what they would want. And then they usually come back to us and then with questions, we, we strongly believe that every single customer is a bit different. So it really is you work with myself, James, as I said, Who's mostly operational and then Adam clacker, who's our commercial director who used to work with us and hawks, who is also very technical. So depending dependent on where you need most support with, then you can we start talking and we try and find a bespoke solution for that company. So an example of that, for example is we have one guy who is a bespoke tailor, a very good bespoke tailor. But he didn't have access to a good way to measure supply line. So we basically helped him so he's less in need of the technical side, but he's been more in need of the business help. So he needs someone to help him with to do is merge plan or to figure out what his margin should be, how he should position themselves in the market, and marketing and so forth. So the baseline is always production. That's what we're very good at. Like I said, 30 years of experience through my father's business, we have access to state of the art production. And then we built a software platform that speaks to our production where you can start to finish completely followed the whole supply line basically and completely design your your garment.

PB:

So saw on the website that you have Rio Ferdinand is one of your clients.

Unknown:

It's actually really funny story. And he, one of my followers very good clients is businessman who lives in Paris, and it was with his family, the restaurant, and his son is a big fan of Rio Ferdinand and Rio Ferdinand was also having dinner with his family. And he basically sent Rio Ferdinand abala champagne to be like, Let's sit together have a conversation. And that customer basically said like, I want you to I want to introduce you to my tailors, which we then did. We went to his house. We made a full collection for him for mostly the Euros last years. So we did a special type of shirts with like a stand collar, which he then also wore on every single game that he presented. And then from there grew into a relationship that is today so we help built his own brand or his own line, which tailors with RF which were the shirts that he was wearing, that we made me to measure for him that we then made an unready to Were option and that he promoted. That was like a limited run that sold out in like a week. And then through him I also now dress himself but also everyone, although the pundits at BT sports so all the Champions League matches and Europe, Europa League matches, so like

PB:

Joe Cole microloan. Um Just go

Unknown:

on Hargreaves. Yeah. I mean, genius. That's so cool.

PB:

But is there a guidelines around what they can do? And what can they can promote because they're basically doing a job for BT they can't I imagine start then advertising their own clothing line,

Unknown:

no 100%. So the clothing line we did for him was before was basically we did the clothing line for him. And because it was such a success, and we've been by at that point, we had a good rapport and a good relationship. He then introduced me to a company called the makeup girls, they do the they do basically all the wardrobe for BT sports. So I work together with the company, the makeup girls in order to within the guidelines that are set by BP, like you rightly said, but the guys especially a guy like Rio, who is known for his fashion, has quite a bit of say in why he wants. So sometimes he sits in on the appointment, and he's like, I would want to wear a double breasted rather than a single breasted, I like black, I like this. And then so they give him quite a bit of say in what what he wants to wear, as long as it's within the line. I made him like a double breasted suit that he wore in the Champions League final and a great compliments from him was the best double breasted he's ever worn. Because I think a lot of tailors try to approach him. So is changed a lot of tailor ours changes theatre quite a bit of time, I think. And we're very lucky that we that we found a good way of working together and very, very excited. It was a good when we first launched BTi was obviously it's great to have someone with that. So who's that famous calibre to be behind the brand and sort of puts his name behind it a little bit? Yeah, it's great for us. And it really gave us a great boost.

PB:

If someone's coming to you, maybe they've got an idea that they're looking to set up their own ready to wear business. Do you do minimum runs? Is there something that you do for just kind of, you know, low startups,

Unknown:

so depends on the meat on the tailoring sides? No. So because we do everything on our metre measure platform. So everything is one by one we recently launched, or we reached me not really launched. But we've really have been pushing the me to order route for a couple of these these brands, which is, for example, I'm working with another celebrity who is one, Li Juggernaut, I think he's on Channel Four, great guy. And he has a brand of the same name of which he does camcorder shirts and trousers and stuff like that. And he's going through a bit of a relaunch. Basically with him, in order for him to not having to, to buy in loads of stock. I, we propose to him to do a couple of looks Made to Order, which he then makes the only cost for him is to make the sample and take the pictures and then does the promotion over social medias and then say cap it to do it over 15 days, 30 days. And then after those 30 days, you just place all the orders all in one goal. And that's quite a good way of working. But yeah, sorry. On the tailoring side, not really. It's one by one. That's really what we want to push. Because the reason why people come to us usually it's because it's so hard to find good production really because if you don't really have any past experience or you don't even have any connections, every supplier will most likely give you very high menu minimums and not the best price. So again, we use our buying power to give them the best service possible. So tailoring one by one. We also do custom apparel. So someone who wants to start a t shirt brand, t shirt brand or hoodie brand or something like that. I then go sourcing where I can and that's usually but smaller minimums, let's say just because some context we have already within the market.

PB:

I'm just kind of locked into the idea of if people have their own idea of getting like a brand off the ground basically have an open canvas to people's ideas. And you know, and launch a drink with everybody I feel like at some point or stage, let's just say everybody's had an idea for a T Shirt Company. Now I know you do like more tailoring than that. But then, as people get older, they graduate their ideas away from T shirts and think, Well, I can certainly do ready to wear launches. And then you have the likes of I know models, like David Gandy, for example, that wants to launch his own label, there's just so many people that kind of hit that certain level of celebrity. And then they just go right now the next move is to launch my own label my own clothing label. And this is where you guys come in,

Unknown:

it's a great market to be in, I think, because not a lot of people are doing what we are doing to get that full package. Because sometimes for the celebrities, maybe they have the cash or they have the capital to to actually go for it. But they need to go to one company to do production, then they need to do go to another company to actually do the marketing, then they need to do another company to build their website. And we the way we've done it is we've surrounded ourselves with industry professionals that work on a freelance basis on let's say, a project basis, again, going back to the bespoke approach for every single client, because it's every client is different. But we've vetted these people around their business, and we're very happy to then also make that introduction. And it all helps with for our end clients to not having to spend a lot of money to, to get to that same point, we basically do the hard work or the grunt work for them, and then come up with the solution. And I think so far, we're doing that with about 35 clients, ranging from production for tailoring firms, but also retail projects that we're relaunching a couple of quite big ones that I can't say at the moment, but that that over the next three to six months are going to be really doing really, really well. And, yeah, so people come to us for the full experience. Basically, we also have that show room that people can use as their own, it's completely white labelled so they have for free a room, they can look for central Grove photo shoot, perhaps we have a photo studio, in the showroom, we have custom built rails on the wall, where you can put products out, we have samples, and that they can use as their own for tailors, mostly, let's say but also when, say celebrities come in, it's very good for us to then show them like, this is what a cam colour shirt looks like. And I have xx fabrics that you can then put towards that and stuff like that. So yeah, it really is like a creative space, showroom slash creative space slash photo studio slash, whatever you want it to be released. So we try to be as all encompassing as we can, without losing sight of of who we are what we want to achieve, basically, which is the best possible service. And having a lot of fun doing what we're doing.

PB:

I imagine it's also handy to have a line of sight as to how much everything's going to cost when you set up a business. So you might have an idea, like we say, to set up a clothing business, you go and get your ready to wear stuff, but you don't. But when you then start farming around and going right now I need my website, or now I need the videographer. Now I need my PR agent, you you kind of add on bolt on all of these additional stuff. And they can probably just spiral out of control, you never really factored in how much it's gonna cost straight from the start, I guess if we come through your front door, you go well, if you want to get this brand off the ground, here's exactly how much it's going to cost for every avenue of your business now kind of take it or leave it really

Unknown:

that's what we tried to do be in Australia as transparent as possible. And just being from the mindset, maybe it's a Belgium thing. And James is Scottish, and we always joke is that we're quite prudent in the way we're not just saying give us you know, X amount and then you get your your your brand to off the ground, I really believe in like building a solid from the foundation and then going from there. And like I said, My title is SEO so on LinkedIn, I get approached by, you don't know how many people approached me to do SEO and do this and do that. And if you have to try and find a way through the sea of just a lot of spam. And if you need to try everything out, it's going to cost you so much more money then you can come to us and be like oh we have all you want to speak to you need a social media person speak to our head of head of marketing or head of social media and he's going to say this is a plan for X amount. This is a plan for that amount and and then it's up to the client to be like okay, is that within what was my budget and stuff like And also, we can fairly easily tell as a person what they're good at. And then we fill in whatever they're lacking. Lacking, I think, yeah, maybe, for lack of a better word is not lacking. It's just what maybe some people are very creative, but aren't very good at doing accountancy and doing the marketing side. And so we try and fill in and whatever they're lacking in their team, we try and become a part of their team in that way. So tailoring, especially private Catering is a very lonely job. Because you're on the road by yourself, you need to do everything yourself. And so we try to create a community so where they can come and when they have questions, or they're not 100% sure about a measurement. Luckily, I was trained by my father who's very good tailor. And I've been in tailoring for like, nine years now. So weird to say maybe from yourself, but I feel like technically, I'm quite good. So our clients can be comfortable speaking to me when they have a technical question that they actually have reply, rather than someone at the end of the line to just be like, I don't know. I'm just working here as an account manager or whatever. So we try to be very hands on as a company. Did you

PB:

did that train you did you learn most Gibson hawk.

Unknown:

Mostly, my father would say I was a geezer. I did a wholesale so I, I worked a lot with the big department stores like Harrods, and Selfridges and bailiff Goodman in New York, and then stuff like that. So I've been around the tailoring. And obviously, I saw a lot of metre measurement here and there and, but to me, it's all about finding your way to do it, and then build on that. So like I said, I have the best mentor and my father as he. Yeah, one of a kind. So

PB:

do you. I've learned from him? And is he still making?

Unknown:

Yep, here. So like, that's why it was in London. He was in London today, to he's also the chairman of our company. So he came and had a look to the new showroom. He falls, it follows everything not super close, which is I think it's quite hands off, which is nice for us. He sort of big picture and his his wealth of experience is a great asset for us. So yeah, he does a lot of tailoring he, I think he does about 10,000 metre measure pieces on a yearly basis as big projects. So

PB:

it's great. Do you make clothes for yourself?

Unknown:

Yep, always everything I wear is my own. I also on our own platform, we run our own tailoring business called 1956, which is a nod to Butch Staters established 1956 is where I see private clients, mostly friends, family, and people that are getting recommended. We don't do any marketing around it. It's just a good way for better cash flow in the company. And also for me to test the platform and to really have my ear to the ground and know what I want and the way I want wanted to look and to give better support to my clients. Really? Yeah, I make everything I wear.

PB:

Do you make trousers and shirts as well as jackets,

Unknown:

everything. So our categories are suits so jacket a separate so jackets, trousers, waist coats, shirts, over shirts, Blue Zones, with like a bomber jacket or Harrington jacket, over coats, all styles of our coats, Camp collar shirts, shorts, women's wear shoes, you name it, basically anything you need clothing wise, the ideas we can,

PB:

but you as a personal tailor, can you make trousers and shirts and suits?

Unknown:

Oh, sorry, as a bespoke Nope. So I do. I have this morning, actually, I'm getting married in a month's time and one of our clients who is a bespoke tailor who used to work for giving the Hawks as well who won the Golden shear. He's doing my wedding trousers, so it was my first time to actually do focus on so yeah, I'm super interested. I think it's amazing. But it's, yeah, it's very, very time consuming. And I think you need to be super, super passionate to be able to. Yeah, to do that. And some people are and we we help them with me to measure that is definitely an it's a it's a good way of going back and forth. Right? So I have a great bespoke tailor and I don't need to do it.

PB:

Well, it's a commitment. I know that because I tried to be a tailor at one point and quickly realised how hard it was and that that dream ended pretty quickly. I'd say after about six months. People have a great idea that they can make their own clothes, but if they want to become good at it, then it's it's years it's absolute years of dedication to get even just become a jacket maker, let alone make shirts and make trousers which is eat kind of garment is an art in itself, isn't it?

Unknown:

It's Yeah, it's crazy. But like I said, I have a great relationship with Ricky Brockman from Salomon Brown, who's amazing. So my thing is like, I strongly believe and that's the way I run my, our business is, I let people do what they're good at. So I think if everyone just does what they're good at, I think it's everyone's better for it. Try or than try to do everything. Completely.

PB:

That's a good note to go out on. Robin, thanks so much for your time today. And if people want to drop by and get ahold of you, we are bti.com Is that probably the best place to the one stop shop. I will leave links all over on the show notes so people can find out more there as well. Robin hang on the line. I'm going to end the call but I'm going to tell you a really good Rio Ferdinand story that I think you'll enjoy, but just sign up here until next time you've been listening to the menswear style podcast be sure to head over to menswear style dot code at uk for more menswear content and email info at menswear style dot code at UK if you'd like to be a future guest on the show. Finally, please help support the show by leaving a review on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this podcast. Until next time

(Cont.) Robin Vindevogel, Co-Founder of BTI / Fashion Business Guidance

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