(Lazzat) Our next Vendor Spotlight is with Randall’s Formal Wear, and here we have Robert and Dave. Let’s talk about your business, how did it all start?
(Robert & Dave) Randall’s has been in Pensacola for 55 years, but the actual company was started in Denver, Colorado. It’s a national chain and we opened in Pensacola because they had some in California, all over the Midwest, and several in the South, but none that touch the Atlantic Ocean. There are two stores, one is in Mobile Alabama and the other one is in Pensacola, so they could advertise “Randall’s Formal – Coast to Coast”.
What makes your business unique in this wedding industry?
We are family owned. I think that even though we are family owned, we make our customers a part of it. It’s very personal, and you get intimate with people; you get to meet them for the first time, you fit them for their outfits and then you hear about it after the wedding, how much fun it was. You hear all these stories and you can’t help it but get involved. It’s usually a lot of fun!
What kind of experience should the groom’s expect when they come to your store?
It’s like a barbershop, really. Yes, that’s a good analogy. You come in and you don’t know what to expect. And this is probably the easiest thing that the groom has to do because if they let us do our job, it makes it a lot easier for them. And they say – “it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be”.
How do you guide a groom and his groomsmen in finalizing their outfit selection? What’s the process?
First, we see what they look like. There are four different styles of cuts: bottom, classic, slim, and ultra-slim. We could fit them in what looks best on them. We try helping them to see what fits the groom the best and then we can work with the groomsmen.
Sometimes they may not even have any idea what cut works best for them…
Right, if you are a bodybuilder, you may not be able to put your arm in a slim fit. But we got options that fit them better. Here’s an example, we had a fella come in during Mardi Gras, he was a very handsome man, and he was on the shorter side. He was a bodybuilder and came in wanting a slim fit. He was in a beautiful shape, but there was no tux that was going to fit him right because his arms were that big. So I said “well this may not work, but we put him in an Oscar De La Renta and it fit him. He was like “oh my God this is fantastic!” And what was kind of cool, he’s been to three different shops and they said he needed to go to Randall’s. It was a nighttime event and we close at 6 p.m. He finally came back later and said he should have come here first.
When a groom comes for the first time to try on the suit, the tie or bow tie, will you guys give him all the items to try on all in the same day, or how does that work?
Usually we take more time with a groom to make sure he likes it, but usually, it’s a coat, possibly the pants, it depends on the bottom or his build. Nowadays, with slimmer pants, we do have to be careful. You have to make sure the groom and the bride see exactly how those pants are going to fit. Coat and pants for sure, everything else usually not, just because they don’t necessarily need to see it. But we do get those that need to visualize.
Do you offer rentals and for sale?
And I know it’s popular to have funky socks. Do you sell them as well?
What socks are most popular these days?
Printed socks, wild prints. The girls get to wear all the blingy stuff; the guy has pretty much pants and a coat, so the socks can individualize their outfits. Prom time especially, you go with the socks for sure. And then there are wild ones like glitter socks.
Glitter socks? I didn’t know there was such a thing.
Nowadays, pants cut higher so they don’t puddle on your shoes. When you sit down, which a lot of younger guys now are realizing, your pants were supposed to come up showing socks, so it’s a good transition.
What kind of designer formal wear do you carry?
Ike Behar is one, Michael Kors, we’ve got Perry Ellis. We do have vintage Christian Dior, which we actually use more than you would think. Jean Yves is a big one and Allure Men, which also goes with Allure Bridal for women.
Do you offer alterations?
We do. We personally shorten or lengthen the sleeves, and obviously the same with the hems on the pants. On a rare occasion, we make more extensive alterations, but it’s very rare. Because we carry regular length jackets, short length jackets, extra long jackets, small, etc. We can pretty much fit anybody with what we have in the store. We are one of the few places that are set up for the same-day service; all we need is one day. We had a customer, his flight was leaving at4p.m. the next day and he came to get a tux at 5:30 p.m. We can work some magic!
That’s awesome that you can do same-day service, because not every store may be able to pull that off.
And there is no extra charge. Some places charge a rush fee but we don’t do that. We realize it’s either they waited too long or they didn’t think about it or sometimes they go to their closet at the last minute and try their suit and it doesn’t fit them anymore.
Tell me a little bit about the registry. I’m not very familiar with that. What is that?
If a fella comes into our store and he’s going to, let’s say, a Mardi Gras ball, once he gets on our database he won’t have to come in for that fitting because we will know all those sizes. So let’s say 4 months later he’s going to another event, he can just call us and let us know that he just got something back in February they need it again for a fiesta. They can reorder over the phone so they don’t have to come in. Sometimes they send their wives or girlfriends or people to pick it up for them. They can tweak accessories during that pick up so it doesn’t bother us if they change the vest and tie color.
What would you advise to groom’s looking for a perfect tux?
If you like what you are wearing you will feel better! Some guys right away may want the tux to be more relaxed, but we like it to be a little bit more tailored to them, so they may request a larger size than they really need. We always say, “I’ve never seen a bridal gown that fits like a sack.” The men tend to be the accessory of the bridesmaid. That’s our tagline, it always has been, “The lady’s finest compliment is her formal escort!” So we try to remind the guys that it’s about you, but it’s more so about your lady. We want you to compliment her.
It’s just like with a bride, she needs to be comfortable in her wedding dress, yes sometimes it could be a little bit tight and the groom needs to be also comfortable in what he is wearing. Otherwise, it is going to show on their faces and consequently in photographs.
If you don’t like it, don’t wear it.
Usually, we don’t have to go in between brides and grooms, but sometimes you have to help the groom out a bit with the Bride because he does not like what he’s got on. And if you don’t feel good in it or like it, it’s going to show in every photo.
Any fun fact about your store?
We have fun, we are family and friends. I look forward to going to work because it’s more fun. We have a good time here. And every day is different – every person comes in as like a puzzle you are solving. They tell you what they want and it’s your job to create it for them. I think what makes our atmosphere around our stores is our staff, and we have such a great rapport with each other. We know each other’s quirks and work well with each other.
Thank you so much for sharing your information about your store. I loved listening to everything about your store, the services, and I really appreciate it for you taking time out of your busy schedule. We are honored to have you here!
Thank you for having us, we appreciate it. Thank you very much!