Recently, the King of Potatoes in Rijeka and the owner of Croatian most famous franchise “Surf ‘n’ Fries”, Andrija Čolak, introduced me to Damir Matešković, the owner of “Fidelio Tailor”, No1 brand of tailor-made handmade suits in Croatia and this part of Europe.
Damir and his wife Ines came from Rijeka to Zagreb, so I decided to take the opportunity to do an interview with a young gentleman. Not to talk on an empty stomach, I invited him to join me with Ines for Saturday lunch at Zagreb’s Michelin star restaurant Noel. I can’t call an entrepreneur who makes tailor-made suits to kebabs. I’m not an orphan. My arm is short but wide. We started modestly with a bottle of Ferrari champagne. New normal 🙂
We set off boldly with children’s joys. Bread and butter as in the good old days 🙂
You are owner of lifestyle Gentlemen’s shopa for men and 4Look beauty concepta for women in Rijeka, you are engaged in the wholesale of hairdressing equipment and tools, and two years ago you started a brand of handmade suits Fidelio…. You spread like a COVID-19. Is there anything else you do (import respirators, used F16…? When do you find time for all of this?
When you live in a small town, in a small market you have to be agile and adaptable. Small companies have the advantage of quick adjustment and rapid change of business direction, and as much as it is positive, it is also negative because you lose direction and focus on the development of a particular business segment. In any case, we are guided by that old peasant proverb which says: “Make sure that not all your apples are in the same basket”.
Why Gentlemen’s shop and why Fidelio handmade suits when we have so many beautiful Chinese clothes around us? What does Fidelio mean anyway? Why that name? Did you finish some hairdressing /tailoring school or did the fact that you have almost 2 meters and you can’t find your confection number anywhere make you buy your first sewing machine and go into business? Admit in front of everyone that you would like to be short like me and it will be easier for all of us.
I’m a big fan of Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.” In the film, the word Fidelio was the code to enter a secret party under masks. I organized a similar party, in fact a copy of that party from the film, in Rijeka. Fidelio is the title of Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera. In the opera, Fidelio is a woman who disguises herself as a man to save her lover. FIDELIO (lat.) TRUST OR BELIEF (eng.). A name with a strong and deep meaning, especially today when no one trusts anyone!
I was not educated in the direction of hairdresser or tailor, but I admired these traditional crafts. I have been living hairdressing for more than 15 years through running a salon and collaborating with top hairdressers, and my love for men’s fashion has always been present in my life. Because of my body size and the need to look different, I have always had a problem buying commercial clothing and I have noticed that there is nothing in the menswear market that can be personalized to your own measurements, desires, needs, lifestyle and stylist advice to help you make your decision and inform you about the details and rules of masculine style. That’s why we launched Fidelio!
We took a short break for a modest appetizer: steak tartare, strukli Noel and roasted goose liver with figs. I wanted to make an impression. I know that now when Damir returns to Rijeka, he will immediately tell my friend Andrija: “Dear Leader Joe spends more than Kardashian sisters together. He is so rich and successful. Real freemason gentleman.
Are Fidelio suits reserved only for wealthy people like me and Donald Trump or anyone can afford it? Why would anyone pay more for a handmade suit and how much does this whole story cost? I sincerely beg you in front of these poor people to sell me a handmade story or I will leave my entire salary in H&M tomorrow. There is some charm in the fact that when you buy a jacket, you shorten it a little more at home with scissors and sew that button that hangs. I love when I can give the suit my personal touch. Are you offering me a similar experience?
Fidelio is designed as a niche brand of tailor-made garments, with handmade, top-quality Italian and English fabrics, focused on customer satisfaction. Our professional stylists dedicate time to listen and understand the wishes, needs and habits of the client, but I must also emphasize that we take into account the body structure, irregularities that we need to reduce, choosing color shades that match skin tone, hair color and many more details that affects on good appearance. All I have listed is a wonderful experience and we at Fidelio always say: “You do not buy goods from us, you invest in the experience, the pleasure of designing your best suit that will be the crown of your wardrobe!”
Of course, everything I have listed has its price, but it is small considering what the Fidelio client gets. Given the quality of materials and craftsmanship and complete personalization, Fidelio can not be cheap, but it is not expensive and can be afforded by everyone: from people who want to look great for special life moments such as a wedding, to people who need to wear every day suits for business purposes and their goals are a sense of comfort and professional appearance because ultimately the suit does not make a man, but leaves a first impression that is difficult to change later.
You make both men’s and women’s suits to measure. Do men or women buy your suits more and do some famous people (read: influencers like me) also wear your suits? I am superficial and such information is important to me. If it’s good for Trump and Kim Kardashian, it’s good for me too. In a word, do you sell a touch of snobbery with Fidelio?
Fidelio was designed primarily as a men’s brand, but today suits are part of women’s fashion and more and more women love the feeling of power provided by a top-tailored suit made to measure with the highest quality fabrics (without plastic), so we decided to include women’s tailor-made suits.
Sanja Lopar is one of the ambassadors of Fidelio tailored women’s suits and our Eudaimonia project, and this exceptional woman is at the very top of the European cigar scene.
Our only male ambassador is the singer Marko Tolja, because this man lives everything he does and with his performances he perfectly represents what the Fidelio brand itself is, and that is Eudaimonia!
I believe that this term (Eudaimonia) will Google a lot after your article because it is the life philosophy we strive for.
Tell me about your Italian fellow stylist Andrea Terzi. How did the two of you meet and start working together? Why couldn’t the stylist be some local Croatian redneck guy? What does an Italian have that a Croat, a patriot, does not have?
Andrea Terzi is an Italian from Verona who has this job in his blood because he learned from the best, from his father who passed on his knowledge and love for men’s clothing. Five years ago, he went his own way and decided to open a store in the center of Rijeka with the idea that as an Italian he would succeed in a city that has enjoyed the Italian way of life and fashion for the last hundred years because it is common knowledge that people from Rijeka love Italy.
We met in his shop in the center of Rijeka where he had a store of commercial men’s goods, and when I saw how this business lives and his approach, knowledge and skills, I realized that he was wasting time in a commercial store. I can say that we were attracted energetically and through spontaneous socializing we became friends with similar life values and love for men’s traditional clothing. I shared with him the idea of launching the Fidelio brand theme and offered him the role of stylist and co-star in the future. We are now together in that story and I can say that we learn a lot from each other and that Andrea is an important person in the development of the Fidelio brand.
Italians know the beauty of enjoying life, they have a culture of living, they love beautiful things and they have an eye for fine and beautiful, it is indescribable in words, it is vibration and passion. Unfortunately, we Croats do not have that emotion and culture of life that they call DOLCE VITA (sweet life) because our history and culture of life is completely different. That is why the stylist of the brand Fidelio is Andrea, and some local Croatian guy 🙂
In addition to business suits and tailor-made wedding suits, you offer customers tailored vests and shirts, tailored coats, tailored shoes, and soon custom-made jeans and sneakers. Do you have competition in Croatia or have you decided to be a tailor-made monopolist?
As I pointed out before we are a niche brand, we are interesting to people that looking for something special and different, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be something relaxed and casual. We could not focus only on tailored suits and shirts because there is competition in this segment, and the crisis situation has led us to expand the range, so we expanded the offer to other segments of men’s clothing such as shoes and sneakers, casual pants and jeans, coats and rain jackets, and fashion accessories.
As the conversation progressed, my extravagance increased. I said to the kind waiter: “Give me something most expensive, give me a bottle of Slovenian wine!”
Soon the main course arrived. Ines ordered an appetizer again because she liked the steak tartare. I took fish en papillote with vegetables and fish sauce, and Damir a warm meat pie with beans, blood sausage and cabbage. If I continue like this, I will need a tailor-made suit after each meal 🙂
Your wife Ines, who is a lawyer and sommelier, also works with you. How did you meet? Did you click on the first one? Was she a Gold Digger attracted by your business success, or was she an impregnable fortress, so you had to knock on her door for days like a Jehovah’s Witness and offer her a free haircut in the salon so she would say YES to you? Do you make business decisions together or is it your last because you are much taller than her?
We met in a typical outing, old normal. We didn’t like each other on the first or the second. She actually wanted to take care of her girlfriend, and the first thing I noticed about Ines were here bad strands. Professional deformation. Something eventually kept us together though and now after eight years we are married. I always choose special and unique energies, and that is exactly what it is, and I believe that we were created for each other. I’ve never won girls with free hairstyles and expensive gifts, and she’s not a person who would fall for such a approach. She is a great support to me and my mind filter when I’m making business decisions so I can say that without her things would have gone forward, but much more slowly.
I have to emphasize that I encourage her to think entrepreneurially because it is the energy that drives her. Ines launched her brand in the world of wine, called Vinum Amoris (Love wine). I believe that this interesting story will find a place on the Flash.hr because it has great potential with a good example of how beautiful and successful business stories are created out of love.
Ines is from sommelier circles, so she was immediately recognized by Ivan Jug (owner o Noel and famous Croatian sommelier). I tried to explain to him that this was a romantic photo for a young married couple, but Ivan didn’t let himself be driven away. He put on his famous Joker smile and this is how this anthological photo was created.
Ivan later asked me to inform Covid Police that Noel was complying with all epidemiological measures. I told him I would call them, but he didn’t believe me. He made me take a picture of him and send everyone a picture as proof. Ivan Jug aka RoboCop 🙂
Taxes are high, we have a corrupt judiciary… What hinders you the most in business and what would help you do your job better or do you not care because you have a parlament party card?
Taxes are high in all developed countries and this is not a problem as long as we know that money is being returned and invested in our community. Corruption, arrogance and irresponsibility are cancer or rather a weight that every Croatian entrepreneur carries, and it extinguishes in me every desire to try harder, harder and better… let’s talk better about positive topics.Do you have a store in Zagreb or do you plan to open it soon? Do you think that business can be done only in a small area like Rijeka or all the roads lead to the metropolis? How can we in Zagreb try on and buy your suits?
Today we are all connected and the work can be done remotely, but what we do is specific because we offer emotion and experience, so we try to provide it to our clients from Zagreb. That is why we regularly come to Zagreb, where we work in the Sky office Tower, Zagrebacka avenue on the 14th flor which we arrange for our occasion in our showroom where we take measures and arrange a rehearsal test with our clients.
Is the interview for Flash.hr and the congnition that Dear Leader Joe will wear Fidelio suits, the highlight of your business career and the realization of all of your provincial dreams? If not, agree that it is, but convincingly.
Of course, how different, I’ve been waiting for this interview my whole life 🙂 You have to try that emotion of a tailor-made suit and feel the love we invest in the Fidelio brand. I hope this interview is just the beginning of our new business career in this market. I want people to get to know the tailor world and to afford a tailor-made suit at least once in their life, because it never goes out of fashion, unless you gain weight 🙂
Where were you in 1991.?
I don’t remember well, I was a kid, but I probably dreamed of success like any kid of the nineties.
Rijeka, Gentlemen’s Shop, Žrtava fašizma 2a
Autor: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader Joe aka Vin Diesel for poor people – a self-deprecating spell thrower from Croatia, a corresponding member of the magazine “Second-hand stores for all, tailor-made suits only for them”, a friend of the wealthy, first a man, and only then a tycoon and Gastro Snob.