Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Private Investigators Can Learn From Savile Row

‘Bespoke’ is actually a term from the 17th Century, when tailors held the full lengths of cloth on the premises. When a customer chose a length of material, it was said to have “been spoken for." … More than 20 measurements and figuration details are taken from the customer. Then a personal pattern will be hand-drafted and cut from scratch—not the basic, adjusted template pattern, as used by so many other tailors these days. Using your pattern, the cloth is then cut and trimmed, along with the finest linings and silks available. A single tailor is then given the parts of the garment to sew together, from the earliest fitting stages, to the final, complete suit. Each suit is completely hand-made, even down to the button holes.
                        - Thomas Mahon, Savile Row Tailor
Off-The-Rack and Made-To-Measure Investigations
There are several companies that provide off-the-shelf options for investigations. These larger “investigative agencies” offer pre-selected criteria, a pre-existing template, on which to base their investigations. These are usually database searches and they are usually based on outdated public records. A few of the larger agencies offer similar made-to-measure options where they offer a pre-priced set of services including limited surveillance, background checks, and minimal actual investigative work.
The problem is, these larger firms offer simple variations on the theme of off-the-shelf and made-to-measure services. These firms have size and resources, but they lack fundamental skills. Engaging these firms for investigations is like buying a suit from Men’s Warehouse. They may look impressive. But will their work hold up? These “investigations” are inexpensive and, like a cheap suit, they fall apart under stress and scrutiny.

Bespoke Investigations

The true professional investigative firm operates more along the lines of a bespoke tailor, a boutique style business that demands hard work and long hours. The cost is typically much higher, but the quality is assuredly superior.

It’s fairly clear to me what we, as investigators, can learn from Savile Row. The process of crafting a bespoke suit is not at all different from fashioning a scope of work for an investigation. Each situation, like each person, is different.

A bespoke tailor will visit with his client, get a sense of the person’s style and attitude. They will measure and craft. They will select tools and cloth specifically for the client. They will, in a sense, create a scope of work.

A professional investigator will do much the same. They will meet with the client, interview him and make notes, get to know the situation as much as possible. They will measure the options to craft a complete scope of work. They will select tools and methods specifically for the client. They will, in a sense, hand-craft a pattern for the investigation.

[FIND] Investigations’ Approach

We are a boutique agency. We spend time with our clients, hand craft a strategy, and assign one professional investigator to oversee each case. We pool our resources, our contacts, our combined expertise to create a scope of work that applies specifically to each client’s case. Each case is hand made, right down to the button holes.


  1. Before you hire any service, make sure that you only deal with licensed and experts. Hiring a private investigator is not a joke, it's a serious business.

  2. Heartily agree with the last comment. Hiring a professional investigator is serious business. Always ask for and verify credentials. That said, a license is the very minimum requirement.

  3. Another thing I find worth mentioning...Hugh Macleod ( made a business card for a small, boutique consulting firm. The firm's name is "Shit Creek Consulting." The card reads, "When the Big Boys fuck it up completely, feel free to give us a call."