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Ethiopia mission video
See video of Jonathan Smith’s mission trip to Ethiopia.
HOME TURF: Pleasant View community, Horry County
OCCUPATION: Owner of Bespoke Carolina
GREATEST MOMENT: It happened on a mission trip this summer: “Having an Ethiopian boy accept Jesus Christ as his savior to me personally.”
FAVORITE PASTIME:Spending time with his two grandchildren, Lane and Matthew Shane.
Jonathan Smith—aka “The Suit Man”— specializes in suiting up the well-heeled, especially athletes who want to look their best off the field. He’s been called a “tailor to the all-stars.”
Smith’s business, Bespoke Carolina, catapulted to sartorial stardom after he began outfitting Deion Sanders in the ’90s. With word-of-mouth advertising from “Neon Deion” and others, Smith built an impressive roster of clients, currently including Harold Reynolds of the MLB Network and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.
Known for his meticulous measurements —“bespoke” is, after all, a British term for “custom made”—Smith has outfitted NASCAR legend Richard Petty, former Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell and a bevy of South Carolina businessmen. His suits range from $800 to $1,800.
Not bad for a self-described country boy who works, with his wife, Mary, from his farm in rural Horry County. “I’ve been very fortunate over the years to love what I do and be successful at it,” he says. “I’ve been very blessed.”
He doesn’t mean just materially.
Deeply religious, Smith this summer took part in a Baptist mission trip to Ethiopia. After witnessing for Jesus, he asked one man, “What motivated you to accept Christ?” The Ethiopian replied, “When I saw the way you treated me and the way you loved me, and the way that you embraced me, I knew that the story of Jesus was true—it was true!”
Faith, Smith says, “goes beyond things that you acquire. If you know Christ, it’s a common thread that we can all join in and be a part of.”