John Dowling Interviews Model Citizen Mark Macaluso
John: I am John Dowling and I am here with Model Citizen Mark Macaluso, a partner in B2Bespoke Men’s Clothier in Glen Cove
Mark: Thank you
John: Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into men’s clothes, because I still don’t know the story.
Mark: It was accidental actually. When I was 23 years old I was lucky enough to get a job at a great clothing store here in the area. While I was there, I learned everything there was to learn about menswear from the ground up. I found that I had a passion for it at a very young age and was lucky because I had an opportunity to work with some great people while I was with the store. I started in tuxedo rentals and learned all the different lapel styles, fits, and combinations that you can put together. Then that business gave me the opportunity to do sales and after a few years of that, I found that I really took a liking to it; the mixing and matching of colors and patterns and making people feel good about what they’re wearing. Then a few years after that, it was time to explore doing it on our own and so Robert and I got together and put our minds together and here we are five years later.
John: And you guys are like brothers.
Mark: Yes, like brothers from another mother.
John: I see that because when you were worried about the time, I was observing the two of you working together and you are quite a tag team.
Mark: We’re good at balancing each other out pretty well. Robert can be a little more detail-oriented because he’s a tailor and he looks at everything so I know if I miss something he’s going to catch it, and vice versa. I can help a person with the style of their clothing finding the right patterns, the right colors, mixing and matching, and things like that.
John: I first heard about you guys over at the Hospitality Ball. You dressed a lot for people for the Ball.
Mark: That’s right. Yes, our first year accidentally we got involved with that event because a gentleman came in, last minute, maybe about two weeks before the Ball and said he was going to an event called The Hospitality Ball and he had nothing to wear.
He told us he really needed a great outfit. We were just starting and we kind of had a lightbulb moment and decided that we really wanted to take care of this gentleman. We said, let’s make sure he looks really good and do this at a really good price. After that, he just promoted us and then…
John: And then he told everybody about you.
Mark: He told everybody and now, we have a lot of customers that go to The hospitality Ball, which is great!
John: And you do a lot of other events as well don’t you?
Mark: Yes, we do a lot of other events, but that was the one that really started it for us.
John: I go myself to a lot of these events, because I donate my time, and I’ll see somebody and say that is definitely a B2 Bespoke client.
Mark: Exactly! We have our own signature stamp on things.
John: Now you’re here in Glen Head correct?
Mark: Yes, we are in Glen Head. 49 Glen Head Road. We’re right here on the main drag.
John: I thought what you did today was really cool, the tent sale. You had a great turn out, the place was packed.
Mark: Thank you very much. I think the weather really helped us along today. Yesterday we had it as well, but it was kind of a rain out. The weather Gods were good to us today. We’re right here on the main street, so we have it all set up outside. People are stopping in. They are coming and looking, there’s a little buzz around the neighborhood about us, so that’s good.
John: Last month we did a man’s go-to fashion spread, and it went viral.
Mark: That’s right. It came out really well actually.
John: The outfits you picked, the way it was styled, it came out perfectly.
Mark: Yes, you, Alex, and Michael were excellent to work with, very professional. You guys were so easy and made it fun. It was not a drag to do, it was very easy.
John: It is actually doing exceptionally well.
Mark: That’s great to hear. Michael is such a nice guy.
John: He’s going to be doing some professional modeling now.
Mark: He’s a great kid.
John: He is.
Mark: I have to say you picked the right guy for the job, so thank you for putting us together.
John: So what’s the future fo B2Bespoke?
Mark: I think our future is in personalization, having a perfect fit with custom-tailoring. For a client to be able to put their own stamp on the actual garment that they wear, whether it will be the lapel width, or the lining, just the overall fit. Some men don’t like to wear clothing that is not tailored, they want it to be really fitted.
John: Well some of us need some extra tailoring…
Mark: That’s true, but let’s face it, we live in a very vain society. These days, it’s all about “look at me”.
John: And why not?
Mark: That’s right, why not? It works for us because we can provide that. We can achieve that for them which is, in the end, our goal.
John: And you really do have some high-end selections, some beautiful suits.
Mark: Yes we do offer that, but even for the young guys, who are just starting in life, could still get tailored here. We could help them find something in their price range, that is in line with their budget, as well as work with an executive, a CEO, who may have an unlimited budget and wants only the best.
We carry everything from super 100 to super 180 fabrics. Solid fabrics, printed, plaid patterns, anything imaginable. Really the sky is the limit when it comes to custom clothing, and as you can see behind me we have a full inventory. When we first started, we were a custom clothier only and as things grew, people didn’t want just custom, they also wanted the experience of a men’s clothing store and so over the last few years, we’ve grown that, and here we are a full-fledged men’s shop. We offer a full tailoring service, we have tuxedo’s, formal wear services, both rentals and retail, basically all men’s clothing from sportswear all the way up to formal and dress.
John: I also noticed that when I do a lot of events as a photographer and producer everyone looks the same, but when I see people in your garments, they look like they just walked out of a magazine.
Mark: And that is the thing we’re trying to achieve. An experience you really can’t get anywhere else, something that you can’t buy in a department store, that you really need to go to a specialty store to purchase. That is really what I think separates us from everybody else.
John: And your pricing is very reasonable.
Mark: We can definitely keep it within a budget, within a customer’s comfort range. But what’s also important is that he really takes part in it, as much as we do. Our customer has a certain taste level, a certain something he’s looking for, that he’s trying to achieve and I think, in the end, we do get to achieve that for our clients.
John: Oh you definitely do.
Mark: I think it shows when people show up at these parties and events, and they look a little bit different, unique.
John: Yes, well I’m trying to lose weight.
Mark: Well, you’re getting there John, you’re getting there. Baby steps.
John: Well, congratulations on being nominated as a Model Citizen. We definitely look forward to hearing more from you and I look forward to seeing this interview and our November issue.
Mark: Thank you very much. I look forward to that as well.