There is nothing quite so inspiring as someone who leaves the rat race in pursuit of their dream. Dee Graham is such a man. Here, he shares his story and highlights the role scent plays in his showroom.
As the founder and visionary of Dee Graham Tailor Made. Dee puts his heart and soul into suits. These are no ordinary suits, either. These are bespoke works of dedicated craftsmanship. Dee works with his clients from the inception of their outfit to final fitting. He invests his time, skill and artistry to ensure that his customers receive top quality service. Although he has only been trading for three years, Dee dreamt of pursuing this career for a long time.
“People assume that I am an overnight success as I've only been trading for three years. The truth of the matter is this has been something that I've obsessed over from a young age. Different circumstances delayed this career, but timing is everything. When the opportunity arose, I was ready and capable.”
'The sartorial world is your oyster. If you can think it, I'll tailor it.’
According to recent research, only 10 per cent of men in the United Kingdom wear suits to work. Not to worry though, there is an increased trend of dressing up for dinner, drinks or even weekend brunch. Because a suit is no longer considered a uniform for business employees there is freedom for men (and women) to view it as a vehicle for self-expression. In such a saturated industry, Dee is confident that his personal touch and eye for detail sets his service apart.
“I'm under no illusions; the road ahead will be long and difficult. But I truly believe the value, quality and passion I bring to the table sets my business apart.”
So, what does an average day look like for Dee Graham? With a wife and a young family, life is full, however, Dee believes that building a business about which he is passionate, is the greatest gift he can give his family.
“I am up and about from 6.30 am to get my two young daughters ready for nursery and pre-school. I get into the shop by 9 am for my first round of appointments.”
Dee Graham Tailor Made offers a private appointment service to ensure clients receive personal attention and privacy. A bespoke suit is one that has been specifically cut for you using a one-of-a-kind pattern taken from your measurements. The process is individually tailored, and this is where Dee really gets excited.
“The sartorial world is your oyster. If you can think it, I'll tailor it. What sets me apart is the way in which I submerge myself in the process. I am completely invested in the art of tailoring and design. I take every detail into consideration. There are no gimmicks or smoke screens. You deal with me, face to face, throughout the entire process.”
The client list at Dee Graham Tailor Made ranges from gregarious grooms to gentlemen with a penchant for shoes and distinguished clientele in the market for a new look.
“I love meeting new people and broadening my conversation skills. I have a unique take on tailoring and style. I believe in carving out a distinct look where people recognise a Dee Graham piece without having to ask.”
When Dee is not on the shop floor, he is checking in on tailoring work to ensure his suits are on schedule. He also travels to Dublin, London and as far afield as Las Vegas and New York. While he works exceptionally hard to meet the needs of his varied clientele, he is a family man, dedicated to the well being of his nearest and dearest.
“The value of a man is measured in the happiness of his wife and children. I have an extremely close and happy relationship with both.”
Feast for the Senses
A visit to Dee’s shop is a treat for the senses. Aside from the visual feast, he takes care to cultivate a unique olfactory experience. From the scented candles to the evocative leather tones, a deep, earthy aroma encourages clients to feel grounded and connected to the land from which Dee hails.
“I grew up cutting turf in the moss behind my home. I burn a candle from a Northern Irish company, The Bearded Candlemakers, that captures this scent. I guess I'm drawn to the rustic, strong earthy scents.”
The main showroom is flanked by a display of leather shoes. The fragrance gives a distinguished air to Dee’s space and sets the tone for his customer interactions.
“In the renaissance of bespoke tailoring it’s not about being a man but aspiring to be a gentleman. I don’t just want people to look their best, I want them to feel their best.”
“The fragrances are amazing. At the start I was very drawn to No. 02; I used the whole bottle. Then I started the wear No.01 and my opinion shifted. They are distinct perfumes and I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite.”
This month, as men turn their attention to the important work of growing a moustache, men’s physical well being and mental health is a hot topic. Movember has gained incredible momentum since its inception in 2003. The movement encourages men to tell their stories, to grow facial hair as a talking point in the hope of addressing the stigma that surrounds physical and mental health. As a man carving a truly unique path in the fashion industry, Dee takes inspiration from his own journey.
“I have to be inspired by what I do, otherwise what's the point? I respect those who have the same aspirations and dreams as me, but inspiration has come from yourself. I have the power and creativity to change my whole world and I feed it constantly by believing and inspiring myself.”
If you would like to invest in a Dee Graham piece, you can book an appointment at Dee Graham Tailor Made here.
Dee Graham is a designer and tailor based in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. He is the founder of Dee Graham Tailor Made and works with clients all over the world to create unique, bespoke outfits.