Skip to main content

How This Former Banker Became a Trending Menswear Designer

Robert Pauley III, aka the Welthē guy, is fabulously wealthy, at least if you look at life the way he does: Where wealth is not just about money, it’s about happiness and feeling good. Pauley is the successful entrepreneur behind Welthē NYC, a dapper men’s suit collection and grooming brand; a thriving retail website, and the one-two punch of being both a tasteful designer and an authoritative influencer. His is the story of how one coat made all the difference. 

The Financial Times

Pauley’s resume was built in the world of finance, bringing a decade of experience at powerhouses J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley to the table. “I did a lot of jobs where I had to make presentations,” says Pauley. “I worked in change management and business processes. It was all about working with teams to develop process efficiency — both with people, as well as from a tech perspective — to solve problems and standardize processes.”

Related Videos


As a kid, Pauley loved men’s suiting and people getting dressed up. “I wanted that to be me! I liked movies like Wall Street and old movies with men in smoking jackets. I was fascinated with that world and when I had a high school internship at a bank, I always wore a suit. I loved seeing how people reacted and having the opportunity to ‘put some respect on my name’.” Even now he’s a fan of historical dramas like Peaky Blinders and The Crown. 

Pauley went on to college and did an internship in Wuhan, China, where he learned a lot about Asian culture. When he embarked on his professional career he was sent to Hong Kong, where he developed a taste for fine bespoke tailoring. 

“I started to get a reputation for my style, and always stood out. People would ask what I was doing there, and say ‘you should work in fashion.’ I had a good job with a great salary and benefits: What would take me away from that?”

Start With One Great Coat

Like so many of us, though, Pauley began to be concerned about his personal legacy. “I was doing all this work for great companies, but who is going to remember that I was here?” The answer presented itself. Pauley created a distinctive coat for himself, with a detachable fur collar. The coat was an immediate sensation, and before long he found himself taking orders to make the coat for others. 

His hobby turned into a side hustle and began to grow. He showed a small collection during Atlanta Fashion Week, where he was offered the opportunity to do an all-expenses-paid show in Chicago, Illinois. “I didn’t get quite the traction I’d hoped for, but in the process of making the samples, I realized — because I’m all about process efficiency — that I would be my own model, and made every suit to fit me.” Luckily Pauley’s trim frame, good looks, and ebullient personality are Instagram-friendly. 

“I first joined social media so I could keep touch with friends and family while I was In Hong Kong,” says Pauley. “I had maybe 150 friends on Facebook and Instagram.” At press time he’s grown @welthenyc on Instagram to nearly 7,700 followers and is utilizing all social media channels, including an engaging YouTube channel. He also hosts the My People podcast featuring influencers in business, fashion, and lifestyle. 

Portrait Orientation

The Welthē Guy’s compelling photography and video is also a driving force for his online presence. 

“When I started the business I needed to photograph the coats, so I bought a $2,500 camera but realized I didn’t really know how to use it. I ended up taking a $30 photography class from Groupon where I learned some basic concepts. Three months later I noticed that they were looking for a trainer for the same class. I applied and, because of my training experience, got the job! It was a great way for me to supplement my income while I started the business; and  teaching photography helped me learn even more about cameras and lighting.” 

When a job-seeking neighbor asked if he could borrow Pauley’s laptop, he noticed all the photography equipment and asked Pauley to shoot his headshot for him. Before long Pauley’s entrepreneurial mind hatched another concept where he partnered with a party promoter to do photo-booth style portraits at events. 

“I didn’t make a lot of money, but it was a great way to meet people. That led to other photography jobs, and I eventually scored one shoot that paid $10,000, which really helped supplement my income as I built my fashion business.”

This episode birthed another concept that’s become a mainstay of the Welthē experience. As a stylist, Pauley helps his clients transform their wardrobes. With Welthē images, he helps capture the metamorphosis. 

“You’ve spent time and money putting yourself together, and now it’s time to show off your new confidence. It’s like in the past when somebody would commission a painting of themselves. At first, I didn’t think men would be into this, but so many are! It’s a great way to spoil yourself and leave something for your legacy.” 

It wasn’t long before celebrity stylists came calling, but Pauley had no interest in giving clothes away. Turns out he didn’t have to. Music executive Damon Dash approached him. “He said he’d been following me and was coming to New York. I fitted him and made him six coats. Turns out he was wearing them during the time when he was in the media over child support issues. His picture was all over Page Six and in all the pictures he’s wearing my coat!” 

As a fashion collection Welthē NYC currently includes tailored clothing, from suits, coats, jackets, and trousers to shirts. The accessories collection includes ties, scarves, ascots, pocket squares, and shoes (He also has a few female clients). In building a lifestyle brand, Pauley has also introduced a grooming collection with fragrance, skincare, and a beard oil. Even before the pandemic, Pauley was servicing an international clientele with virtual fittings and appointments. 

“I almost get depressed putting on those standard medical masks, so I created some fashionable masks in lots of bright colors and traditional menswear fabrics to make people feel better.”

What could be next for Pauley? “I’m excited for what the future holds! Despite the pandemic, I actually found I had a prom business last spring, so I’m looking to develop a younger customer. I’m seeing that parents are not flinching at dropping $1,000 on a custom suit for their kids. I’ll definitely be looking to technology to see about selling live on social media. Otherwise, I am trying to grow. This business is not easy to scale because I’m doing all this on my own. My next step is to find people with the right skill set, because right now I’m running around like crazy. I want to continue to help people feel good about themselves. Being wealthy is not just about money. It’s about happiness and feeling good. For me, it’s about seeing the difference when my clients put on their new looks.”

Editors' Recommendations

Tall Paul and His Clothing Tips for Tall Men
Tall Paul mens fashion.

When it comes to fashion, we all have our preferences. Maybe we need wider shoes than the typical ones on the market, maybe we need pants with a waistline larger than what is typically found in stores, maybe we only choose certain color shirts because of how it looks on our complexion. I’m sure you can name other common ones not mentioned. What about men who need certain clothes because they’re really, really tall? It’s not an issue that you hear all that often, but it is an issue. This is where Tall Paul comes into play. Tall Paul is the leading tall men’s fashion blog in the industry. It’s a site that offers tips on how to make clothes fit your (insert tall man here) body better, seasonal style inspiration, and brand reviews. Click here for the ultimate tall men jean guide for your shopping and wearing peace of mind.
Who is Tall Paul?

Yes, there is a face and a whole tall human body behind the name Tall Paul. Paul is a 36-year-old male who also happens to be 6’7” tall and weighs 230 pounds. To sum things up, he’s a really tall, lean man that has faced difficulty finding clothes that fit him right since about the age of 12. The vision all started from the stress and anxiety Paul felt shopping as a teenager with his mom because he could never find any clothing. “This is really what started this vision of creating Tall Paul and creating a site to help others who also feel stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s depressing just feeling like we can't fit in, and it becomes such a burden when you go shopping,” says Paul. It would take Paul hours and hours in a mall going to stores and picking through every single piece of clothing, just in case one shirt or pair of pants fit him. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s to the point that Paul rarely shops anymore, once he finds something that fits him, he wears it for four years or so.

Read more
Apparel Brand Diop Crafts African Diaspora-Inspired Streetwear That Cares
Customers wearing the DIOP Top made from ankara fabric.

When Mapate Diop was growing up in New York City, his mother would regularly travel to her home country of Nigeria, bringing back to the States with her rolls of ankara, a popular fabric used in West African fashion. Diop’s mother would then find a local tailor to have custom shirts made from the brightly colored and patterned cotton cloth, which Diop would wear with pride. These garments made him feel special inside, and they also became a way for him to outwardly celebrate his heritage. But Diop knew he was lucky, and that for many people like him, that experience simply wasn’t readily available.

It wouldn’t be until much later that Diop would take this personal feeling – and its connection to a clothing item that represented so much to him – and turn it (with the help of an inquisitive friend) into a full-fledged business. Today, this sentiment still embodies the ethos of the Diop brand, which, with quality and comfort at the forefront, makes African diaspora-inspired streetwear. Formally launched in September 2018 by Diop and co-founder Evan Fried, the Detroit-based label has developed a loyal following and grown a culture of community that places a strong emphasis on giving back.
A Business Is Born

Read more
Inside Tentree’s Fully Biodegradable Fall Jacket and Sustainably Sourced Line
Tentree's fully-biodegradable Nimbus Rain Jacket made of all compostable materials.

Tentree's sustainably-sourced, waterproof Nimbus Rain Jacket.

According to an EPA Office of Solid Waste assessment, the average American keeps an article of clothing for about three years. When these old clothes are tossed in the trash, they’re either burned, contributing to climate change through carbon dioxide emission, or they end up in a landfill, where they decompose for about 200 years, emitting carbon dioxide and even more potent methane gas. 

Read more