Threading the Needle ~ Upholding Grandpa’s Golden Rules
Grandpa Jacobi Press formulated his Golden Rules when he founded his eponymous business carried on by succeeding generations continuing to this day under 36 years of non-family ownership.
- Press stands alone as the Menswear Tribune of Classic American Style. Grandpa’s rules sets J. Press apart from the fast-fashion retailers chasing the latest fads and sacrificing quality for low costs and high profit margins.
Jacobi Press’s Sermon On The Mount remains ageless:
Police The Quality Of The Craft: The J. Press merchandising team oversees the policing of products, carefully examining tailoring and merchandise details ensuring the high quality of all J. Press clothing and furnishings.
Promote The Long Term Value Of The Product: My dad, Paul Press, died sixteen years ago. I passed along his extensive wardrobe to my son Ben who fortunately approximated Dad’s fit. The cornucopia was made up of more than fifty bespoke suits, a generous amount of sport coats, blazers side-by-side a virtual retail store inventory of dress shirts, neckties, sweaters, sport trousers, India Madras sport shirts et al. Ben was indeed an unlikely accoutered Hollywood agent and producer in the entertainment world nevertheless receiving unlikely plaudits from a milieu where Ivy Style was considered outré. Attending an early 2000s Golden Globes Awards flaunting his grandfather’s 1950s bespoke Tuxedo got Ben named one of the best dressed according to the London Daily Mail.
Respond To The Unique Wardrobe Requirements Of A Targeted Customer Base: My Grandfather began his retail journey knocking on doors in Yale dormitories with his bag of sample swatches pitching his goods with his winning personality. His primary target: Yale. He enlarged that base selling his goods at Eastern Prep Schools, eventually adding shops on the Harvard and Princeton campuses. He served alumni via nationwide travel exhibits in local hotels, frosting the cake with a prime spot on Madison Avenue and 44th Street. His target base extended to students, alumni, townies, society and civic leaders, advertising and corporate finance big shots, politicians, entertainment celebrities that were all tuned into the J. Squeeze expression of good taste.
When I entered the business in 1959, my goal was to expand the customer base outside of Ivy League circles. That endeavor prompted the recognized value by the non-family successor Onward Kashiyama when they purchased the business in 1986.
And the beat goes on.
That begs the question left unanswered, why’d you sell such a long honored family tradition. Off and on, while in NYC from the District, J Press & Brooks were a must.
The fact that Ben Press was able to wear his grandfather’s clothing and be recognized for his timeless good taste and quality of dress speaks volumes. Classically proportioned and impeccably tailored clothing is always in style - perhaps not in the current fashion, but in style. I still wear with pride several hand-tailored sport coats and a beautiful Chesterfield topcoat that my father purchased in the 1980’s. The moral of this story is to seek out a classically proportioned cut and quality manufacture when shopping for tailored clothing - and in these times of deliberate slovenliness, to actually wear such clothing with pride. In doing so you will declare yourself to be a gentleman, and one who is uninterested in following the crowd.
Loved seeing the clipping in the DC store where a member of the media accused George H.W. Bush of wearing Brooks Brothers apparel to which he opened his jacket and said something like, “No, it’s J. Press!”
He had a great sense of humor…and good taste in his apparel!