Supply & Advise, a military and Ivy League-inspired men’s clothing store, is a genuine experience in quality garments and quality customer service. Located near Wynwood, the store is expanding and will be opening its new branch downtown. The building is restored to look like the store did in the 1920s. The Miami Hurricane sat down with the store’s owner, UM graduate Jonathan Eyal, to talk about style and the shop.
The Miami Hurricane (TMH): What was your experience at UM?
Jonathan Eyal (JE): My major was finance and international business. I am able to apply this to a great many things. As this is retail, having a background in finance certainly helps. I feel that it was an excellent education. I loved UM because it’s one of those schools where you can interact with a lot of people from all different countries and all parts of the United States. That excites me about Miami; I think we are, in recent history at least, what used to be considered a Latin city, but more and more, you see some degree of diversity.
TMH: How did your interest in style begin?
JE: My father immigrated, penniless, to the United States in 1968 and started working for his uncle in the garment industry. My father became very successful and built his own company; he was always impeccably dressed for work. I remember the pride that he took in dressing appropriately for whatever the occasion – it was always something he impressed upon me. He gave me this kind of hard-working mentality; it developed a passion in me for quality.
TMH: What made you want to open a store?
JE: I had to travel a lot in my previous job and so I was ordering a lot of clothes online. By the time I got around to return things because they didn’t fit or because they weren’t what I wanted, it was too late. I got very frustrated that in a huge city like Miami, you weren’t able to find brands that were trendy or from gigantic fashion houses that focus a lot more on advertising than they do on quality construction of clothing. I saw a void that needed to be filled. I wanted a change in career. My father worked in the garment industry, so it’s something that felt very natural to me.
TMH: What was the inspiration for the military theme of your shop?
JE: I have always loved military history. My dad always said to me, “look at how that war was fought by so many immigrants to America – they all came together.” A war forces citizens from all sorts of different backgrounds to come together in a way that would not occur in normal society. So that’s a big philosophy of our shop. I view us as fighting a battle to help men dress well.
TMH: How did you come up with the name Supply and Advise?
JE: During the Vietnam War, someone from the press had asked, “What is our role in South Vietnam?” I believe it was Kennedy, although it may have been McNamara or another political official or general at the time, who said, “Our role is strictly to supply and advise the South Vietnamese. We will supply them with equipment and we will advise them on how to use that equipment and how to organize themselves into what we would call a ‘modern army.’” That’s our objective – to supply and advise the customer. We offer men of all ages an outlet for something different and advice on how to employ those elements that they are buying.
TMH: Your store carries top quality, mainly American-manufactured goods and clothes. These items cost more than a lot of people are willing to spend. What is your argument in favor of spending more for quality?
JE: If you buy quality the first time and you take care of that piece of equipment – at the end of the day clothes are pieces of equipment – it will be there to serve you, whether it’s for business or for pleasure. If you buy right, you won’t have to buy multiple times. You can say, “I know this white shirt is probably significantly more than I was thinking of spending, but it will be the only white shirt that I will need for a long, long time.”
TMH: What would you say to people who do not care about dressing well?
JE: Putting on clothing that looks good makes you feel a certain way that is not quantifiable in dollars. Being well-dressed affords you a sense of confidence – it influences the way you behave, the way you treat other people and your outlook on the world. You only get one chance for a first impression. You never know when your next employer will be around the corner, or someone you want to start a business with, or the love of your life – 150 percent true.