BESPOKE tailoring at a fraction of Savile Row prices is coming to Woking from a store that opened just over a year ago.
Ashworth & Bird’s arrival in the town came by chance when managing director Richard Clews discovered that the Hugh Harris shop in the High Street was for sale.
Richard opened a branch of his store in the Hugh Harris site and soon became popular with shoppers looking for upmarket clothing.
With the Victoria Square development causing some disruption to the High Street, Richard decided to move into the Peacock Centre.
In “48 hours of madness” the store moved five weeks ago into premises prepared by local shopfitters.
In the run-up to Christmas, Ashworth & Bird is doing brisk business, and is looking to expand.
First, in March next year it will introduce bespoke tailoring that is available at other Ashworth & Bird stores. Then there are more distant plans to bring in other ranges that it offers elsewhere, such as womenswear.
That would mean increasing the size of the store, possibly into a separate unit, and Richard is clearly happy to have found the town in which to expand.
“The new development is very exciting and the local authority is very competent,” he said.
While the prices reflect the quality of the clothes, they are still a lot cheaper than at many competitors and the bespoke suits are available in the hundreds of pounds, whereas the same service in parts of London is ten times that.
“Some people think a shirt is a shirt, but that is clearly not the case. There is a world of difference in terms of the fabric and how they are put together. It’s also about fashion. We are not high fashion but we offer contemporary styles.”
The store employs local people, including manager Simon Griffith, assistant manager Lawrence Burge, sales assistants Dominic Givanovich and Conor Bakhauizen and sales adviser Djamila Hakim. Most of the staff live in Horsell or the town centre.
“I’m very happy to employ local people and bring that to the economy. The easy commuting into London means that when I have a meeting there I often stay in Woking and travel up,” said Richard.