When a new customer comes to Anderson & Sheppard, their measurements and order are placed in a slightly complex series of records.
First, all a customer’s measurements are placed in the measure book. These are taken during the first visit and include all the details required for different types of suits, jackets, waistcoats and overcoats. This generates a pattern number, which will always be associated with the customer and identifies his paper pattern.
If a customer hasn’t been in for a while, say over a year, we will usually take some ‘check measures’ to make sure he hasn’t changed too much in that time. The waist, hips and seat are the most likely to fluctuate, but older gentlemen will also change in their posture as they age. Frequently the customer himself will tell us that he thinks he has put on or lost weight.
A customer’s order will go in a separate book, or rather two books. First, it is entered in a rough day book. This is where we sketch down the details, and there are morning and afternoon versions, so that the one not being used can be borrowed and written out formally. Those formal, and rather neater, entries are made in the day books – again there are two, this time for names A to K and L to Z.
One of the useful things about the day book is that it includes details on the cutter and tailors, so we can track who was involved with each order and make sure they are replicated to make the customer’s suits consistent. We fill up a set of these books about every two years, though you can see from the sets in the shop – which go back to 1962 – that they have been filling up a lot quicker in recent years.
The order is also recorded in a third form. The rough books are typed out into order sheets, which are kept in our drawers and are used to both keep track of an order, wherever it is, and for accounting purposes.
Although some more modern records like this are needed, we like the fact that in the order books everything is meticulously done by hand – just like in the suit itself.