«Buying a suit, they do not buy emotions, but status»
How do Kazakh men relate to their appearance, are they ready to experiment with their clothes and what are they guided by when choosing things for their wardrobe?
Venera Gaifutdinova spoke with the owners of Emilio Guido boutique in MEGA Alma-Ata shopping center Asel Karsakbaeva and Tatiana Karsakpaeva and learned the secrets of men's shopping.
Venera: Why did two young women decide to open a clothing store for men?
Tatiana: We have worked for many years in different boutiques, we have a lot of experience. We sold both men's clothes, and women's, and even equipment. But we worked for the owner, not for ourselves. And in 2014, we decided to leave and go about our business.
Asel: We started with a small shop of 30 sq m, street retail format. The range was very modest: one model jacket, 12 jeans, 10 shirts, seven knitted fabric clothes and three jackets.
Venera: What was the start-up capital and where did you get the money?
Tatiana: We borrowed $ 30,000 from Asel's dad. All these funds we have invested in rent, repair of the store and purchase of goods. The amount is small, so we skimped to save money. Brothers helped us to make repair in boutique, and we worked as sellers.
Venera: How did you get dad to invest in your business?
Asel: We didn't convince him that much, he's always ready to help. We have a small family, but we're very friendly. We always stand by each other. He was very pleased with our proposal, said that we should try, not be afraid to make mistakes, and we decided to take this chance. But we had a business plan.
Tatiana: He who dares, wins He saw our attitude to work, how we support the cause. This money was not free, it was «torn» from the family budget, perhaps even planned for something else. Nevertheless, we lived up to his expectations. He always listens to us with affection and rejoices when we tell him how we went for a collection, what clothes we chose.
Venera: Why did you choose Emilio Guido brand?
Tatiana: Before the opening of our store, this brand has been on the market for about 10 years. He was known to consumers, but not wholesale. Clothes were delivered to multi-brand stores, there was no separate boutique. We liked this brand very much, we liked the patterns, we liked the quality of clothes and fabrics. This is a good quality and a good price segment — quality things, but the prices are not too high. If you compare with Canali, Pal Zileri, these brands are a bit higher than Emilio Guido, but the fabrics they use are the same. The quality of tailoring at Emilio Guido fully meets all requirements and standards. Customers who wore suits of the above brands were happy to buy Emilio Guido. It only seems that buying a suit is easy, in fact there are so many details and nuances. And our suits fit perfectly.
Venera: How have the preferences of Kazakhstani men changed over the years of your work with the brand, and how ready are they now to experiment in clothes?
Asel: Nowadays men have become more liberated. Previously, a man never came shopping alone, there was always a «support group» — his wife or friends with him. Today men are not afraid of experiments in clothes and are ready to change their preferences in color, models, use accessories. Today people are not shocked seeing a coral-colored suit.
Tatiana: Men have become more confident, they come to the store alone. Come and say: «Have you seen Malakhov's new suit? I want one. Do you think it would suit me?».
Venera: Surprisingly, Nazarbayev was popular earlier in the days.
Tatiana: All administrative employees and politicians still want a suit like the one President has. But lately we've been hearing more: «Give me the gray suit. I don't want to look like an Official.» But, of course, the first persons of the state are always a good example to follow, because the best stylists work with them.
Venera: What rules do you follow when purchasing a new collection?
Tatiana: Most of the collection we have are classic things and only 15% something original and unusual for our market. You will always find the latest trends in our store. There are also features of the Kazakh client, which can not be ignored. For example, in Russia, the size range begins with M and up to 4XL. Here the dimensional grid begins with the smallest size XS.
Venera: How do you interact with the brand? Does it happen that they hold certain things for another market?
Tatiana: When working with men's brands buyers go to purchase collections only twice a year. Most often it is autumn-winter and spring-summer seasons. With Emilio Guido, the process is very different. They have a new collection every season — autumn, winter, spring, summer. When we come to purchase something, the brand always takes into account the characteristics of our customers, so our collection is somewhat different from the collections that are sold in Russia, Canada, Europe.
Venera: So they can specifically change something at your request?
Tatiana: Yes, of course. They understand: if you do not make any adjustments, the Kazakh market will not accept the brand. Emilio Guido actively uses accessories, and our men have just begun to understand their importance. But the good news is that our compatriots have started to introduce bright colors into their wardrobe. This is a gradual process.
Venera: What trends in men's fashion would you note in the 2019−2020 autumn-winter season?
Asel: First, the color scheme. This season, you do not need to experiment much, monochrome, black color is very relevant. If you're wearing black, you're trending. Beige color remains relevant. In fashion, calm muted tones, autumn colors — wine coloured, muted emerald, which looks very good on Asians, dark brown, beige. Leather jackets with turn-down collar and patch pockets are back in fashion. If we talk about fabrics, corduroy and velvet are very relevant. Large cage and animal print are at the peak of popularity when it comes to prints. But it is important not to overdo it with the latter, to adequately assess own appearance, and to understand whether it suits you or not.
Venera: Do men and women approach shopping differently?
Asel: The main characteristics of men's shopping — rationality and practicality. If a woman likes a thing, she will buy it, without thinking when and where to wear it. Men are different. They are more interesting to work with, and this work is more rewarding. More often than not they are clear and specific. There are, of course, exceptions, but it is rare. Tatiana: You need to say a lot of adjectives if you want to sell a product to a woman. For men, it is only necessary to lay down the meaning — for what he should buy it, whether it is useful, everything is specific and clear. Men do not buy emotion, but status to some extent. Also, environment in which they make a purchase is very important to men. They need to sit down, think, so that no one violates his territory, so that no one else looks in the mirror next to him. Men do not like vanity, when there isn't enough space or that there are a lot of people. They do not want to think with what shirt and tie to wear a particular suit, it is better for a man to spend an hour and a half in the store, but will acquire the entire image completely. And our sellers will help them with this. Moreover, the purchased items can be adjusted to the figure directly in our store.
Emilio Guido men's clothing store is located in MEGA Alma-Ata, on the 1st floor (new gallery of boutiques, near the «Ramstore» supermarket).