Andrew Brookes.

Age: 51.

What is your business called?

Andrew Brookes Tailoring Ltd.

Where is it based?

In a private by-appointment upstairs studio on George Street in Edinburgh.

What services does it offer?

Custom made tailoring for men. We provide a complete wardrobe. That includes, jackets, chinos, business suits, morning suits, highland wear, overcoats, pretty much everything, apart from shoes, that a man would wear. We try to get to know the client so that the clothes can be designed around them.I think our signature style has a softer, more casual feel than your traditional tailor.

To whom does it sell?

Sports, film and TV personalities, business leaders, and anyone who wants the personal touch and is appreciative of quality tailoring. Our clients include the technology entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl, rugby players Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw, and the musician and television presenter Dougie Vipond. We have just produced a complete wardrobe for tennis player Jamie Murray, who is our new brand ambassador. I’d like to do the same for his brother too in the future.

What is its turnover?

In six figures.

How many employees?


When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

It really took off after meeting a senior figure at Scottish Development International in a New York nightclub after I produced a collection for Tartan Week in 2012. He gave me a good talking to for not knowing how good I was and asked me when I was going to do something about it!

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I had been selling formal wear through our Kiltpin business in Falkirk and after selling it I set about establishing my own brand.

We founded Kiltpin in 2000 as a natural progression from a previous menswear business in Falkirk, which was founded by my father. I’d worked with my father who had a gentleman’s outfitters in Falkirk throughout my childhood, spending time with him the workshop during holidays and at weekends.

At 17, when my father was 70, I took on his menswear business. Kiltpin was a successful Highland wear and tailoring business but I’d always wanted to build my own brand taking it into menswear so created Andrew Brookes Tailoring.

Menswear tailoring is commercially viable and there are opportunities with the sector.

Men’s attitudes to clothing and their personal style are changing, we’re seeing more and more clients looking to build their own brand and make a statement with quality, tailored clothing. The high street doesn’t offer much differentiation so we’ve created a new category of custom menswear at affordable prices, this sits just above some of the popular menswear brands on the market.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Mainly from my savings.

What was your biggest break?

A client loves what we do so much that he came on board by taking a stake in the business, which gave us the funds to push forward more quickly.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

Meeting people. I love the personalities and the energy I get from them. There’s nothing better than delivering a perfectly tailored garment and seeing the look on a client’s face.

What do you least enjoy?

Paperwork. I would rather be talking to people and selling.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I’d always wanted to create an eponymous line and now that we’ve created Andrew Brookes Tailoring, there’s no looking back.

We are planning to replicate the Edinburgh operation in Glasgow – we’re still looking for premises – and we have an eye on Manchester.

I’m also looking to acquire a whole townhouse in Edinburgh where customers can get the full experience: trying out the clothes, have a drink, a meal. Something like a gentleman’s club with grooming facilities, an opportunity to buy quality luggage and rooms for meetings or to stay over.

We’d also love to go international with a studio presence in New York and Tokyo.

What are your five top priorities?

l Opening in Glasgow, probably next year.

l Developing the brand.

l Making the products more affordable so that we broaden the customer base.

l Looking at developing our own manufacturing in Scotland.

Building turnover as quickly as we can.

What could the Westminster and/or the Scottish government do that would help?

There is plenty of funding support for bigger firms but businesses our size get hung out to dry. There seems to be support and grants if you are running a fintech or bioscience company, but nothing much when you are running a company like ours. The retail sector is challenging and needs support to help smaller businesses grow too.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

One that resonated with me was the virtue of getting up early and getting on with the day. You can get so much more done. I live near Duns in the Borders and I am up at five am, have a 25 minute drive to the railway station and a 40 minute train journey into Edinburgh, arriving at about 7am. Those early starts mean I can get almost two extra days work and they give me time to think and plan my day. The winners in life are the ones who do things that others may consider unreasonable.

How do you relax?

I meditate for 40 minutes daily at about 8am. At the weekends, I go body boarding with my son on a beach in Northumberland. It is surfing without standing up. I like playing golf but struggle to find the time.

I am an outdoors person. Life is about getting a wee bit of space and appreciating the beauty around you.