Last week we brought you the first part of our two part series on bespoke retailer Bello Verde. In the first part of this series we showcased the quality and detail that Bello Verde uses in creating their custom suits, profiling specifically a suit created for Philadelphia 76ers star Evan Turner. This week we have decided to provide you an in depth look into Bello Verde as a company and owner Joseph Chay.
When Astor and Black was created in 2003 it came out of the gate with a bang however in order to take it to the next level they brought in Joseph Chay. Joe became the COO of Astor and Black and helped develop the company to where it was eventually sold in 2012 for $42 million. When he decided to leave Astor and Black, he left with a handful of clients, the majority of them being professional athletes. Thinking of way to capitalize on this existing relationship Joe decided to start his own company and Bello Verde was born. Joe has since been taking the custom clothing industry by storm. Joe has since he made a few key hires and Bello Verde has been growing rapidly. From custom suits to sweaters to belts, Bello Verde can make custom clothing at a price point cheaper than your typical brick and mortar at a quality just as high. After the jump we have an in depth interview with Joseph Chay discussing Bello Verde, his celebrity clientele, and his personal opinion on style.
IMF: Tell me more about yourself, what fuels your passion for fashion and drive for Bespoke retail?
JOE: My passion for fashion is the art. The ability to envision something, and then create it. Once you go bespoke, you never go back. To be able to ask a client what they want exactly, and then make them that product, is something special. There is no better feeling than styling up a client and then seeing the client happy with their garment on them. That is priceless.
IMF: What did you take away the most from your time as COO of Astor Black?
JOE: Astor and Black did a lot of things right to get to where they were. As the company grew, I realized some of the shortfalls they made and learned from them. One instance is how important measuring actually is. It is an art. Too many alterations and you’ll have problems. Also, how critical the relationships are. I’m not the kind of guy to meet you once, and sell you the world and never talk to you again. My motto is for people to try me out on one garment and let the product speak for itself.
IMF: What do you think separates Bello Verde from Astor Black, Tom James, Balani, and the other custom clothing companies on the market?
JOE: Innovation. The ability to customize more features and offer different fabric qualities. Our price point is much more competitive for the same quality. Tom James is a company we admire. They set the standard for bespoke. The backstory behind Tom James is so unique, we will get to that another time…
IMF: Unknown to most but when you think about it Columbus, Ohio is probably the third most important city in the country after New York and Los Angeles when it comes to Fashion/Retail. Due to it being the headquarters of Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, The L Brands (Victoria Secret, Pink, Henri Bendel, La Senza), The Limited, DSW, Jack Threads, and Homage. How would you say living in Columbus has influenced you and Bello Verde?
JOE: Columbus has a great following of business men who are in tune with the rest of the country’s fashion trends. For example, Les Wexner’s Limited Brands. They produce the Victoria Secret Fashion Show! People underestimate Columbus, Ohio. They do not realize it is the headquarters for Limited Brands, Express, and even Abercrombie & Fitch. You go to NYC and look outside the A&F store and there is always a line. You go to Madison Square Garden and see the New York Rangers wearing a Columbus Company’s suit (Bello Verde) That says something.
IMF: What is the future of Bello Verde both short term and long term?
JOE: Short term to grow the brand locally as well as a good base is set up for sustained growth. Long term, I see us be able to provide clothes for the common man not only for the CEOs and athletes of the world. I don’t want hundreds of sales reps, that is not us. I want professional clothiers who have a passion for fashion.
IMF: Bello Verde is becoming popular for its celebrity clientele. Who are some of the people that are your clients?
JOE: Mike Vick, Jermaine O’neal, AJ Hawk, Darrelle Revis, Evan Turner, and numerous others.
IMF: What is your favorite suit that you have designed?
JOE: The Bello Green suit. Double Breasted and its coming back. Darrelle wore it on MNF for the Bucs first win this year. Be Bello and you will be winning.
IMF: Given that is now getting towards the winter what are some tips you have on transitioning you wardrobe for these cold months?
JOE: Heavier weight fabrics for suiting, cashmere fabrics, flannels. Winter is a time for layering. We offer custom cashmere sweaters and don’t forget to get an overcoat.
IMF: As a team here at IMF we always end our style interviews with Style is…?
JOE: Style is a lifestyle. You can wear whatever you want, as long as you wear it with confidence. And always just be you. Just because you can’t see yourself wearing something doesn’t mean people won’t love it on you. With fashion you have to take risks, try something even though it crosses your boundary. You don’t even know the positive feedback you’ll get from others until you try something.