By Eleanora Morrison
or Haley Rico, Creative Director of Limatus Bespoke in San Antonio, Texas, suiting up is a way of life. If you make an appointment for a curated “Bespoke Experience” in their polished Southtown showroom beneath the ground level of the historic Roosevelt Library, it’s easy to see why this up-and-coming, award-winning company is earning community praises.
Rico’s vision for the sharp-dressed brand, developed in collaboration with her Limatus Bespoke team, has set the stage for a new line of products, and they are expanding far beyond the “sharp-dressed man:” the growing company’s curtain has just risen on (drumroll, please)…womenswear. Rico shares what inspired the new direction for Limatus Bespoke, insights into her creative process, and her vision as she works with clients to design the future of customized womenswear suits and separates in San Antonio.
EM: What drew you into the suiting business, and what is your background with Limatus Bespoke?
HR: Before I joined the leadership team of Limatus Bespoke, the company was focused on custom dress shirts, and they made suits for a few clients upon request. I was always drawn to the idea of cultivating a Bespoke Experience for clients, and noticed that men’s suiting was on the rise in popularity. When I became Creative Director, we focused our efforts on recreating the Bespoke Experience that people received when visiting a tailor for a custom suit, except we offer it for half the cost and it takes half the time.
EM: What inspired you to introduce womenswear suiting and separates for Limatus Bespoke?
HR: The most asked question we get at Limatus Bespoke is if we offer women’s clothing. Many of our male clients would bring their significant others to their appointments to give their opinions on their design choices, so naturally they wanted to know if it was an option for them as well. We had been testing some women’s products for a while in anticipation, and then finally decided to launch. It’s the right time to do it; there are more women in positions of power than ever before, there are more women in the workforce, and there is nothing really like this experience available for women in San Antonio. Many of our competitors in this market only serve men, and this concept is new to women, so we wanted to be the first to introduce it to our community.
EM: What was your creative inspiration for the A Common Thread womenswear launch campaign?
HR: Women have always inspired me. I love watching the women around me create lives they love, and I especially love seeing them support one another. That’s the heart of A Common Thread. Each woman who is a face in our campaign had another woman supporting her journey, telling her she could do what she set her mind to, and believing in her abilities. The women featured in this campaign are such accomplished and inspiring role models in their careers, but the deeper story is about the women who inspired them and supported them along the way.
EM: Why did you choose to launch womenswear with a deeper level of storytelling behind the line’s introduction?
HR: I think deliberate, layered storytelling is what is demanded of creatives today. Selling a product is no longer simply about having something that is great and promoting it. In a world where you can buy anything with the click of a button, and fast fashion is rolling out new pieces by the day in bulk, the conversation is shifting more toward why we consume what we do, and how the brands we’re loyal to are speaking to us.
For example, what is the connection you have to your clothes? Our product is something that you wear for special occasions, such as important meetings, interviews, events, weddings, or ceremonies. I like to tell potential and current clients, “You are doing something important in a suit.” So, let that suit be something that makes you feel special and powerful, something that gives you the confidence you need to accomplish your goals. Giving our clients that extra boost of confidence is one of our core pillars of the Bespoke Experience.
EM: Where do you go to find your creativity and inspiration when you are designing new lines and campaigns?
HR: I know it sounds cliché, but I really believe that inspiration is everywhere. It can be a person, it can be a place or city, it can be nature, art, science, or even a certain color that sparks my imagination. For me, it is more about my mindset than anything else; am I in a place mentally where I can be receptive to the beautiful things around me? Can I appreciate all of life’s moments and how they make me feel? When it is time for me to think about introducing new campaigns, I explore the places, memories and people who are special to me on a personal level. That is always where my creative process begins.
EM: What makes the Limatus Bespoke Experience stand out from a traditional retail experience?
HR: I think the most important part of the Limatus Bespoke Experience is connecting with people. We take time to get to know our clients. During the first part of a new client consultation, we sit down and have a drink and just talk. We start by addressing their wardrobe and what brought them in, but we also learn about their profession, their family, their schedule, hobbies, trips, and so much more. This deeper connection is what I think is missing from the traditional retail experience. One of our favorite accolades is reading text messages from clients telling us how great they feel in their suits / separates, or how many compliments they’ve received on what they designed with us.
EM: You have a degree in physics, which is rare for someone in a creative field. How does your science mind compliment your creative process?
HR: It’s funny…I don’t really use my physics degree in the traditional sense; I use my marketing degree a lot more. But physics is really about problem solving and choosing the best path to get from point A to point B. There can be multiple ways to solve a physics problem, just like there are multiple ways to solve problems in real life. Having that background really helps me take a step back, assess situations, and think about the best path forward with any challenge.
EM: What are you most excited about with Limatus Bespoke, as you design the future of custom suiting for both men and women in San Antonio?
HR: I’m most excited about suiting more women. One of my favorite things about my role is seeing our clients around town wearing our clothes, and I am very excited to see more women wearing our suits. Women have a lot more freedom with clothing when it comes to styling, and I can’t wait to see how they curate looks with our clothing.
Connect with Haley Rico at LimatusBespoke.com, and follow them on Instagram @limatusbespoke.
Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.