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The suiting thread


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My knowledge of Sayap is very limited. However, I do know a few things about them. My imagination can extrapolate from there. 

I know the younger Sayap guys read this thread. Guys, don't laugh too hard if I extrapolate wrong. 

Sayap appears to me to have multiple owners. Very normal in most businesses. They're called shareholders. At least two of the owners also operate their own tailoring business apart from Sayap. So, CK Lee is one of the owners. He also operates and owns CK Tailor, which I imagine is 100% owned by him. 

One other owner (I conjecture) is a certain Jeff Lee. I was introduced to Jeff some 9 years ago, but he kept quite a distance from me. He seems to have a policy of not saying a word to me. We have met many times in various industry events, but he makes sure there is at least 10 meters between him and me. 

Jeff is roughly my age, and seems to be an owner in more than one tailoring business. He's a second generation from a family that is intensively in tailoring. His uncles and cousins are all in it. He's based in Sg Petani. He also owns a workshop in KL, I think, though not the sole owner. 

Sayap in Sg Petani may just be a rebranding of his existing shop. Because, I recall he operates one, but I can't seem to find it on Google anymore. So it may have morphed into Sayap Sg Petani. 


On picture left, you see Jeff.

I'm not sure what special insight caused the establishment of Sayap in Ipoh. But I can guess. I think the owners of Sayap wanted to create a nationwide apex-segment tailoring chain. With a central (shared) workshop and marketing. 

The reason this chain cannot be created by CK or by Jeff or any of the other investors alone is because of the sheer amount of capital required. The premises of Sayap in Ipoh is in an upmarket area, and the build out must have cost several hundred thousand ringgit. It wants to sell to the apex of the Ipoh market. 

I personally think that tailoring, at least at the top of the market, is simply not scalable. You can't create a chain out of it. It may work in the middle and lower retail-oriented segments, but not at the top. Because at the top, it is about genuine craft and personal relationships, not about location or interior decor.

So they're hiring a sales consultant for their Sg Petani branch. This sounds wrong to me. 

In my business, customers come pre-sold. If they are in the shop, they are already buying. Nobody needs to sell. 

The person seeing them is me. Not a RM2.5k/month sales consultant. 

Even Lord's understand this. Kenny, the second generation owner, sees the customer. The sharpest guy at the front is how this business works. 

The customer does not want to see a RM2.5k/month sales consultant whose tenure on average is 9 months. He wants to see the guy whose name is on the front of the shop. 

But, but, but! Sayap will say: We hire awesome customer-facing people, give them all the learning opportunities you can imagine, and pay them really well. 

This might actually work. But does it distort the ratios of the business so much that profitability is no longer possible? 

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I was discussing external coin pockets on trousers with a customer just minutes ago. I said they are functionally relevant only if you have a solid gold Patek pocket watch, and that otherwise they're pointless. He says he might use them to store Bluetooth earphones. Wow, yes, of course, I thought. 

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I was just talking to a German customer who runs the Asian division of a conglomerate and who is currently stuck in KL, and he tells me that if I ever feel a desire to go back to the corporate world that he may have a job for me. 

I tell him I really like where I am, and I tell him why. He says it's so tough finding the right people to head projects. 

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