Like many people, I enjoy starting my day listening to a podcast. I alternate between my “Pick Six” NFL podcast to Dave Ramsey to “How I Built This” on NPR to some entrepreneur podcasts.
I was introduced Matt Gottesman’s podcast, “The Hustle Sold Separately” by a good friend about 6 months ago. I really enjoy his podcast and started adding it to my rotation. I met Matt a couple months ago at an event and he invited me to be on his show. I was so excited and honored to share mystory. This opportunity got me to look back on all my hard work, successes, failures and how I got to where I am today. At times I forget about my time in NYC or designing for Calvin Klein Jeans and starting my business. I focus so much on working hard and succeeding, that it was nice to reflect on where I have come from.
My journey started when I was young and learned to sew by my mother. We made Halloween costumes, clothes for my dolls, pillows, etc. All throughout high school, I read Vogue and W Magazine and was inspired by all the fashion and design. After high school, I went to community college in Illinois where I took a tailoring class. I loved everything about this class, that I took it twice. I was given an opportunity to work with a tailor and make suits and tuxes. When applying to The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, I decided to focus on Menswear Design since I fell in love with tailoring and men’s suits and jackets. I was accepted in the Fall of 2002 and never looked back. After graduating, I worked as an assistant designer at Macy’s designing their private label (Alfani, Tasso Elba, Clubroom, and Bar III). After a couple years, I left and went to Calvin Klein Jeans designing men’s knits and sweaters. I started seeing my designs in magazines and on men allover NYC. I stayed at CKJ for 3 years before returning to Macy’s. I kept in touch with my former boss, Nathan, and he offered me a job as a men’s dress shirt designer. Designing and living in New York was a dream and I loved every minute of it. I left after being there for 10 years and moved to Milwaukee because I wanted to be closer to family. The experience wasn’t a good fit and I was laid off. I was happy to leave and started helping the men of Milwaukee shop and look their best. I found a company called J. Hilburn and would use them to make custom clothing for clients if I couldn’t find their fit off the rack. My family in Phoenix wanted clothes and I started building my book of clients there. I realized there wasn’t a lot of places for men to shop in Phoenix and I saw an opportunity. I moved to the southwest in 2014 and Q. Contrary was born. I worked for a couple other clothiers before venturing out on my own in 2017. My family was a big support and helped mentor me. When I was at Macy’s, we always talked about the customer and what sold well and what didn’t. I made sure to always listen to what my clients needed or what they liked and didn’t like. I made sure to have the right fabrics, designs, and manufacturers that would fit my customers. I really enjoy getting to know each gentleman and their lifestyle, business, clientele, hobbies, how they want to present themselves, etc. I realized how important making the right first impression is and educating my clients on what to wear and why. I started hearing from them how they would get compliments on the clothes I made for them and how great it made them feel. I quickly learned how men today need to feel better about themselves and when they do, they go for the promotion, ask the girl out, give the presentation and are more effective and successful in business and life. If the client needs 1 shirt or 3 suits, I take the time to listen to them. I have learned building these relationships really helped me grow my business. When it comes to clothes, most of my clients do not like to shop. After listening to what they need, I narrow down the assortment and make it easy and fun for them to build a wardrobe. At the end of the day, it’s not about the sale but about listening to the customer and what his needs are.
I recently opened a store here in Phoenix. It was a dream of mine and the opportunity came up pretty quickly I had to jump on it. I am so blessed and excited to have a space my clients can come to and carry unique looks that are perfect for the men here in Arizona. My store, Q. Contrary, is located at 3188 East Indian School Road. I’m open every day but Sunday. Please swing by anytime need help with your image, want to custom design a look unique to you or just want to say “hi”. All are welcome.