Roshan Melwani of Sam's Tailor is possibly the world's most famous and Hong Kong's best tailor, having made suits for an impressive roster of celebrities and world leaders.
Melwani, 41, said he has carefully crafted his lifestyle so that he can lead his business, spend time with his family, and stay happy and healthy.
Melwani's daily routine includes waking up at 5 a.m., drinking six shots of espresso in the morning, practicing handstands and yoga, and working 12 hours a day.
Roshan Melwani likes to say he is the “walking persona” of his Hong Kong business, Sam’s Tailor.
Over its 60-plus-year history, Sam’s Tailor has built a reputation as a world famous tailor by providing stylish bespoke suits to an impressive roster of celebrities and world leaders — everyone from Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to celebrities like David Bowie, Russell Crowe, and Bruno Mars.
The 41-year-old is the third-generation proprietor of Sam’s Tailor. Like his father and grandfather before him, he works relentlessly — usually six days a week for 12 hours a day.
“There’s definitely a heritage,” Melwani told Business Insider. “To anybody, I would never say I’m a self-made man. I’m the rightful heir to my father’s hard work. I’ve used his platform to springboard into what I am now.”
Over the last decade, Melwani has rebuilt Sam’s Tailor to be a more modern enterprise, incorporating social media marketing and encouraging more fashionable clothing design. At the same time, he’s rebuilt his lifestyle towards being more healthy and happier.
That has meant taking care of both his body — giving up drinking, eating healthy, and regular exercise — and his spirit — regularly learning new hobbies like dance and yoga, and taking up leadership positions in his community and the local government.
Between his business, his many commitments, and spending time with his wife and three young children, Melwani has few free moments to spare. But he has a strong sense of responsibility for both the business he has inherited from his father and for his family.
“This company is my lifeblood. If I don’t take the responsibility to run this company, then I can’t ensure my future or my family’s future because my future is this company,” he said. “I’ve grown into that mentality.”
Step into a typical day for the world’s most famous tailor:
Inside the life of the world's most famous tailor
Inside the life of the world's most famous tailor
Melwani wakes up everyday at 5:00 a.m., even though he doesn’t open Sam’s Tailor until 10:00 a.m.. He has a lot of work to get to before he heads to the shop.
He starts his mornings by drinking a cup of okra soaked in water overnight because it is packed with vitamins and minerals and is said to lower blood pressure. “I don’t know if its an urban legend, but if it works great,” he said. He also takes capsules of Vitamins D and K and fish oil.
After his first coffee, Melwani starts on his emails from clients, many of whom will ask him to make new clothes based on measurements he’s taken in the past. “I have a plethora of emails to answer when I wake up,” he said. “I’ve got to get ahead of the game.”
After emails, he moves straight to working on his Instagram and Facebook pages. He uses the platforms to advertise his business, converse with clients, and post photos of happy clients and fresh suits. “Social media is paramount to my business these days,” he said.
He finds social media to be critical to his business.
Around 6:00 a.m. Melwani starts working out, sometimes in his living room and sometimes in a nearby park. As someone who sells clothes for a living, Melwani thinks its important that he represent his brand by looking good. If his kids have the day off, he’ll take them with him to work out.
He’s very big on trying new things like yoga or dance, saying that he prefers to be a “jack of all trades” rather than a master at one thing. These days, he’s trying to learn how to do handstands. “Some days I can kill it and some days I can’t,” he said. “But I believe that people will want to buy clothes from the 41-year-old father of three who can do stuff like that.”
Then it’s time to open the shop. Sam’s Tailor is located on the bustling Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Both Melwani and his father live with their families in the apartment building above the shop. “My clients always need me. They show up for me,” he said. “But I want to be close to my wife and my kids.”
Melwani’s workday is split between chatting with clients and suppliers, managing his consultants, who do most of the direct working with clients, and managing Sam’s consistent flow of mail orders from repeat customers.
Most of his work now is business rather than design.
Early in his career, Melwani worked with clients all the time, helping choose fabrics and taking measurements. But these days, he’s often too busy developing the business. He’s confident enough in the team of consultants he’s built that he feels comfortable letting them do the bulk of the designing. He still designs for top or longtime clients, many of whom often ask for suits in as little as 20 hours.
After lunch, his wife brings by his son, Riyan, to say hi. Everyday, the family’s nanny dresses Riyan in the exact shirt that Melwani is wearing. Melwani wears only custom shirts made by his shop. Whenever he has a shirt made for himself, he tells his tailors to make a smaller version for his son with the leftover fabric. The nanny decided on her own to dress him each day identically. “I guess it makes her life easier,” he said with a laugh.
In the afternoon, Melwani heads to get a haircut, which he does twice a week. “It’s not vanity in a negative way,” Melwani said of his efforts to stay fit and look good. “I don’t have $7 million to give to Tiger Woods or David Beckham. I am the face of my brand.”
He's the face of his brand, and he takes it seriously.
Once he’s done with work for the day, he heads upstairs to have dinner with his family. Melwani said that he used to be “very, very, very social” when he was in his 20s and early 30s, but after he had kids, his mindset changed. “I’ve been to a lot of mega-parties — they’re great — but I’d rather be with my kids,” he said.
He'd rather be home with his kids than out at a party.
Melwani said that because he knows so many people in Hong Kong, he “gets invited to everything,” but he tries to be very selective. During Art Basel Hong Kong, a major event when elite from all over the world fly in to buy and sell art, he felt he and his wife should be at the party thrown by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the biggest party of the event.
Melwani tapered back his partying after his first child was born, and stopped drinking completely six years ago. “I became the monk who sold his Ferrari,” he said. “But I need to lead from the front. My team, my father, my business, my clients, my family — they all demand that.”
Melwani is kind of like the mayor — he knows everyone. The LACMA party was full of people for whom he’d designed clothes. On the right is his longtime friend and the organizer of the party, Dino Sadwahani, wearing a suite Melwani made. On the left are longtime clients Ravi Rajan, the president of California Institute of the Arts, and Karen Hillenburg, who runs a cooking school in California and is married to Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants.
Melwani headed home from the party around 11 p.m. — though it continued deep into the night. On the taxi back, he started answering emails that had come in during the intervening hours. He was asleep by midnight, and up again at 5:00 a.m. the next day to do it again.