In 2012, I was laid off from my job. It was an oh sh*t moment where I literally had no idea what to do. It left me in a serious financial situation during the aftermath of one of America’s most tragic economic downfalls. I needed new interview attire, but the clothing I owned was baggy and outdated. I just didn’t have the income to refresh my wardrobe, but what I did have was time to learn how to sew. I taught myself to hem my pants, take my shirts in, and slim down my wide neckties.
Slimming down my wide vintage neckties really caught on with my friends. They urged me to sell them for extra cash while I looked for a job. Next thing I knew, I was peddling slimmed down vintage ties at flea markets. I decided to call the endeavor SKINNYFATTIES — a play on words mashing together skinny, fat, and ties.
Renting tables at flea markets got a little pricey, so I made a deal with a local vendor that was selling jewelry on the side of the street in Brooklyn. I asked if we could share the block, they said yes and even gave me pointers on selling to folks passing by. I did what I could to earn the cash I needed to afford rent. It was not easy, but I had no other option since the exhausting job hunt was simply terrible.
Soon after starting, my little operation was featured in Time Out New York. People loved that I was repurposing old outdated neckties. I began receiving requests asking if I could slim down their ties. I made a website and started receiving orders of ties shipped to my apartment. With each order I received, it was an adrenaline rush and there was no turning back!
I ran a promotional campaign with Gilt City in NYC and the service literally exploded overnight. That landed me features in Fortune Magazine, Details Magazine, Business Insider, Men’s Journal, CNET, Thrillist, and Gear Patrol and collaboration with countless social media influencers. Fast forward three years, I slimmed down more than 10,000 neckties for folks all over the world.
SKINNYFATTIES became a staple service for the style-conscience. As a trusted source for quality alterations, customers began asking if we could take up their pant and shirt sleeves by a few inches. That got me to thinking about how there was no truly accessible solution for alterations.
By the Spring of 2015, I fully conceptualized a remote tailoring service. I called this new venture Air Tailor and I’ll be fully honest: while I had the concept, I had no idea how it would operate or how it would make money. I just knew that I wanted to help my customers save a trip to the tailor with an affordable tailoring solution.
I hired a part-time tailor to consult with me on simple prep-from-home techniques that allowed customers to order clothing adjustments without ever stepping foot in a tailor shop. It started through text message — customers could simply text what they needed altered and I texted back something like this:
Air Tailor really took off! After one week, we were featured in Product Hunt and Esquire Magazine and later, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, and TechCrunch. This spike in traction led me to finding a co-founder that developed a sophisticated system routing orders to highly skilled tailors that I sourced all over the country.
Fast forward to today, Air Tailor has created the most convenient tailoring solution on the market for everyday consumers and fashion brands. We’ve altered thousands of garments for people all over the US. We’re backed by incredible investors who believe in our vision and have helped us hire a talented team.
I love sharing my story — it’s a testament to never giving up because where there’s a will, there’s a way. From all of us at Air Tailor, we look forward to serving you soon!