Interview with: Stephen Bishop
Company Name: Stephen Bishop Suiting
Location: Woking, Surrey
What does Stephen Bishop Suiting do?
Stephen Bishop has a simple goal – offer formal wear based on a truly modern fit and the most lightweight fabric. Not content with offering this unique product both to hire or purchase, a truly experienced and caring service is also our priority.
How did the business start and how long has it been going?
Stephen Bishop Suiting was created in Feb 2013. I have over 25 years of experience within the formal wear industry, having helped Hugh Harris Formal become one of the most successful award-winning formal wear companies back in the day.
Where is Stephen Bishop Suiting based and what areas do you cover? Do you have a shop?
The store is in Woking, Surrey, and has an outlet on the Isle of Wight to help cover Hampshire. However, given the unique and exclusive nature of our product, so far we have looked after weddings from all over the UK and on occasion foreign climbs.
How can Stephen Bishop Suiting help grooms-to-be?
With the 25 years of experience comes knowledge. This is often drawn upon to help guide a groom and/or his groomsmen, and often makes the difference in an excellent co-ordinated look being achieved with an immaculate fit.
Can grooms buy suits or just hire them?
Stephen Bishop Suiting has been created to unlock the often narrow choice that can be found within the formal wear industry. Therefore, most goods can be hired or purchased in any number of suit styles, colours and of course fit.
Are your suits tailored to the client?
Our Made to Measure or Made to Order Service ensures a tailored fit. The suit hire product range is also ‘different’. In other words our suiting is often designed to our own specification or, once bought in from a supplier, we will often put our own stamp on it by narrowing a leg here, or a sleeve there. The result is ‘fitted formal wear’, whether bought or hired.
How long does it take to have a suit tailored?
The physical making of a suit can be three to four weeks depending on the time of year. There are also several options of suiting to be made such as ‘made to finish’ where you have 3 fittings. Here you will see the actual suit part-made, semi-made and then the finished article with a refit each time. This can take up to 12 weeks, and of course depends on your diary as much as the suit making process.
How long in advance do grooms need to order their suits to hire for their wedding?
Being a little unique ensures that Stephen Bishop Suiting do not hire in from other services. Therefore, should stock be getting low, which can happen at peak times, buying in more stock is a lengthy yet worthwhile procedure to ensure we maintain our unique quality suiting range. It is possible to do a whole group of suit hire, even at peak times, in a few weeks, but this is not recommended. We say reserve or buy as early as is comfortable, but as a rule, three to six months is about right.
When a groom and his groomsmen come to you, what service can they expect?
Chaps are not the best shoppers in the world and are often put through the mill when it comes to formal wear shopping. Stores are often too busy to offer a comfortable service and environment, which is why Stephen Bishop Suiting offers a slower more relaxed service, with a separate try on room being created to ensure the choosing of outfits can be carried out in a cool and calm fashion. We also offer tea, coffee or something just a tad stronger with bubbles.
Which designers do you stock at Stephen Bishop Suiting?
Stephen Bishop Suiting creates its own range, from designer suiting to shirts. However, there are some designers you simply cannot beat, so why not join them. Stephen Bishop Suiting carries shoes by Oliver Sweeney, some of which are exclusives, with other accessories from Simon Carter, London, Eterna and Profuomo, Italy.
What sets Stephen Bishop Suiting apart from other formal wear companies?
For starters we are brand new; we have fresh stock, fresh ideas and a refreshing attitude towards our brides and grooms. We actually care about the person as well as the business side of things, and simply want the menswear experience to become a fun part of the wedding build up.
What are your top tips for choosing groomswear?
The product is important of course, but service must accompany this. 50% of your interaction with a formal wear company is the service part, the other 50% is the product that you choose to wear on your big day, so the less you spend, the lesser the service that may be on offer. So, when setting a budget, think about the service that is required to ensure what you choose is actually what you get, on time, fitted, in good condition, and of course looks amazing.
Random question… Do you like to cook, and if so do you have a speciality?
Spaghetti Bolognese as mama cooks it. I was lucky enough to have an Italian chef as a friend many years ago so was privy to some quality tips. His Spaghetti creation reminds me of the detail I like to bring to my suiting range; quality, natural ingredients, pinches of this and pinches of that, all served with genuine pride and pleasure.
Where can I find out more about Stephen Bishop Suiting?
Simply search online to find out about the new store or indeed my past trade experience. The website is available to view at stephenbishopsuiting.com where our clients have been generous enough to show off their own wedding pictures.