Fifty Years with Ravi
Many well-known figures have walked through our Madison Avenue doors. But fifty years ago, an especially important young man stepped in to enquire not
about his wardrobe, but after a job... and he's been here ever since!
After five decades of service at our Madison Avenue store, Ravi is no doubt a part of Paul Stuart's culture and history, vivid in our customers' memories,
admired for his sharp wit, energy, and class. (As well as an almost superhuman, computer-like memory.)
Perhaps you've yet to meet Ravi. Maybe you know him well already. Whatever the case, we sat down to speak with him about his five decades on the frontline
at America's most famous haberdashery: his memories of Martini lunches in the good old days, celebrity faces, the New York Jets, and what he's learned after
fifty years at Paul Stuart.
I'm always late.
"Even on my first day at Paul Stuart, I showed up late. I began working here almost by accident, after walking past the store one cold day from a nearby coffee shop. It wasn't long after I moved to New York. I thought 'why not?' and stepped inside, and there I met Mr. Ralph Ostrove Jr, who kindly invited me for an interview. I started the following Monday and have never looked back since."
We do the best alterations in New York.
“For Americans in those days, visiting the Paul Stuart store used to be a family experience; a special occasion. We had a reputation for the best alterations in the city. Grandparents would come in to spoil their grandchildren, and wives would join their husbands in picking out new clothes. At the time, the salesman didn’t want the wife to go to the fitting room. It made no sense to me – usually, they decide what the man will want: they know him better than anyone. So, I became the first salesperson to encourage the wife to join her husband.”
I have suggestions, not advice.
“Sometimes people take advice badly. But if I had to give a suggestion to someone starting, it would be: know your stock, know your hardware, and if in doubt, always double-check. Salespeople should have confidence in what they sell, and always make the customer feel relaxed. A lot of people keep notes, but this stuff is all in my head – it’s common sense.”
I prefer the New York Jets over the Giants.
“I still work out three times a week, even at 77 – you need to stay active and alert on the shop floor, in case anyone walks in. We used to be very, very busy; especially back in the day. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even have time to go to the bathroom. And if we weren’t having lunch at the store, it would be at Hickory House, or we would eat together at Burger King on 49th Street, 10:30am on-the-dot – before our clients came in on their break.”
It feels like I started only yesterday.
“People ask me how I do it, but it never felt like work to me; I’ve had so much fun. I love this business and still don’t want to give up. I feel like I’ve been a part of making Paul Stuart what it is, and every morning I get up excited for the new day. ‘Man is a student up to his deathbed, and the day he knows everything is when he dies’ – I really like that phrase.
Even after fifty years, I learn something new each day.