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Bespoke Initiative

A Look Inside Carmel’s Grooming Speakeasy

Writer / Heather Hunter
Photographer / Justin Sicking

Spencer Evans, master clothier, and Andrew Kurz, master barber, are experts of their crafts.

“The title comes from the time you put in, and that comes from your drive,” Kurz says. It can’t just be a job. You have to want it. We’re qualified masters, but we’re still always learning.”

Kurz and Evans are the two-man team behind Carmel’s best-kept secret, Bespoke Initiative. Tucked behind City Center, the custom barber and clothing experience thrives on a community of in-the-know clients. Patrons visit for a haircut or a custom shirt and leave with a renewed sense of confidence.

“[Kurz] takes care of the neck up, I take care of the rest,” Evans says. “Put that together and it determines how people feel about themselves. As we like to say, look great, feel great, change the world.”

Bespoke’s master barber experiences include massages, facial steams or warm towels, an assortment of luxury products, and complimentary beverages. In addition to water and beer, Kurz is well-versed in bourbon and rye and keeps a varied stock on hand.

On the master clothier side, Bespoke offers wardrobe consultations and wardrobe buildouts, as well as custom suits, shirts, coats, jeans and shoes. Each piece of the final product is customizable, from the thread and buttons to any detail of the fit.

Although Bespoke began with a male client base, Evans has also branched into women’s wear. Bespoke’s line of custom jeans have been especially popular with ladies, who describe the fitting experience as professional, seamless and fun.

Bespoke Initiative was sparked on a Friday when Evans, now a military veteran, ducked into the barber shop where Kurz worked for a quick trim before a drill weekend. At the time, Kurz was about to leave for lunch.

“I turned around and saw this guy in a three-piece suit,” Kurz says. “I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll take another one.’”

As they talked, Evans and Kurz realized they shared a passion for building confidence in people. Both were also looking for a career shift.

“I was at a turn-and-burn corporation where you’d see different people every day,” says Evans, who has worked in the clothing industry since he was 17. “I just wanted to build deeper relationships with people.”

After the cut, Kurz and Evans planned another meeting to discuss the future. Over four hours of darts and bourbon, they hatched a business plan on a napkin that would later become Bespoke Initiative. Still tied to their corporate jobs, they put the dream on hold.

Then, in March of 2020, Evans got a call from Kurz.

“I picked up and he said, ‘Are you ready to jump?’” Evans recalls. “I was like ‘Dude, are you serious?’ But that’s how Andrew is. He’s always the guy to ask, ‘Why not?’”

At the beginning of July in 2020, they opened the doors to Bespoke Initiative. Aside from the plumbing, baseboards and counters, Kurz and Evans built out the shop by hand. Leather, metal, dark wood and unique art pieces mesh the old-world comfort of an explorer’s home office with the polished-casual luxury of an exclusive speakeasy.

“It’s the oasis that’s only talked about in a whisper,” Kurz says. “Carmel already has the mainstream shops. We love this city and we love the kindness of the people. We wanted to give them something they’d never seen before.”

Kurz and Evans have made charity a cornerstone of Bespoke. Inspired by Evans’ military background, they donate $5 from each of Kurz’s appointments and 10% of each clothing sale to organizations that support veterans. To date, they’ve raised more than $10,000.

Through membership in a local professional group called Synergize, they’ve also made significant donations to nonprofits like Fountains of Hope International, Bolt for the Heart, and DADCAMP.

Through giving back and caring for their patrons, the Bespoke Initiative team builds community. Those who enjoy the feel of a local speakeasy – one where the bartender preps your usual as soon as you enter the room – should pop in to see Evans and Kurz.

“If you want to hang out on the couch and have a conversation, do it,” Kurz says. “We’ve seen people laugh, cry, vent – we’ve even prayed over people. We want you to come as you are.”

Bespoke Initiative is located at 1051 Summit Drive in Carmel. To learn more or to book an experience, call 317-764-3441 or visit bespokeinitiative.com.

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