I am John Dowling and I am here with Model Citizen Robert Bartol, a partner in the men’s clothier company in Glen Head, B2Bespoke. Now tell me because you’ve been in the men’s fashion world for quite a while, haven’t you?
Robert: I was, so to speak, born with a thimble. My parents were both tailors. So for my whole life, I’ve been in the business.
John: So, your parents were tailors?
Robert: Yes, they were. My dad was a tailor in Europe. He used to work in Germany at the Opera House. He made all the costumes for the theater, and my mom was a seamstress.
John: So, it is a family business.
Robert: Yes, it is very much a family business.
John: What drew you to men’s clothing? What is it about men’s fashion that attracted you to the business?
Robert: I always liked creativity, since I was born into this profession and it’s always been around me, I actually like the creative part of the job. I have many things I like to do like cooking, but tailoring is my passion. I like to make people feel good, look good, that is my passion
John: I must tell you that I’m sitting here observing the way you interact with clients and they just love you. You really do treat them like family.
Robert: We strive to make our clients feel like they are part of the family because this makes shopping very comfortable. This was not intended to be the kind of store to pressurize people. It is just about making our clients feel good.
When they come here, the first thing they see is a bar because we want to give them an espresso or cappuccino and talk with them, see what they like. This helps develop a better relationship and we like this kind of style.
John: I can see that all your clients, as I’m sitting here and observing, just look amazing.
Robert: They do, and it is fun to come here. Even if they don’t buy anything, they might just come in and talk with us and we can introduce them to the store, and if the business is not done right then, it could be done later. It’s really just a family.
John: You started with your parents in the business, but when did you get started into men’s fashion in particular?
Robert: I was working as a tailor since I was about 17, I am now 54, and so I’ve worked all my life in this business. I decided six years ago to go on my own because I thought I have enough experience and I like people generally and I like to have good quality people around me which was a primary reason for my decision to go out on my own.
John: And you and Mark have been partners for how long now?
Robert: We have been partners now for five years. I opened the store about six years ago and Mark joined me about a year later. We are a particularly good match together. He’s really up in front of the store and I’m in production. Mark is a very good guy. I love him because we are on the same level. We were both in music, back in the day, and we just love it.
There is always something to talk about and for me, I have a partner that I get along with very well, which is very important. He’s part of my family. I couldn’t imagine having somebody else here.
John: You actually make your own shirts and everything, here don’t you?
Robert: We do dress our clients from head to toe, even doing custom shoes, custom shirts, whatever the gentleman needs to get done, we do it.
John: That’s very cool. What is your favorite part of the business?
Robert: It is hard to say, there are so many things, but I believe the nicest part is working with people seeing them walk out, happy, and well dressed. I like when they have a smile on their face when they try clothes on. That makes me feel good you and is my favorite part.
John: So, it’s seeing the people and how they look?
Robert: Absolutely! I enjoy the aspect of making somebody look good.
John: I want to thank you for taking this interview and congratulations on being nominated as a Model Citizen.
Robert: Thank you very much. I’m looking forward to the issue.