Custom Shop Searching

The Custom Shop Shirtmakers/Tailors is conducting an “experiment,” said company president Katie Rawdon: It is seeking an outside ad agency for the first time in her memory.
“If it doesn’t work, we’ll disregard it,” Rawdon said of the experimental review. She plans to test print ads crafted by the winning agency in major cities before deciding whether to continue working with the shop. The New York-based outfit, founded in 1937 by Mortimer Levitt, has been handling its advertising and marketing needs in-house, which have primarily involved direct mail efforts.
So far, Rawdon’s search has not been successful. “I’ve contacted two agencies and been turned down by two agencies,” she said.
The shops called were Foote, Cone & Belding in New York and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, she said.
Rawdon, who contacted the two shops based on their creative reputations, is now looking further afield. The Custom Shop, which operates 60 stores nationwide, plans to spend
$1-2 million on its initial advertising effort, she said.
The review comes on the heels of the company’s announcement earlier this month that it had merged with Huntington Clothiers and Shirtmakers in Columbus, Ohio.
Michael Stern, chief executive officer of Huntington, a leading catalog sales company and a manufacturer of dress shirts, neckwear and accessories, becomes chief executive of both companies, which will continue operating under their present names. Levitt, who is 90, will become chairman emeritus and work as an active consultant.