Hi Michael, thank you so much for finding time to speak with me today. Can you tell us more about yourself?
Hi Wojciech. Thanks for having me. My name is Michael and I am Making Men Look Smarter. How? By telling them what to wear and what not to wear, when, how and why! I am a strong believer that there is certain amount of time that we have got when we meet new people and if we send the wrong signal, make bad first impression, that relationship is in jeopardy. I am not saying however that it is impossible to recover from bad first impression, but why would not want to give ourselves the best chance to succeed?
That was a very long answer for seemingly easy and straightforward question, but i believe in this. Men are notoriously difficult to convince that they should break their own habits of what to wear and how to wear things, as no one teaches that. We, men, are the creatures of habits. At school we have classes about Biology, History and Statistics, but nothing about making good first impression, and how to dress well.
You have become an absolute expert in helping Men to dress smartly and confidently. Where this passion came from?
The idea behind the pocket square business, which is a very niche and narrow market, came from seeing a lot of people not looking at their best when wearing a suit.
Too frequently there is something missing. Often people are spending lots of money on expensive suits. They will go out there and get the Ted Baker or Hugo Boss suit for £500.
Then they put it together, go for a night out and are surprised that no one notices their fine suit. I can guaranteed, that if they would spend extra £30 on a pocket square, match it with socks and watch…boom…they get a lot of compliments for both a suit and the entire look.
So the idea was simple – to help guys look their best! Plus, I get to try all the fancy colours and designs first, so it is also lots of fun for me!
I have actually created a blog post that talks about pocket squares specially for lawyers and solicitors: https://mensfinest.co.uk/blogs/fashion-blog/everything-you-should-consider-before-buying-a-pocket-square
I can also revel that very soon, probably at the start of the 2017 we will also be making suits, which will very much complete the look. Handmade, Italian, extremely nice suits! You are one of the first people to know about this!
You are also a fantastic networker who is very comfortable with connecting with both British and Polish entrepreneurs. Is networking great part of your business?
Networking has got some bad connotations. People say ‘networking’ and feel ‘ughhh’. I think the reason for that is that we – you – networkers in general messed it up for everyone. General population hears ‘networking’ and think of a bunch of people, in a dingy, tiny room, exchanging business cards, trying to sell each other some bullshit products insurance. But in majority of cases it is not like that at all.
You talk, You listen, You see how you can help the other person.
As simple as that.
Networking is great as you only ever going to buy and sell from people.
The truth is that, you go to a shop and you like the jacket, you are about to buy it, but the store-assistant is giving you some bullshit sales-pitch, he is nagging you to buy this jacket and also shoes. What do you do?
You don’t make purchase.
As people buy and sell from people. Networking is just a fancy name of saying how different people can help each other making their business or their network of contacts better.
Can you share with us any networking tip that has been a key to your success?
One tip – always be nice to people and listen more. Don’t talk – just listen
What i mean by this is that you should always listen first. You will be surprised how does that change how people perceive you.
There is a book called Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox-Cabane. In that book there is a very interesting story which i would like to paste here as it profoundly changed the way i look at networking in general:
“IN THE TORRID London summer of 1886, William Gladstone was up against Benjamin Disraeli for the post of prime minister of the United Kingdom. This was the Victorian era, so whoever won was going to rule half the world. In the very last week before the election, both men happened to take the same young woman out to dinner. Naturally, the press asked her what impressions the rivals had made. She said, “After dining with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest person in England. But after dining with Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest person in England.” Guess who won the election? It was the man who made others feel intelligent, impressive, and fascinating: Benjamin Disraeli.”
That sums it up pretty well!