November 2019 trip

This past week wraps up a year of increased travel and growth. Launching Sicilian Reserve was exciting but it’s even better to see something through and improve what we do along the way.

I’m happy to say that Sicilian Reserve has been adding more tailors to the US visits and offering greater choice and convenience to customers on the East and West Coast.

Last week I traveled with Guido Davi to meet with new and returning customers for fittings and fresh orders in San Francisco and New York.

We look forward to returning again next year!

October 2019 visit - recap and reflection

Our Bay Area visits last week went very well. Many thanks to our returning customers as well as those who responded to our recent press coverage.

Overseas visits work very well for established bespoke tailors because their heritage generates ongoing coverage, awareness and ultimately new business for them.

Sicilian tailoring is equally talented but far less known. This makes overseas visits far more challenging to successfully organize.

We do not let this deter us, but this means we need to work differently from the typical visiting tailor model.

The main difference is that Sicilian Reserve is a platform for developing artisans from Sicily. As the platform owner, this means I fund the bulk of the visiting tailor’s expenses (e.g. airfare and accommodations). Besides finding customers for each visit, I pay the tailor for his work and ensure that he succeeds.

Equally important, I allow the tailor to keep 100 percent of any sales he originates on his own through these visits. Although the result is a win-win, the benefits are clearly weighted toward the visiting tailor as opposed to the platform owner.

To make all of this possible, we achieve economies of scale by other means. For instance, tailors are encouraged to help each other’s fittings. Last week Claudio Italiano assisted with fittings prepared by Guido Davi. In our next trip later this month, Guido will do the same for Claudio.

Logistically, this makes it far more feasible for me to bring multiple Sicilian tailors to the US, benefiting both tailors and customers.

New tailoring order form & workflow


Rather than introducing a new cloth book or tailor, I’m taking a moment to share something operational and behind the scenes that normally doesn’t get discussed.

In particular, I’m quite excited about a new, integrated digital workflow I created for taking customer measurements and orders.

This replaces two separate paper forms that I used before. Under the old system, I had to manually enter data multiple times (often repeating the same customer data for the tailor).

Now I capture all of the relevant data just once using an Apple iPad, Pencil 2 and an off-the-shelf app.

Even better, this was all done without any custom code or a custom app.

I test drove the new workflow last week at a private trunk show and am very happy with it. So much easier to use, allowing me to focus on building the relationship with both the customer and tailor.

As with anything digital, I’ve already made a few tweaks, but definitely will not be going back to paper!

Sicilian Reserve in the press - “The accidental maven of menswear”

Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano and Sleevehead meeting our client Ethan in San Francisco. Photo credit: Timothy Archibald.

Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano and Sleevehead meeting our client Ethan in San Francisco. Photo credit: Timothy Archibald.

A friend reached out to let me know that this summer’s issue of Stanford Magazine has been published, featuring an article on Sicilian Reserve, Sleevehead and my recent trip to San Francisco with Palermo tailor Claudio Italiano.

My deepest gratitude to the Stanford Magazine team - Kathy Zonana’s unerring editorial nose for stories worth telling, Deni Ellis Bechard’s superb research and storytelling, Timothy Archibald’s photographic prowess, Giorgia Virgili’s impeccable art direction and Lauren Mortimer’s succinct illustrations. It was a genuine pleasure working with all of you!

Sicilian Reserve x Sartoria Davi (spring 2019)

Close-up of shoulder on a jacket by Sartoria Davi. Photo credit: Juhn Maing

Close-up of shoulder on a jacket by Sartoria Davi. Photo credit: Juhn Maing

Last week we hosted Claudio Italiano and had a very productive trip to New York and San Francisco. We're pleased to announce that we will be hosting a new visiting tailor in a couple of weeks: Guido Davi (@sartoriadavi).

Guido will visit New York on May 8-10. Unlike most visiting tailors, Guido and I are experimenting with doing 2 complete fittings in a single visit. We are trying this with one client and hope to offer this to more clients in the future. 

Nearly all visiting bespoke tailors limit themselves to a single fitting with each client (1 fitting per trip). For new clients, this typically necessitates at least 2 separate trips to prepare a jacket for delivery. The entire process can take up to a year. In contrast, our approach will greatly speed up delivery without compromising the bespoke process. 

Guido and his brother run a workshop started by their late father more than half a century ago. The more I learn about how they work, the more impressed I am with their attention to detail and uncompromising approach to tailoring. Guido cuts a clean, soft jacket that he shapes in subtle ways for each individual customer.

His clientele is among the most international of any Sicilian tailor, which is a key advantage in my book. Moreover, his English fluency and tailoring skills make him the obvious choice for the most direct, undiluted experience of Sicilian tailoring available in the US. 

By appointment only. 

Last but not least, we’re also working on offering bespoke shirts in collaboration with a Sicilian shirtmaker.

For more info, feel free to check out my blog entries on Guido.  Additional updates to appear on this newsletter as well as the Sicilian Reserve and Sleevehead websites. 

Sicilian Reserve x Sartoria Italiano (spring 2019)

Photo credit: Sartoria Italiano

Photo credit: Sartoria Italiano

We're excited to announce the latest iteration of Sicilian Reserve as a platform to help connect Sicilian artisans to new customers. Our primary role will be partnering with tailors and artisans on their visits and trunk shows.

To kick things off, I will be working with Sartoria Italiano (@sartoriaitaliano) for a spring 2019 visit to the US. Claudio and his father run one of the leading tailoring houses in Palermo. I really like his trim, modern take on the Palermo-style jacket. Claudio is impressively versatile and can shape jackets with a more classic silhouette.

But he loves creating smart, superbly modern jackets that could easily be worn on the red carpet and eclipse anything I've seen on the award shows. Excellent choice for those who enjoy color and texture realized in an elegantly shaped jacket.

Dates: April 8-9 in New York City. April 10 in San Francisco. By appointment only.

For more info, feel free to check out my Sleevehead blog post on Claudio, or contact us with any questions.

Last but not least, we're planning to bring Sartoria Davi, another superb Palermitan tailor, to the states later this year. Additional updates to appear here and my Sleevehead website.