On Saturday 17th December, the Vintage Suit Hire Company took up residence at 24 Castle Lane – and it’s like they’ve always been there. The building (formerly Animal Studio and Gallery) has been transformed by VSHC owners, Tom and Jessica Answer into the perfect gentlemen’s outfitters (including a bar) and is a welcome addition to Bedford’s cultural quarter.
Since its launch, the company has been so successful at supplying vintage-style suits for hire that Tom and Jess needed to move out of their spare room and into purpose built premises. “From a customer point of view, it feels much more professional to be operating from a shop!” said Jess. “It’s also nice to separate home from work. Visually, it’s wonderful to have a ‘shop window’. Castle Lane has great footfall and we get lots of people knocking on the door, asking to have a look round.”
The aim of the Vintages Suit Hire Company is to revolutionise the task of choosing your wedding suit. Out with the morning suit and cravat and in with stylish tweeds and statement ties. “The suits we offer are much more accurate to how people actually dress. Our ethos is very different to classic suit hire shops; we have a much more individual approach and prioritise customer service,” explained Tom. “If you hate shopping our aim is to make it pain-free and if you love shopping we hope we’ve made it even more enjoyable.”
It seems that making the groom the star of the show is paying dividends. The VSHC appointment book is already full until mid-February and they’ll be taking the show on the road to Manchester soon for a weekend of fittings. “Grooms are willing to travel from across the country to come to the shop,” said Jess. “We’ve had parties from the North West, Hastings and Brighton, but we’re planning regular trips out of Bedford to cater for those that aren’t able to get here.”
Finally, you may not be surprised to know that the costume designer for Peaky Blinders has chosen VSHC outfits for her husband-to-be and groomsmen. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, we don’t know what is!
The Vintage Suit Hire Company, 24 Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3US. 01234 303152 vintagesuithire.co.uk