Nickel City Gritty: Bureau
Photos by Ryan Kell
I know for a FACT that I'm not the only one who thinks this, so please tell me if you agree.
A man looks the sexiest when he is wearing a quality, well-made, tailored suit.
Seriously, men, listen up. I will defend this to the death. When a man has on the perfect fitting suit and the confidence to back it up, it's game over. Actually the hottest thing ever.
Right now I'm putting out a call to action to all of the men of Buffalo: throw out those cargo shorts that you love so much (just a reminder that it actually made the news) and contact the guys of Bureau ASAP.
Bureau is a custom men's clothing shop that is ran by Joseph Stocker and Jon Eisenberg. I've been a super mega ultra Bureau fangirl for a long time now. They showed a few pieces at last year's Queen City Fashion Week, and as I sat at the end of the runway, I'm pretty sure that I didn't breathe for their portion of the show. I remember they showed this gorgeous maroon coat that I was LIVING for.
I met Joe and Jon for the first time when I conducted this interview. I was pretty nervous and didn't know what to expect.
Okay, so real talk. You know that new The Killers song "The Man"? These two are pretty much the walking embodiment of that song. They both give off this super crazy cool badass vibe, but at the same time, they are still warm, welcoming, and absolutely hilarious. I couldn't stop thinking about this song while talking to them. In fact, I added it as an extra bonus track on their playlist.
This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Joe and Jon of Bureau.
Tell me a little bit about how you started your business.
Joe: The baby started in 2011. I became obsessed with trying to get clothes that fit, so I began making things myself. That wasn't eye opening, I was just happy that I had shit to wear. But once I started doing it for other people, it started becoming easier to size someone up and see what would look good on them. From that point on, I wondered how I could do this on a bigger scale. I was doing it out of my kitchen, and Jon got to witness it. It was a smaller loft apartment, and it immediately made you comfortable. We would just put on tunes, hang out, and talk about how to make you the best fitting garment that you've ever had. It immediately removed the process of walking into a store, some fuckin sales dude talking to you, some coupon or some shit...all that was gone. It was just straight up, "What's up, who are you, who do you want to be, where are you going?" That approach to it was really cool. Fast forward to 2012 and it was really nailed down: the process was down, the fabrics were down, the tailoring was down. I thought, obviously, this was supposed to happen.
Jon: Joe and I had been buddies for a while, we worked together at the mall years ago. We realized maybe the things that we had learned working in a corporate mall setting, we could probably apply to this. Joe had made me a suit because I was going on a job interview in New York, and I was teaching at the time. While in New York, people were stopping me saying, "That looks great!" People are not friendly in New York and people dress really well, and I was getting stopped in the subway over the course of three weeks. When I got back to Buffalo, prior to the move, I was blown away by this piece of clothing. I was like, "Holy shit, he created this thing for me. Maybe I shouldn't be teaching, maybe I should be helping him grow this brand." It just unfolded very quickly.
Okay, so now here's where the fun starts to happen. I want you guys to each describe your personal style.
Jon: I'm definitely more of a jeans and tee shirt guy, but when I put on a suit I feel a little bit more confident. I do get a lot of my style inspiration from the Southwest: a lot of turquoise and vintage denim. In a suit it's completely different. I like fabrics that have a little bit of a texture. But at the end of the day, I look best in black, even though I would like to be wearing bolder things. There are ways to play up that. I've got enough shit going on with the hair and tattoos and the beard, so I try to keep it a bit more minimal. In the beginning, it was like, "Give me all of the shit!" Like an ice cream sundae with all of the toppings. Now just give me the chocolate with a little bit of whipped cream, that's fine.
Joe: Relaxed. A lot of our jackets are incredibly soft and there's no shoulder pads. Usually you pick up a jacket at the store and it's gotta have this giant fucking wad of something in there. People I admire, like Bowie or The Stones, didn't give a shit about clothes. It was them and it was who they were and it just happened. It allowed them to be themselves and be more relaxed. It wasn't strict and militant. I do like jeans and tees, but the suit just makes you feel good. I tell people that if they have a hangover, put a suit on. Go to fucking Wegmans in a suit, it's a different experience. I mean, don't put the whole three piece suit on with the cane and a fucking hat, but there's a really relaxed way to be consistently dressed.
"Give me all of the muffins...they're like pokemon."
Other than the standard issue things that you need to live (food, water, air, etc.), name five things that you can't live without.
Joe: I'll say records, but that pretty much just means music. Can I say weed?
You can say that, no judgment zone.
Joe: Okay, records, weed, coffee...a good robe...and pizza.
Jon: Alright, well I guess I gotta make some changes since you took all of mine. I can't live without music, that's for sure, I'll use that one. Number two, I'm a muffin freak.
What's your favorite?
Jon: I love all of them. Give me all of the muffins...they're like Pokemon. I had a friend growing up in elementary school, and he was from a "crunchy" family. When I was eight, I had an arcade birthday party and all of my friends came and they were giving me gifts and I was like, "Okay, sweet, a Ninja Turtle and a G.I. Joe and a Nerf gun!" This kid's mom wrapped up a dozen bran muffins as a gift for me and I was like, "What the fuck is this?!?" I was eight, come on! Bran muffins. So now I'm all about the french vanilla, lemon poppy seed, chocolate chip...have you ever had a Wegmans muffin? It's a sexual experience.
Joe: You don't unwrap the muffin, you undress the muffin.
Jon: Yes, you undress it...we should have got some! Also, I'm a big basketball fan. I really enjoy playing it and watching it. And just for the sake of keeping it interesting- the United States National Park Services. The National Parks, the monuments...I love all of it. If I'm going to vacation, that's what I look forward to. Look, if I could have both muffins and National Parks at the same time, forget about it. Game over. *laughs*
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Joe: I want to sing like Roy Orbison.
Jon: I'd like him to sing like Roy Orbison, too.
Joe: If I could do that, fuck all this shit. He has the greatest voice in the world. I've thought about that before. He's hugely influential.
Jon: I would really like to properly, REALLY know how to paint. Like, making portraits and landscapes and things like that. I love Picasso and some of the more abstract guys. I've messed around with things on my own, but I've realized that the painting side with creating something visual...I don't have that.
What is the best gift you've ever received?
Jon: Oh man, no one gives me anything. I'm more of the giver.
Joe: I got a drum set in fourth grade, which is pretty fuckin big. But in terms of like the crazy thoughtful holy shit gift? I got a Versace robe. That and the drum set kind of book ends everything, from fourth grade to now.
Jon: I guess the best gift I've ever gotten was advice. It wasn't anything tangible. My grandfather taught me how to drive, and it was the first time that I ever got behind the wheel. I was slamming on the brakes and slamming on the gas and not really knowing what to do, and it made this very uncomfortable jerky motion. He said, "Take it easy! Take it easy, just take it easy. Always just take it easy." I don't think that was a reference to just driving a car. Maybe it was because his life was at risk, but I think about that all the time. My nature is to get worked up over things, and if I could remember to just take it easy, that would be my gift from him.
What is one of your favorite smells?
Jon: Muffins. Fresh baked muffins.
Joe: I think I like maple things. Also Tom Ford Grey Vetiver cologne. It's insane.
Jon: Tom Ford figured out a way to bottle experience. It's pretty incredible.
Joe: So that and maple syrup.
Jon: Muffins and fresh air.
What is your spirit animal?
Joe: A penguin. Ever since I was a little kid I've been obsessed with penguins. I remember when MTV Cribs was on, and they went to fuckin Wayne Newton's house in Las Vegas, and that asshole had fuckin penguins running everywhere, and I didn't know there was warm weather penguins! Apparently, I can clearly get one! We should have a shop penguin. They seem chill. If animals smoked weed, penguins would smoke weed...for sure. They're just constantly stoned.
Jon: My animal would be a grizzly bear. Lumbering, loves to sleep, I eat a lot of blackberries, I think there's a temper in there for sure, but also protective of my folk.
What is the last thing you googled?
Joe: *checks phone* Oh god, oh no, this sucks that this has to go in print...
Okay, so what was the second to last thing you googled?
Joe: Alright, let me just see if the second to last thing is slightly more respectable. *starts laughing* Prison workout at home!
Jon: That's not bad!
Joe: I've never exercised in my life or attempted to, knock on wood I have a relatively decent metabolism. But the pizza and muffins catch up. I was watching Cape Fear the other night and fuckin De Niro looked amazing. I don't want to go to prison for 14 years, but what the fuck are they doing in there? It's a lot of dips...clearly, because I googled.
Jon: Okay, so this is so stupid. So this hurricane in Texas, Hurricane Harvey, and for whatever reason I thought that Hurricane Harvey was also a super hero at one point in time. So my questions was, "Was Hurricane Harvey a super hero?"
And the answer is?
Jon: No, it's just a bunch of shit about Texas.
What is on your bucket list?
Jon: I definitely want to go to all of the National Parks, for sure. I also want to go to space. That will eventually happen in our lifetime. I want to do that and I WILL do that.
Joe: I don't mean to be a bore, but I've never been a bucket person. I just worry about what I do every day. I've been lucky enough to get to travel a little bit. I just want to make good work. I've done, within reason, everything I've pretty much wanted to do.
What is currently on your playlist?
Jon: There's not a lot of really new stuff that moves the meter, but this dude Post Malone is incredible. I've been really into Afrobeat music and Nigerian stuff from the 70's. BUT, I've made a playlist recently of all the hip hop that I grew up with from the early 2000's. Brought me back to, like, Black Rob and Noreaga....summer always puts me in a hip hop mood. I'll go back to my sad bastard music once the winter comes.
Joe: I'm gonna give you my heavy rotation music...Dr. Dre Chronic 2001, there's this band called Love from the 1960's which was sort of the precursor to The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, The Last Shadow Puppets, the new Washed Out album is really good, and there's the guy named Leon Lowman who is just everything.
When do you feel the most confident?
Joe: Those 48 seconds when you put on a suit and check yourself out in the mirror and walk out the door and then you completely just fall to shambles when you get in the car and are like, "What the fuck?!"
Jon: That same answer but until I get the muffin...as soon as the muffin comes into play I shit the bed.
Joe: I grew up playing music, and I think that's amazing. That's a safe gang. That's the most confident. When you know you have three other people that think the same shit, drink the same shit, smoke the same shit, hate the same shit, like the same shit...that's pretty fuckin powerful to have. Just a bit of a gang mentality.
Jon: That's like cult leader mentality. Have you ever heard of Charles Manson?
Joe: Do you want to drink this Kool Aid? No, but seriously, either alone in the mirror for fuckin 23 seconds, when you feel good and are like, "I got this shit!" or if you have people that you know you can rely on that level. It's probably false because that means you are weak and need three other people. *laughs*
Jon: When I teach someone something, or explain something to someone and they really understand it and appreciate it...that's a cool feeling. When you spread an interest or information and someone really latches on, and then they fall down the rabbit hole of information. That's the most confident thing. When you can give someone a new interest, I suppose. Then they walk away and I'm like, "Yeah, I've got more of that shit. Come back for more, I've got plenty of it!"
What are your favorite bars and/or restaurants in Buffalo?
Jon: I love Dapper Goose. Great people and the service is awesome, food is amazing. That and Kuni's, same idea. They are hitting all of the check marks. I'm not too much of a bar person anymore. I'm tired of cocktails. I'm gonna say that, can I say that? I'm gonna offend all of my friends. *yells* I'M TIRED OF CRAFT COCKTAILS! I'm sick of it! I'm sick of your handlebar mustache, I'm sick of your monocle, I'm tired of it. Just make me a gin and tonic. I don't need kiwis, or syrup, or kombucha, or any of this weird wacko shit. I don't want curry in it or crushed Oreos or Tabasco sauce...just make me a simple drink. Just give me a beer. I mean, I'm all for people doing what they love to do, but it's not for me. So no offence, but all of the offence.
Joe: I love Kuni's and the whole experience. I love that you can eat there and still feel sexy after. The Pink, of course. Jon and I have been to Casa Azul a lot. Those tacos are like crack. Good drinks, never have to wait, the pork belly tacos are awesome.
What actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Jon: Okay, you pick me and I'll pick you.
Joe: I'm gonna compliment him!
Jon: We'll say it at the same time. 1...2...3...
Joe: Bradley Cooper
Jon: Mark Ruffalo
What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
Joe: Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, the cassette.
Jon: Rage Against The Machine Evil Empire, the cassette.
"SOme people smoke crack, I just like to eat Ice Cream."
If you could be reincarnated as an ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Joe: Perry's Cookies & Cream...and I would add chocolate syrup on top, straight out of the fridge. Like, an uncomfortable amount, to the point where I stir up the ice cream and it becomes a milkshake with cookies in it. Wait, I just got excited.
Jon: Haagen-Dazs Coffee. I have a sweet tooth, I don't know if you noticed. That shit it deadly. It gives you a little buzz, too. Have you tried that Lake Effect coffee one that they did with Public Espresso? That's a home run.
Joe: I do like coffee flavored things, I haven't tried that one or been there yet, though. I buy the containers and just sadly sit and mouth the entire thing. There's that other ice cream that I just bought and ate the whole thing, that healthy ice cream. Halo Top. It was amazing. It's 80 calories per serving, there might be four in there, so what? Some people smoke crack, I just like to eat ice cream. Deal with it. But now that I have this prison workout, I can burn off the whole thing!
The last question that I always ask everybody is what do you want to be when you grow up?
Joe: I don't want to grow up. Anyone who I've truly admired has kept some sort of childlike wonderment. They've managed to still be excited by little things, whether it's music or art. Some people seem like all they care about is work, and they balance checkbooks and shit. I mean, I want money in the bank, but that childlike wonderment. I have to have it.
Jon: Well, I can't be a velociraptor...I would probably say a mentor to either a friend or a son or daughter or lover or whatever. I've learned a lot from a few people in my life and I would like to do the same in the future. Whether it's learning from my successes or learning from my mistakes. Just being there for whomever. And I want to be rich as fuuuuck.
I just wanted to thank Joe and Jon so much for taking time out of their schedules and partaking in this crazy interview of mine, and thank you Ryan for snapping these great photos. Bureau is located at 830 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
Just look for the red door.