Informal Interviews With Great Men - Paul Anthony
Businessman and founder of Bespoke Unit, Paul Anthony has dedicated his life to helping men broaden their horizons and find a personal style through “A Guide To A Dapper Life”.
Bespoke Unit was founded in 2013. We can consider it a comprehensive website for those men looking to live to their fullest potential.
Paul loves writing about traveling, shoes, fragrances and has a flair for watches and micro-mechanics. British at heart, he currently lives in Philadelphia.
1. What clothes do you like to wear on a daily basis? Which looks do you enjoy the most?
Most days at the moment I'm quite casual, as my office is in the burbs with a casual culture. However, about 3/4 days/evenings a week I go into the city and get suited & booted.
I love the fall: The leaves start to change color and the tweeds start to come out along with boots as the temperatures cool off. As a bigger guy and being from England I love these heavier fabrics with their rich color pallets.
I'm also a shoe nut, with over 130 pairs from dress shoes to boots and too many Adidas Stan Smiths to admit to! As a size 14 wide, it's become somewhat of a storage challenge...
2. How would you define your personal style? How has it developed or changed over the last few years?
My style is classic English tailoring (as it's flattering for my body type), with a bit of flare. I love to start with a white dress shirt and let the rest get more exciting from there.
In the winter months, you'll find me in a three-piece suit often, sporting a double Albert chain.
I used to work in the city so I was in a suit every day. Aside from that, my style has not changed too much.
I still like to add some flare, whether that be when I'm in a suit or a more casual ensemble. I like to mix up my shoes, glasses and watch on a daily basis.
3. What's your take on style rules; do you believe in them? Which would you tell a friend to absolutely follow or forget?
I like to look at "rules" as being more guidelines. Most of these guidelines are in place to flatter the wearer, and/or serve some sort of function.
Once you know the rules you can break the rules, is a cringe-worthy statement. We here at Bespoke Unit believe that it's good to start off from a solid foundation and dress for your body type, face shape, personality, situation, and budget.
If you don't have an item, things can be substituted, but always try your best and be confident.
Not much gets to me sartorially, as each to their own. The one exception outside of bad fit is when guys wear a tie clip with a waistcoat!
I mean what is the end game there... If you're looking to accessorize an outfit, try something else like a lapel flower or pocket square.
4. Are you more of a morning person, or a late night person? How does a typical day look to you?
I'm an all day person!
I can get quite grumpy when I've not had enough sleep, but outside of that I'm pretty good early mornings (as I used to play professional golf, so lots of early days there), and into the night (being a business owner, some events and client meetings go well into the night).
Bespoke Unit has become a 20 - 40 hour a week "side" passion project. I have a regular day job, owning a marketing firm of 20 staff, so that keeps me busy for another 40 - 60 hours a week.
I really need to figure out my work-life balance, but that another topic for another time...
The master plan is to work on Bespoke Unit full time, and truly enjoy the topics we cover to the fullest. I hope to get there in the next 3-5 years.
5. If we had 24 hours to spend in Philly, what should we do? (Sights, food, bars, landmarks, stores.)
I grew up just outside of London, coming to the USA on a golf scholarship at 19. I've lived in Philadelphia for about 12 years now, so I consider this home.
Thus if you were in Philly for 24 hours there is so much to do, being the birthplace of this great country. At a pinch I'd do the following:
Morning: I'd start off in Old City to experience some true world history:
Lunch: Walk down from Old City activities in the morning to go get a Philly cheesesteak at Jim’s on South Street. Then jump in an Uber to:
-The Art Museum
-Go into the Art Museum and/or Barnes
-Walk around the Art Museum
Evening/Dinner: Walk back up the parkway, to Love Park and City Hall. From there swing back through downtown to Rittenhouse Square for some dinner, my favorite spot is Parc, but there are many more to choose from.
Finally, you'll need some sleep, but you will have hit the main parts of the city.
I think Philly is so underrated, being sandwiched between NYC and Washington D.C., but in my opinion, it offers so much more in many cases!
6. What tools or apps do you use the most? (For work, fun, wellness, anything really)
Google Docs / Sheets is KEY! I have to be organized with so much going on.
I love my scientific calculator app, as like to tinker away with the numbers across my other business and Bespoke Unit. I have a Masters Degree in Finance, so occupational hazard to think I'm good with numbers.
Oh, not forgetting WhatsApp to keep in touch with the family who are all back in England, and friends across the world!
7. What websites and magazines do you read regularly? What do you like about them?
Firstly Bespoke Unit, we are a small team but I love to read what the others guys are researching and writing about.
Aside from that, I follow several watch blogs, Tech Crunch, and the BBC.
As I'm on the computer all day, I try to read on paper as much as I can. I am subscribed to The Economist, Foreign Affairs, Cigar Aficionado, Watch Time, The Rake, and several others.
My carry-on bags are always stuffed when I travel with many magazines.
Aside from that, I like to read as many books as I can. It's amazing to be able to read a good book which condenses a lifetime of knowledge and passion into one handheld resource.
Currently, I have several books on cigars, rum, wine, whiskey, suits and watches I plan to read.
8. In the last few years, what decision have you taken that you feel proud of?
The best decision I've made was to hire a small team to work on Bespoke Unit, giving it the attention it deserves. We've had a few bumps in the road, but in our small team, there are rock stars especially Charles-Philippe and Harold.
With that being said, it has put an immense strain on me from finances to time, so that is something I'm working on.
Right now I'm trusting the team, vision, and process... All signs are looking great for the years ahead!
9. What advice would you give to your younger self 10 years ago?
The biggest lesson I've learned in business is: Go with your minimal viable 1.0 product/service.
A few times early on I got bogged down with making the "full bells and whistles" version and landed flat on my face. Costing too much time and money, for something people didn't want, need or been surpassed by a competitor.
I'm not advocating you compromise quality or integrity, but see if the market likes what you're doing and build from there.
Also, I'd say work less and focus on personal relationships more with friends and family. Life is short, money will come and go, but the one thing you can’t get back is passed loved ones, and missed life experiences.
If you've not guessed yet, this is still something I try to work on every day...
10. When you happen to feel down or unmotivated, what do you do to cheer up?
Go to the back garden of the house or balcony of my apartment if the weather is nice, or local cigar lounges if not and enjoy a premium cigar with a good magazine, book, or just watch some sport on TV.
I can get too in my own head, with a million things to do on the to do list, I have to step back sometimes.
I also like to call family and or friends to catch up and see what’s new with them. Talk about the good times we've had, plan future things, and just chat.
11. Where can folks learn more about you? (Social media accounts, website, etc.)
The main website is BespokeUnit.com. It is structured in to "mini" sites within the site, so feel free to poke around. We cover shoes, suits, cigars, watches, whiskey, travel, and more...
Thank you for reading! We want to especially thank Paul Anthony for helping us with this project.
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