Teessider Robin Bell has rekindled his passion for fashion by returning to booming Middlesbrough men’s tailoring outfit Bakers.
The 37-year-old, from Eaglescliffe, worked with Bakers Tailoring managing director Paul Smith from the age of 18, and he joined Smith to relaunch the brand in 2004.
But after leaving the trade 10 years ago, to work in the furniture trade, he has now jumped at the opportunity to head up the thriving independent retailer.
In the two years since moving two doors along and doubling their space at their new home at 166 Linthorpe Road, Bakers has since recruited six new staff to meet a fast-increasing demand that has seen them treble their turnover.
New store manager Robin told Tees Business: “I first met Paul when I was 19, we both used to work at Psyche together 18 years ago.
“We both left to re-open Baker’s in 2004, but I left and went into the furniture trade just because at the time I felt like I needed a new direction.
“Paul has kept the Baker’s name alive and I’ve always stayed in touch with him. The business has grown and grown, to a level now where he’s had to get more staff on board.
“I saw this as a great opportunity to come back to not only the trade, but to work with Paul again.”
Working for a well-known national furniture store didn’t quite scratch the itch for Robin, who has always had a passion for tailoring and fitted clothing.
“This is what I enjoy doing,” he said. “I had a good time in the furniture trade and met some great people, but it’s a numbers game. You’re driven by numbers and you’re paid accordingly, but the product could have been anything.
“This is different. The drive is the same in that we have to be successful and pay the bills, but to sell a product that you love yourself, in an environment that you enjoy, makes a big difference.
“The intention now is to grow the business more and keep building on our reputation, offering men’s tailoring at a mid-market price point but with a top-end service.”