Tom Cooke (Photo by Nick Antony)
Name: Tom Cooke
Job: Master Specialist, Brooks Brothers
Last Position: Cooke operated his own men’s boutique, Paris Europa, which
specialized in luxury, high-end, and made-to-order lifestyle clothing and sportswear
Education: Studied communications and theater at Temple University
As one of the few master specialists at Brooks Brothers Made-to-Measure, Cooke oversees a custom service to help high-net worth clientele design a wardrobe that complements their professional and lifestyle needs, as well as handles marketing for Brooks Brothers’ Philadelphia outpost. An average session with Cooke is a $2,000 to $5,000 retail experience with 1,500 options of fabric, styling, and fit for coordinates of suits, shirts, ties, sport coats, and footwear. His appointments, which take him from showroom to boardroom and homes, provide a broad range of professional power brokers an extensive, unique, and personalized shopping experience like none other.
How he got the job: Due to the change in consumer buying habits in the aftermath of the economic downturn, Cooke took off a season to analyze his career options and to move closer to family in Philadelphia. Fortuitously, this break coincided with the company’s hiring needs. Cooke began his career at Brooks Brothers in 2010 as a specialized sales associate. He was promoted twice, first as a made-to-measure associate and in 2011 as a master specialist.
Training: Cooke brought to Brooks Brothers 25 years of experience in haberdashery and luxury clothing. “My initial training came from working in my own store.”
Talents: Because the role entails knowing and retaining personal and even intimate details of the client’s life and needs, listening and communicating skills, as well as discernment, are of utmost importance in getting customers to the level of satisfaction they expect. “Knowing how to maneuver around what they think is best and the image they have of themselves against what works best requires a dance of diplomacy and knowledge.” Trust and relationship building have also been very important to Cooke’s success and ability to service and increase his clientele. Having a strong expertise also provides a comfort and ease in his exchanges. “Self-confidence is very important in knowing how and when to engage clients. It is a delicate balance of knowing when to showcase the product, when to listen to the client’s needs, and when to cede to his or her desires.”
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