On Friday the 13th of this month at 5pm, Michelsberg Tailoring popped open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and raised a glass to its first employee, Charlie Anderson.
Eight years ago, the business was born on my kitchen table, and now, after three years in the Victoria Quarter, I feel ready to take on an apprentice.
Here he is, signing his employment contract.
Currently a salesman at Jeffery West shoes, he first impressed me when I urgently needed a pair of dress shoes for a black-tie event.
They didn’t have my size in the Leeds store, so he hunted a pair down on the phone, arranged for them to be couriered up from London (the same day), and was on my doorstep first thing the next morning, waiting for me to try them on.
To me, service is everything and here was someone practising what I preach.
Charlie got his sale, Jeffery West made a few quid, and my new patent-leather Jeffries got to dominate the dance-floor of the Hunt Ball that evening.
Here is a picture of me on the night with my good friend Toby, wearing his new Michelsberg midnight blue mohair tuxedo with velvet shawl collar, and my beautiful wife, Nikki
Charlie starts on Monday the 8th September and it’s a big step for us both.
Once under the Michelsberg wing, he is going to learn what I passionately believe is the greatest job on earth – running a bespoke tailoring business.
He’s ambitious, bright, has some ‘fire in the belly’ and loves clothes. My gut feeling is that here is a young man who wants to be one of life’s winners and I’m going to do everything I can to help him achieve his goals.
As far as my business goes, I genuinely feel like I’m just getting started. I’ve got a good base to build from and have a dream of how I want things to look in the future.
To achieve that I need to find the right people whom I can trust.
Whilst I’m not afraid of taking risks, it’s my family name above the door, and with that comes a responsibility to maintain what I hope is a spotless reputation.
In Charlie I am confident I have found someone with broad enough shoulders to carry such a mighty burden!
I will be hosting a customer party shortly after he starts in the hope you will find the time to help me welcome the new kid into our gang.
For Charlie and I, a new chapter begins and it’s going to be a Brave New World for us both. Success can never be guaranteed but failure is not an option.