View from the C-Suite: Made-to-measure makes its ‘Mark’

Atelier Munro's Toronto flagship arrives in style with a Toronto Maple Leafs' defenceman.
Toronto Maple Leafs' Defenceman Mark Giordano shows off his casual side. Consumers can shop this look at Atelier Munro.

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Defenceman Mark Giordano shows off his casual side. Consumers can shop this look at Atelier Munro.

While made-to-measure men’s wear might make you think of flashy marketing, Atelier Munro knows there’s still value in good, old-fashioned word of mouth. After all, what better way to keep a brand accountable than recognizing how important it is that its customers enjoy the experience and quality so much, they just can’t keep it to themselves.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t putting an emphasis on marketing that wows. For the opening of its flagship store in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, the brand that prides itself on creating personalized, crafted apparel has partnered with Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman Mark Giordano to celebrate and spread the word.

To create the perfect fit for this partnership, the brand outfitted Giordano in attire that spoke to different parts of Toronto. And aside from decking out a hometown hero, the brand found other ways to make its Toronto-debut in style, such as elegant soirees and digital campaigns.

Here, Atelier Munro CD Joachim Baan tells us how the flagship opening was rolled out, the three pillars the brand has developed in order to stand out from its competitors and why “made-to-measure” might not necessarily need to be considered a luxury.

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman Mark Giordano in Atelier Munro’s Toronto flagship campaign.

Why was now the right time to open a flagship in Toronto? 

Last year we started a new phase for the Atelier Munro brand, as we expanded our retail presence beyond just working with (multi-brand) wholesale partners. We wanted to start creating the complete vision we have for our brand in dedicated flagship stores, while at the same time, leveraging brand awareness to strengthen our share amongst the competition. The beginning of this new movement for Atelier Munro was marked by the November 2021 opening of our first flagship store in our hometown of Amsterdam.

Due to an already strong presence in the Canadian market, originally based on the relationships our mother company Munro Tailoring had made in the business-to-business realm there, it was always our plan to open our second flagship store in Canada. Toronto was the most obvious choice, as we had always been well represented and already operated a showroom there since 2020. Yorkville was the best fit for us and our Toronto team, so when the Victorian house on 19 Hazelton Ave became available, the choice was a no-brainer – despite all the work that needed to be done to the space to reimagine it towards the needs of creating made-to-measure clothing.

What marketing is Atelier Munro relying on to spread the message about the new location? 

We opened rather big with an out-of-home campaign featuring Mark Giordano that ran just before our opening week of events. For the events, we chose different formats, starting with an intimate store tour with some of our closest relations, among which were Mark Giordano and Canadian director Clement Virgo, and some selected Canadian press. During the first event we explained the brand vision and what our plans in Canada are. We also shared the stage with Southbrook Organic Vineyards, a local, like-minded partner for our Toronto store.

The second grand opening event was more of a canapé party format, with press, clients and influencers. And finally, we also had a friends and family opening party that focused on our Toronto team and their circles. We complemented this with digital and social media campaigns to create digital traction.

But to be perfectly honest, as we are a brand that prides itself on offering an extraordinary personal experience that takes the time to work with the wishes and needs of individual clients, word of mouth is also a very important factor in our marketing. If we continue to offer that experience to everyone who enters the store, we create dedicated customers who will become ambassadors over time. That has always been, and will always be, an important goal within our approach.

Atelier Munro CD Joachim Baan

Atelier Munro CD Joachim Baan

How did the partnership with Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman Mark Giordano come about? 

The story of our partnership with Mark started with our Calgary-based colleague Can, who has been running our showroom there since January 2021. Can had an existing relationship with the management agency Raze Sports (that represents Mark, amongst others). This offered us the chance to explore opportunities for a collaboration. As we are a brand that invests in storytelling that goes beyond the surface, we always aim to find stories that touch on the perspectives and values of our brand ambassadors, and (in this case) not “just” athletic successes.

After some exploration and a brainstorm with Mark’s management, the concept of “homecoming” really popped out. For us, it represents the opening of our flagship store in Toronto after years of having been present in the multi-brand environment (our flagships are even called Atelier Munro House) and, for Mark, it signifies finally playing professional hockey in Toronto after all those years in Calgary, despite the strong roots he always maintained in the city where he was born and bred.

Together, we scouted areas of the city that would match different elements of our story about “Mark’s Toronto,” for which we collaborated to create outfits that serve the variety of occasions the city offers him. It was a great honour to see the city through Mark’s eyes while creating the campaign. It shows that everywhere we go, we intend to grow roots on different levels, investing in sincere relationships rather than quick transactions.

Eventually, Mark wore the grey suit that was used for the out-of-home campaign before the first home game of the season and it just all came together. One comment on the Maple Leafs’ Instagram really stuck with me: “They all look like stock brokers except for Gio, who looks like a damn stud.” It seems that fashion will be an increasingly important element for the NHL, as is the case with other sports already. So coincidentally, we entered this world at a great time. We will continue to work with Mark, and there will be more Atelier Munro in the context of the NHL in the future.

What strategies does Atelier Munro use to continue to differentiate itself from other brands?

Operationally, what we do comes down to three pillars: offering outstanding personal service to each of our clients, empowering customers to make the most personal choices in the pieces they create with us, and finally, creating extraordinary products with fabrics by some of the world’s finest mills.

On a creative level, the brand needs to showcase one or more of these pillars. We aim to tell aspirational, personal stories that inspire both our clients and ourselves. The people we create these campaigns with can’t really be pinned down into one category besides having shown incredible “character” and ambition in what they do.

We aim to transcend one particular style or aesthetic in our storytelling marketing, and instead show the unique power of made-to-measure that serves many styles and aesthetics. We want to present our brand within all of these different taste communities and show our scope through the people we work with.

Futhermore, this more humanistic approach to made-to-measure tailored clothing also moves away a little from the “luxury” driven stereotype attached to tailoring. We still make a product with a significant price point, but we really try to speak to a wider group and introduce them to the beautiful world of made-to-measure clothing. There lies the future of made-to-measure in our eyes.