According to Tailored West founder and CEO Nanci Kezar, more than 85 percent of retail shops close within five years of opening — a statistic that both Kezar and Tailored West have beaten with resounding efficacy.
Tailored West officially opened for business in February 2013 and has been a community staple ever since.
Since she was a teenager, Kezar always has had a love of fabric and clothes though, ironically, for just about anybody but herself.
“It’s not clothes for myself that I love,” she said. “I’ve never been a shopper, I don’t consider myself a fashionista. It’s the fabrics and designing something that someone else feels confident and beautiful in no matter what their age, no matter their shape or size.”
Kezar and her employees have a motto, “Maximize your positives and minimize your negatives,” which they strive to help people achieve every day through their apparel choices.
Kezar initially began working out of her living room, specializing in couture items. Once her children were grown and out of the house, she set her mind to pursuing her dream of opening her own shop — something that came to fruition in 2013 when Tailored West opened in the St. Mary’s building at the Abbey.
Fast forward 10 years and several moves later, Tailored West stands at 502 Main St. and specializes in quality apparel (of which approximately 60 percent is made in-house) and custom fittings and adjustments.
Through the years, Kezar has developed a unique relationship with her 24 employees, many of whom have been with her since their days in high school.
“We’re very interested in what division of the business they want to challenge themselves and to grow,” Kezar said. “Everyone works in the alterations department to some degree … maybe they’re super interested in marketing or social media or maybe they’re interested in merchandising.”
Kezar has gone to special lengths to play to each employee’s strengths, and the business has done nothing but benefit.
“Everybody has an opportunity to express what piece of the business they want to take ownership in,” she said.
Those relationships were tested when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and the world.
“I told the girls, ‘If I lose you, I lose the business,'” Kezar said.
Together, they brainstormed ways to keep Tailored West afloat during a time when people weren’t leaving their homes let alone actively buying apparel. The first method to keep the business open was to take their entire inventory online — every piece of merchandise is now available at https://www.tailoredwest.com/. The second idea was to broaden the shop’s services, and Kezar started working on dye projects in her kitchen and dining room.
As part of her increased interest in dyeing, Kezar was led to pursue an expansion to Tailored West.
In May, TW Soiree officially will open for business alongside Tailored West. TW Soiree will focus on providing Fremont County with elegant evening wear in the form of prom/formal and wedding gowns, gala outfits, suits, etc and Kezar looks forward to the new addition.
“I don’t believe in fast fashion,” she said. “We’ve become known as America’s Boutique.”
Kezar has a bit of wisdom from Tailored West’s website that seems pertinent for just about anyone, not just fashion lovers.
“I encourage each of you to ask yourself this question if you are seeking happiness in your work,” the website states. ‘What did I DO, when I could do anything I wanted to as a child’ … that was your natural happiness then, and it will help bring happiness to your work now!”
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