29 January Parrish Jones takes fashion to a whole new level
Parrish Jones is unlike any other tailor store in Thailand; from its bar and barber shop to its 3D body scanning technology and a staff that want to make sure you get clothes that fit, the shop is the ultimate clothing outfit.
Jointly owned by Calgary-native Andrea Parrish and Finn Jouni Heinonen, Parrish Jones has already hosted a CanCham Canuck Connections networking event and plans to host a Flying Farang fashion show.
Andrea and Jouni first met in Thailand a decade ago when they collaborated on a sportswear project. Andrea was manufacturing and exporting sports apparel and accessories to Canada at the time, and she hired Jouni to help her design a women’s golf line. They realized they made a good team, so they started looking around Thailand to see what was missing fashion-wise. Jouni’s primary business back then was supplying uniforms to major hotels and his clients included Lebua at State Tower, the Sheraton, and Le Meridien.
The idea for the tailor shop crystalized as Jouni became more and more frustrated with the clothes he was being “fitted” for by Bangkok tailors. Also, it became apparent that it was near impossible to get high-quality accessories at reasonable prices. Could they find really nice garment and accessories producers in Thailand, and sell these items in one location?
The plan started to take shape when they launched the hIM collection accessory line five years ago, and then the hIM clothing wear line 3 & 1/2 years ago, which they sold out of two tailor shops in Bangkok, and another location in Calgary. They knew the one-stop-shop idea was exciting, but they also knew the key was to find a way to provide a truly unique shopping experience.
The dilemma: “How do they bring an honest, Western and fun concept to this type of retail?” While hIM Collection was showing signs of success, the selling platform wasn’t ideal. They soon realized they were either going to have to dissolve their brand and push the dream aside or open their own shop in Bangkok.
They chose the latter.
Jouni and Andrea spent a year looking for the location before settling on the spot where the shop is located on Sukhumvit Road, next to Soi 45. They wanted space — space for the bar, the barber shop, the 3D body scanner, the customer, the clothing and accessories. They didn’t want that cramped hemmed-in feeling you get in so many tailor shops. After some initial construction hurdles, they found a great contractor named I.D.E.A Solution Co. and opened a year after deciding on the location. As Andrea says, “a lot heart, blood, sweat, time, and dreaming” went into the shop as basically the whole site had to renovated and rebuilt.
Suzanne Beatch is Parrish Jones’ General Manager. An Alberta native as well, her job is to oversee general store management and employees, and make sure that customers have an exceptional experience saying, “We want you to feel how we want to feel if we go into a store shopping for clothes.”
Parrish Jones has a wide range of unique fabrics, and they are truthful about their origin. Products range from shirts and suits to sports jackets and accessories. The company recognizes that people are traveling here and going back to cold climates, so it offers nice wools and sports jackets. “We ask the client where are they going to wear their clothes,” says Jouni. “Are they traveling a lot? If so, they don’t want to buy an expensive wool suit because it will wrinkle.”
“Because we are Western owned and Western managed, we have a pretty good handle on what people are looking for,” Andrea adds. “We try to understand the customer’s wants and needs, learn a bit about who they are, and where they plan to wear their garments.”
For its accessories line, Parrish Jones works with local suppliers, are very hands-on when selecting products. There’s a lot of attention to detail, as Andrea says, “we know the origin of all our products, and we are very mindful about what we sell” We want people to come in and outfit themselves from head to toe with high-quality products at reasonable prices.
Andrea explains that 3D body scanners have been around for a number of years, but they were primarily used for two purposes: a company like Nike making a body suit that fits perfectly for a superstar athlete, or big box stores going into a new market measuring thousands of people to come up with a standard S, M & L size.
Parrish Jones is the first to use this type of technology for Bespoke Clothing in Thailand, and one of the first to extract data to create better fitting garments. Andrea says, “It gives us an advantage as we can see a bow in the back, a sloped shoulder, one leg slightly longer than the other. Other tailors can’t see these details. We can literally take 1,000 measurements in a few seconds. Everyone gets a scan, as that’s the first part of our measuring process. It helps us to really see your shape, and to get extremely accurate measurements. These allow us to better advise you on styles, and helps us to make great fitting clothes.”
“With our Scanning Technology, we hope to bridge the gap into the future as tailoring is a dying art. We still want to provide people with that traditional attentive service, but also realize that Bangkok has a transient population, especially for expats. So, when our online shop is up and running, you’ll be able to log-in, pull up your avatar — your body image — from wherever you are. You can scroll through our fabrics, styles, and design and virtually try on your own suit, shirt or pair of slacks. Once you are scanned, and are in our system, you will always be in our system. You can order from anywhere, and we’ll ship it to your doorstep.”
Andrea, Jouni and Suzanne are trying to create a casual approach to shopping, because let’s face it, many men don’t like to shop. So, the idea is to put them at ease before they make their fashion decisions. When you come through the door, you’re greeted with a smile, offered and drink, and are free to stay a while.
Parrish Jones also offers a dry-cleaning service and is open from 10am-9pm Monday thru Saturday: to arrange a fitting, contact the store at [email protected] or at +66 (0)2 091 0600.