Meet Simeon Sparks of Cavalier Menswear in Camberwell
Article posted: May 30, 2016
A menswear shop in Camberwell has been dressing the men of Melbourne with quality fashion and good humour for more than 60 years.
Cavalier makes shopping for menswear an enjoyable experience, even for men who don’t like shopping. The store offers everything from men’s suits, to casual wear, knitwear, shoes, socks, ties and accessories.
Store owner Simeon Sparks said Cavalier offers some of the best quality brands at great prices, and customers keep coming back for the friendly atmosphere and witty staff.
“We have fun and we make this an enjoyable place to shop. That was really instilled in the business years ago by previous store owners and managers – to have fun, have fun with the customers and have a laugh with them,” he said.
Cavalier has been calling Camberwell home since 1955, and the store has remained in its same location at 632 Burke Rd since opening.
Mr Sparks began working at the store in 1995 after leaving a career in graphic design and dabbling in part-time work in menswear.
“I actually bought my first suit at Cavalier, for job interviews. I got the job and I was so impressed with the company that I eventually bought the store,” he said.
After 10 years in the business, Mr Sparks became the store manager and in 2009 he entered into a partnership with two other people. By 2011, he bought the partners out and has owned and run Cavalier since.
He has seen the store undergo several changes, including a major refurbishment to infuse a more masculine look and feel to the interior.
“There was a real push, in retail, to go with a white, clean and minimal design. But we wanted to retain that classic look and warmth through wooden finishes. I think it fits well with our character and reflects our history,” Mr Sparks said.
Cavalier’s primary focus is on high quality clothing, no exception.
While the store is renowned for its selection of men’s suits, it also offers smart weekend wear for the man that wants to look good.
Brands stocked at Cavalier include Hugo Boss, Gant, Scotch and Soda, Loake, Canali, Armani Collezioni and Rembrandt.
“All the suits in here are made from European fabrics. They’re a much higher quality,” Mr Sparks said.
“We don’t take shortcuts. We know our customers are too smart – they’ll know if we buy cheap stuff and mark it up. That’s not what we’re about.
“So, if we introduce a new label our customers trust that it is up to standard because they have faith that we’ve done the research and that the product that we’re getting in is an excellent product.”
For Cavalier customers, it’s all about the experience of finding the perfect suit.
“You get a personalised fitting service, you get to touch and feel fabrics and you get to choose from the best selection of suits and menswear brands,” Mr Sparks said.
“We get a lot of men that come in here that hate shopping but by the time they leave, they’ve had a good time and we’ve made the experience for them easy and enjoyable.”
Mr Sparks said Cavalier helped men take more pride in what they wear and how they look.
“When people walk out of here in our clothes, we want them to represent Cavalier. That’s why we want our customers to look and feel good in the clothes we sell,” he said.
“Clothing makes you feel good. When you put something special on, you feel the effect of that instantly. Men shouldn’t be afraid to look like they’re making an effort.”
The staff at Cavalier put a lot of energy into building relationships with their customers and earning their trust, Mr Sparks said.
“The last thing we want is someone going home after shopping at Cavalier and not talking about us favourably.
“We don’t believe in putting the hard sell on people either because that is not a tactic to keep customers happy and coming back. All we want is to be front of mind when people are looking for suits and quality menswear.
“We’ve always said: love your customer and they’ll love you back.”