Skills: Cooke knows what looks good on men. He understands that proportion is the foundation of any garment, and how color and fabrication influence style. He can provide a detailed plan for how to coordinate the right look. Although not necessary for his position, Cooke is also proficient in taking measurements, a skill usually left to the tailor, but one that has served him well in assessing and ensuring an ideal cut. “I have a natural affinity for numbers. If a client has a wider girth and has a Fitzgerald silhouette suit, my experience tells me where to add more room while retaining a slimming fit. Or I know that the over-arm measurement is instrumental to a garment’s fitting well and comfortably, so I take care with both. These are specifics that clients appreciate.”
Execution: “The role comes with the lifestyle consultation that reveals when and where the clothing will be worn, as well as the image and impression they wish to present and represent. The customer is right initially, but after 15 minutes they defer to my expertise.” Cooke’s long-standing customers trust his knowledge of style and fabric. “For some clients, I order select merchandise pre-emptively, up to 90% of which is retained.” It’s invaluable for busy professionals who travel frequently. Cooke also serves as brand ambassador, focused on extensive aspects of customer service, including follow-up, which transforms patrons into lifelong clients.
Learning Curve: Navigating the world of affluence and influence requires managing a range of professional and personal demands. “Know when to digress and even to concede when you cannot satisfy the customers’ desires in a manner that is helpful and not offensive.” Sometimes it requires recommending a competitor. In so doing, Cooke must safeguard both his professional reputation and that of the company.
Advice for Aspiring Specialists: Thoroughly study the details of the product. “This encompasses knowing the history of the brand, origin of the signature patterns, and silhouettes, fabric, style, color palettes, and measurements.”
Best lesson learned: Cooke’s motto is “promise less and deliver more.”