Manoj Beekharry, 46, was born on Christmas Day, the sixth of seven boys, on the Indian island nation of Mauritus.
After learning bespoke tailoring as an apprentice from the age of 13, and making bespoke shirts for the European market for 15 years, he moved to Sheffield when his partner took a nursing job at the Northern General Hospital. Manoj spoke no English and barely left their flat for three months. He started learning Hindi, then English.
One day he took the wrong bus which led him into Broomhill where he saw Kelly Clarke’s mannequin in her new boutique window. She took him on as a tailor, trained him in bespoke evening, bridal and leatherware and eventually turned the shop over to him.
Manoj now runs a bespoke tailors, in-house personal stylist and alteration service making everything from barristers’ robes to hand-made 100% wool suits and silk shirts. He is opening a second shop in Harrogate.
Next door to my shop in Broomhill is this superb Turkish restaurant. When I first started working with Kelly I remember seeing this couple painting the premises and dropped in to see if they needed tablecloths making. I ended up making Faruk an apron!
He and his delightful wife Ruth have been such great neighbours and will cook my favourite dish, grilled whole sea bass, any time, to remind me of home. I love their fresh produce and meze selection with julienned vegetables to dip into home-made hummus, green salad, olives and the famous tomato salsa.
Everything in one place: shopping, the hospital, of course Lokanta and The York where I have been introduced to traditional British pub life!
I’m close to my best customers in Fulwood and Ranmoor and there is even a flower shop next door, where my customers can buy flowers for their partners after they have had their suits, dresses and shirts custom made to measure. I even love the students for the vibrancy they bring to the area.
I just wish they wouldn’t leave their takeaways all over the shop, literally.
I feel fortunate my good friend Raj has also taken me under his wing and introduced to some vibrant networks connecting me to some truly inspiring people who have become customers, ambassadors and supporters. I like the Broomhill Business Breakfast Club run at Westbourne School and BNI Soaraways
It’s full of great taste experiences with its wide variety of bars and restaurants on offer. I love going to Raj’s favourite place, Food and Fine Wine at Banner Cross.
I didn’t have alcohol growing up on Mauritius, but I am starting to appreciate the excellent choices Sheffield’s cafes, pubs and restaurants offer.
Designer Kelly Clark
She is the reason I am here today. I was standing outside her shop at the bus stop looking at the mannequin in her window when my friend told her mum I was a tailor.
Kelly believed in me, gave me my first chance in the shop and now I have taken over the shop and made it my own. We still work together and I owe her so much.
Hobbs at Meadowhall
The manager sent over several clients two years ago and I handled their alterations when I was working in the shopping centre. It was the break I needed.
I’ve been working with their top quality clothes ever since and appreciate the level of trust in our relationship.
I started going when I first came to Sheffield, from finishing work at 5.30pm, sometimes until 8pm or 9pm. Kelly used to drop me off on her way home.
I’d often go around three to four times a week. I love the machines to build muscle, running, the pool and the aerobics classes.
My friend Angela and I love to stroll on the beautiful riverside walk, feed the ducks and fish, walk on the Monsal trail and top it off at one of their tasty cafes.
You can’t miss the Bakewell pudding. Sticky and sweet with almond and jam. Delicious.
I have to end with my home nation. Next year I’m hoping to go back to visit for the first time in five years. It has been too long. I can’t wait to eat biriyani, see my mum, friends and family and then go the beach.
We’ll all be round the fire doing an amazing traditional dance called sega. The women all wear long skirts and tops, the men in shorts, T-shirts and big hats. This is my favourite thing!