Pressed for an Answer

I spend a good deal of my time these days introducing myself like this ‘Hi I’m Shaz Riley I own The Butch Clothing Company’, well it’s no lie I do and I am.

I run a company that 20, 15 even 10 years ago probably wouldn’t have made it this far let alone become a success. We are of course of our time. We live in a world today that because of the internet means we reach a global audience.

In the UK we have Civil partnerships & we almost have Gay marriage. In countries like the USA there are now many States that allow gay weddings. Aren’t they kind to ‘allow’ us something we have an equal right to! Anyway I digress.

The point is The BCC is here and it works, we found our niche market and you guys luckily love what we do!

So what this means is that the very kind Ladies and Gentlemen of the press are often asking me for interviews or quotes or photos of me or our bespoke garments & it’s wonderful and we enjoy it!

But I wonder how many of you read the interviews? Do you notice them on the newsstands, do you see them on line or do they go unnoticed. The Great Unread.

Now don’t get me wrong with each publication always comes a happy sway of new clients for which we are enormously grateful but I would like to offer you a little Q&A of our own. I haven’t blogged in while so I thought why not blog a Q&A.

I have asked myself questions that are frequently asked of me by the press, by clients, by interested people and I have answered them honestly & in way that I hope you will enjoy. So here goes. All comments gratefully received in the blog comment box! Promise we will read them

What is a butch woman?
Butches are women. Women who identify proudly as butch are many things, multi faceted. Many would say we are very best of both genders; at least that’s what I tell my wife. But from our perspective (The BCC) they are women who choose to wear men’s style clothing.

Why start The Butch Clothing Company?
I personally was so tired of having to purchase ill fitting men’s suits & so realising I wasn’t alone in this & recognising the fact that butches are women, who do choose to wear men’s clothing, is exactly what led me to found the company back in the summer of 2009. We spent an intense 10 months in research and development to work out how we could produce perfectly fitted suits based on classic males styles and the latest male fashion trends. The company was set up for all gay women not just those that identify as ‘butch’ but, you see, by calling the company The Butch Clothing Clothing Company every gay women in the world could and does recognise that we are company for her. Of course providing she doesn’t want a feminine suit.

Has it been a challenge setting up the Company?
The first challenge was to find a manufacturing partner and team of tailors that understood the concept of the brand and offered ethical responsible business. Challenge two was of course the fit, traditionally as butch women we have had to purchase male suits which although look great on the peg in reality the fit to woman is often poor, with oversized shoulder pads, way too much excess crotch room, arm length way to long the list endless. So we had to, through some internal construction and a very specific measurement process, find a successful way of creating suits that on the outside look like a male suit but also fit to perfection

How have your target market liked the brand?
This is a niche market and the company was always going to be a slow grower but over 3 years it has done exactly that, grow. The global support from gay women around the world has been amazing. To date we have had over 60,000 unique hits on our website, over 1000 members on our mailing list and 1500+ followers on the company Facebook page. We receive dozens of inquiries daily. We have posted some testimonials on our website and Facebook page which shows how delighted both our UK face to face clients and our global video Skype clients have been to date. Like I say the business just gets stronger month by month.

Is it only wedding attire that gay women want?
No definitely not. Our clients proudly come from all walks of life. They buy suits yes for their weddings and Civil Partnerships of course, but also for work and for social occasions, we even have groups of sports women who want team blazers. It’s all good and it’s all go!

Are women choosing suits with you following a trend?
There are no trends that we can acknowledge. What we have learnt is that everybody does it in their own way. If we had to pin point common ground it would be that 95% of those getting married do want a 3 piece suit (jacket, trousers & waistcoat) with a nice crisp white shirt and often hold the theme of their wedding colours in their choice of cravat, pocket square for the top pocket of the jacket and cufflinks. We do of course offer all these accessories too.

Any advice for perspective ‘Brooms’ – Butch Grooms?
From a bespoke tailoring perspective I always say to my clients buying a bespoke suit is an investment, an investment not only in your wedding day but an investment in you for your future. Our suits will last you happily for the next 15 years so when we design the perfect suit with you let’s think about the colours you like, the fabrics your are drawn to, how it will work with all elements already in your wardrobe, we encourage clients to think about mixing up the suit after the wedding by wearing the jacket with jeans, the waistcoat with shorts, the trousers with other shirts. We say use it, wear it, enjoy it. And from one married butch to an about to be married butch I say always be nice to your wife, if she’s anything like mine she’s the one who’s got your back !

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