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Review: CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Cayne-Abel

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Upon the advice of many in this message board, I paid a visit to Carl at CEGO custom shirtmakers on Friday, July 2. What transpired at Carl's shop was one of the strangest and most infuriating moments of my life.

It's a bit of a long post, but to sum it all up: good shirts, terrible service.

I get there at about 5 pm and was greeted by two of Carl's assistants, who were both very courteous and helpful.

Finally, Carl started taking my measurements. I was wearing a custom shirt that I just purchased from a downtown shirtmaker. I told Carl that although I liked the shirt, I was not very happy with the cut (still too blousy). Carl then began to explain that while it certainly is possible to make a slimmer shirt for me, the current shirt that I was wearing was already fairly slim. I said that I was looking for a very fitted, sleek look, although I don't want to go too far either - I don't want to take it to the point where I just look "odd" in an office setting, and I don't want to constrict my movement around the arms and chest either. Carl responded that there must always be some trade-off between slimness and movement, that I must be willing to accept some restriction if I am looking for a truly slimmer fit.

I then said "alright, in that case, I'm willing to accept some restriction if it'll make a slimmer fit, as long as you don't think I'm going overboard." Carl responds by saying, "look, I can make anything you want, but you have to know what you want. I make shirts that I think are too slim all the time, but it doesn't matter what I think, it's what you think." Me: "OK, I understand, I just wanted your professional opinion on it; I thought maybe you were hinting that I was asking for something that you thought I'd might regret." Carl: "I'm honestly about to tell you to take a hike, because I'm losing my patience."

Naturally, I was a bit stunned because I thought that our conversation was going very amicably and pleasantly up to that point. So I said, "ok, no problem, let's do the slimmer fit then." In hindsight, I should have told him to go f--- himself, but at the heat of the moment, I blamed myself for asking too many questions, or perhaps he just unknowingly came off as harsh. So I shut my mouth and let him finish the measurements.

A few minutes later:

Me: "By the way, do you offer discounts if 3 or 5 shirts are purchased simultaneously?"
Carl: "That's it, I've had enough! (he yells in front of 3-4 customers and his assistants, as he tears up my measurement sheet) Put your shirt back on and get out of here."
Me: "Are you joking?" (as I stare at him in utter disbelief)
Carl: "Put your shirt back on and get out of here. I'm not dealing with you anymore. You're already asking about discounts when you haven't tried one shirt yet!"
Me: "So?"
Carl: "Three shirts is my usual minimum order amount!"
Me: "How was I supposed to know that? It was an innocent question. I know of several shirtmakers that offer such discounts; that's why I asked, Carl. And if you didn't offer one, I wouldn't have really cared. I was just curious!"
Carl: "Well sorry sir, but when someone comes to me and asks about discounts for multiple items before trying on their first shirt, I find that insulting."
Me: "Insulting? How? You were rude even when I was asking for your advice on fit. I came to you because people were telling me that you'd offer some guidance."

Then I walked out.

*********************

In sum:

I've seen Carl's work from a couple of people in my office. His shirts are good. So go to Carl if you want good shirts. Avoid Carl like the plague, however, if you have ANY questions at all, or if you prefer dealing with people that have manners or class. If you like having a shirtmaker with more pretension than Michelangelo and Andy Warhol combined, Carl is your man.
 

JohnnyCrockett

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Originally Posted by Cayne-Abel
Carl: "I'm honestly about to tell you to take a hike, because I'm losing my patience."
Originally Posted by Cayne-Abel
In sum: I've seen Carl's work from a couple of people in my office. His shirts are good. So go to Carl if you want good shirts. Avoid Carl like the plague, however, if you have ANY questions at all, or if you prefer dealing with people that have manners or class. If you like having a shirtmaker with more pretension than Michelangelo and Andy Warhol combined, Carl is your man.
For what it's worth, I also once visited Carl, fully intending to have a few shirts made after seeing the good results that Manton and others here have had. I experienced exactly the same off-putting reception from Carl as the OP (both the impatience and the extreme defensiveness at the mere inquiry into minimum order size) and, as a result, I didn't have anything made. He does have a great selection of fabrics though. I assume others have caught him on better days since many here seem to like him.
 

gdl203

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I can't really say I've ever experienced that much drama and excitement at Carl's. I should stop by more often.
 

nytek

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Very interesting. I was just about to schedule an appointment with Carl for some shirts due to the good reviews around here. But a huge part about the custom shirt process is the interaction/guidance that you get from the maker, which is why I have never tried one of the online makers. This experience is certainly not encouraging.
 

JohnnyCrockett

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Originally Posted by NewYorkRanger
What are his prices like?
Don't remember exactly..maybe something like high double digits to low triple digits per shirt in decent cotton fabric? He offers two levels of shirt: he does essentially MTM with an operation somewhere on the east coast and those are his inexpensive shirts. He will also make stuff to any specifications (supposedly) in his shop but the price for that is significantly higher per shirt and in minimum number of shirts per order. Again, this is what I remember from the one time I visited him a year ago.
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by Cayne-Abel

A few minutes later:

Me: "By the way, do you offer discounts if 3 or 5 shirts are purchased simultaneously?"
Carl: "That's it, I've had enough! (he yells in front of 3-4 customers and his assistants, as he tears up my measurement sheet) Put your shirt back on and get out of here."
Me: "Are you joking?" (as I stare at him in utter disbelief)
Carl: "Put your shirt back on and get out of here. I'm not dealing with you anymore. You're already asking about discounts when you haven't tried one shirt yet!"
Me: "So?"
Carl: "Three shirts is my usual minimum order amount!"
Me: "How was I supposed to know that? It was an innocent question. I know of several shirtmakers that offer such discounts; that's why I asked, Carl. And if you didn't offer one, I wouldn't have really cared. I was just curious!"
Carl: "Well sorry sir, but when someone comes to me and asks about discounts for multiple items before trying on their first shirt, I find that insulting."
Me: "Insulting? How? You were rude even when I was asking for your advice on fit. I came to you because people were telling me that you'd offer some guidance."

Then I walked out.

.


Carl is awesome.
 

Panzeraxe II

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Be careful now. If you say anything disparaging about Carl, he'll disclose your personal details / contact information to his buddy the moderator, and have him harass you.

Don't think I've ever heard of a firm that discloses client details at a drop of a hat when criticism is offered.
 

gdl203

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Originally Posted by edmorel
Carl is awesome.
He's been doing this for a bloody long time and has a pretty good nose for time-wasters and difficult customers. It's pretty clear he doesn't want to bother with customers that don't know what they want and will never be happy.
 

JohnnyCrockett

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Originally Posted by edmorel
Carl is awesome.
I see that it might seem funny or cool to those who may know him (and I don't know if you do) or who are already satisfied customers (don't know if you are) but it is a surprising business practice.
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by gdl203
He's been doing this for a bloody long time and has a pretty good nose for time-wasters and difficult customers. It's pretty clear he doesn't want to bother with customers that don't know what they want and will never be happy.

the question here is, will this threak have the legs and vitriol of the A&S threak?
 

TRINI

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Originally Posted by edmorel
the question here is, will this threak have the legs and vitriol of the A&S threak?

Depends if
and Manton get involved.
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by JohnnyCrockett
I see that it might seem funny or cool to those who may know him (and I don't know if you do) or who are already satisfied customers (don't know if you are) but it is a surprising business practice. The man was downright pugnacious when I was in there and certainly not justifiably due to anything I said or did.

please talk about your experience.
 

JohnnyCrockett

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Originally Posted by gdl203
He's been doing this for a bloody long time and has a pretty good nose for time-wasters and difficult customers. It's pretty clear he doesn't want to bother with customers that don't know what they want and will never be happy.

I'm not a tailor, but please enlighten me as to what bespoke/MTM customer with his head on straight wouldn't ask a million questions of a prospective new tailor and perhaps even over-specify details in order to ensure that he was getting the right thing? He shouldn't accept new customers if he doesn't want discerning ones.
 

gdl203

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Originally Posted by edmorel
the question here is, will this threak have the legs and vitriol of the A&S threak?

I think it certainly has potential. I mean, theoretically, what's the number of people who could "review" a shirtmaker they have not done business with or a shirt they've never actually bought? An infinite number, that's right!
 

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