From branding to alterations, Son of a Stag owner Rudy Budhdeo knows denim.
For Rudy Budhdeo, owner of the London boutique, Son of a Stag, his retail mission is to put product—not price—first and foremost in the minds of consumers. And it’s a philosophy that Budhdeo, himself, embodies. As a brand consultant and global management expert with 30 years of industry experience, Budhdeo specializes in growing business bottom lines while developing products that can set them apart.
For Son of a Stag, that means hard-to-find brands, exclusive products and services, like denim alterations, repair and chain-stitching. In 2019, Budhdeo introduced a new chapter to his retail story with Solider Blue London, a new shop dedicated to giving old denim a new lease on life.
Why are you drawn to denim?
I have always had a fascination with denim. I experimented with it from a young age to the point that my mum used to keep gallons of bleach to clean the bathroom after my experiments, which were almost a daily routine.
What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome as a retailer?
We consult for different brands and are involved in everything from the concept and planning stages, to design. to wholesale and distribution, to retail. The hardest part of the whole cycle is predicting trends for the forthcoming seasons, as we have to place orders approximately six months ahead. We are fortunate in that we have been trading for 26 years now with a lot of successful experience.
What do you wish you would see more of from denim brands?
We have opened a new store which is called Soldier Blue London, located about a four minutes’ walk from our original Son of a stag store and it is full of beautiful vintage machines specific to the denim industry. The machines are worked by a team of highly skilled denim tailors. One of their main projects is to upcycle worn garments, to give them a new lease of life and make them look even better that when they were first made.
I wish there were brands that did this better than they do currently, as they tend to make new jeans and then destroy them and then repair them, which defeats the whole purpose of being environmentally friendly. Much better to buy pre-loved garments and bring them back even better than they were at the beginning.
Why do you think your customers return?
Nowadays, it is the full package of offering outstanding products and offering an exemplary service with great product knowledge and honesty.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
Denim is always exciting to me, but we are at a real crossroads where there are new challenges for the industry—from consumers wanting to buy ethically made products, to ways of manufacturing to prevent harm to the environment, to upcycling. More and more of our customers not only want to look great but want to know about the manufacturing process and other issues.