By Brett on January 21st, 2014
What do you get when you combine 35 years of experience in the men’s clothing business, an unmistakable passion for it and the support of close-knit family?
If you’re Windsor resident Ron Wagner, you get The Bespoke Edge, Wagner’s unique custom clothing business and second chance.
Wagner and his sons Ryan and Brett launched The Bespoke Edge in October 2012, months after they hatched the idea on Father’s Day of that year.
Ron Wagner had worked at The Regiment Shops men’s clothing store in Fort Collins since the 1970s until it closed in 2009. Since then, he had been looking for a way to possibly get back in the game.
“My sons had been bugging me for years saying, ‘This is what you do best,’ and, ‘There’s no custom men’s shop in Northern Colorado,’ ” Wagner said. “They hounded me a bit, and we decided as a family to create The Bespoke Edge. And at that point in time, it became Northern Colorado’s only custom men’s clothing company that had a locally-based background.”
Unlike a usual men’s clothing shop, Wagner doesn’t have a storefront or inventory. Instead, working on a leaner business model, he runs The Bespoke Edge out of his Windsor home and is often on the road traveling to his clients’ offices or homes for appointments.
His business necessities include a measuring tape, books and books of fabric samples, the knowledge of someone who knows everything imaginable about men’s clothing and, most importantly, his sons Ryan and Brett.
Ryan, an engineer, is mostly responsible for the company’s web presence and marketing endeavors. Brett, a web designer, has been in charge of the website’s (www.bespokeedge.com) look and feel, helping with its appearance, branding, logos and imagery.
“We’re really savvy online and that’s helped us a lot, but it’s really tough to not have a store,” Ryan Wagner said.
“The silver lining is that it helps us focus on our main goal — to cure the man-child epidemic in Colorado,” he added with a laugh.
Echoing his son’s thoughts, Ron Wagner said he helps his clients not only build custom shirts and suits, but also helps them build their personal brand.
“We’re in the business of educating and helping people develop their wardrobe to where, in my opinion, it’s kind of a successful tool for that customer,” Ron Wagner said. “Clothing can and should be a successful tool and it becomes your silent spokesman.”
For nearly the past year and a half, Wagner and his sons have been building up the business and spreading the word about it. Now, Ron Wagner can be found trekking to Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder or even Colorado Springs, where he’s built up customer bases.
On a typical appointment, Wagner collects measurements and goes through what fabric, cut and personal details his client would like to see in the custom garment. He then sends the order out to one of his tailor houses in Rochester, N.Y., or Newark, N.J. and follows the process through from inception to completion, making sure everything is perfect down to the stitching on the button holes.
“And what’s fun about it is no one in Fort Collins, let alone Northern Colorado, is going to have a shirt that looks like that,” Ron Wagner said, flipping through books of fabric samples with every color or pattern you could imagine. “That’s why people sometimes are willing to pay a little more, because it’s a unique styling and unique fabric that fits specifically them.”
As far as pricing, Wagner said his lean business model also allows him to offer his clients custom clothing at more affordable prices than ever before. Shirts start at around $135 and custom suits can be done for under $1,000, he said.
“Personally, I’m convinced that this is where menswear is going — to custom,” Ryan Wagner said. “There are other national companies catching on because it gives you control to pick out details and make you look your best.”
“And it’s not as expensive as it once was,” he added.
Ultimately, Ron Wagner said he might like to have a small storefront in downtown Windsor someday, but understands that the reason why The Bespoke Edge is doing well is because he doesn’t. By not having a shop and the challenges that come with it, he said he is free to spoil his customers by making the process easy and convenient for them.
He also said he and his sons are hoping to launch an online store for shirts through the company website.
“Obviously, to reinvent myself in the business that I spent 35 years in already, you know, can be kind of challenging, but it wasn’t,” Wagner added. “How creative and unique the process is; it’s just really been a lot of fun.”