I am honored to be featured in the June edition of Voyage Phoenix! I had such a nice time being interviewed by them. Keep scrolling to read the full article and find out about me, what I do and why I do it!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Zarob.
Mary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago and went to The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC where I studied Menswear Design. NYC was my dream and always wanted to live there. After graduating, I designed for Macy’s and Calvin Klein Jeans for 10 years. I enjoyed seeing my designs in magazines and on the gentleman around town. I loved shopping London, Paris, NY, Chicago and LA researching the latest trends. I left NYC and moved to Milwaukee where I was a designer for a local retailer, Bon Ton. I left corporate America in 2014, I moved to Phoenix shortly after and started selling custom clothing and being a personal shopping for men. After working with a couple other clothiers, I started my own business in 2017 and enjoy helping men find clothes that fit and look their best. It is all about my clients and being the resource for them and their wardrobe. I try to push them a little out of their comfort zone and dress for the next 10 years and not the last 5. Some of my clients wear a classic blue, white and grey wardrobe but the fit and performance of the fabric is so important. Men today want to look their best but don’t want to think about it. I enjoy helping them build a wardrobe that suits their lifestyle and needs. It’s a lot of fun!
Inanition to running my own clothing business, I am teaching a tailoring class at Phoenix College. I appreciate so much what my professors taught me at FIT and I am excited to teach and inspire the next generation of designers.
Has it been a smooth road?
Leaving NYC was a tough decision but I knew it was time. I wanted to try something new and when I moved to Arizona, I knew it was the right decision.
I was raised to be independent and if there was a problem, I figured a way to solve it. I apply this every day to my business. I am also blessed to have a large family (I am 1 of 8 kids). My parents, siblings and in-laws help mentor and guide me whenever I need a second opinion or advice.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Q. Contrary is a clothing business where I make custom made suits, jackets, shirts, and slacks for men. I also alter/tailor clothing and personal shop for clients. Most of my business is making custom clothing because my clients can’t find clothes that fit or they don’t have the time to shop. I meet them at their home or office, take measurements, design a wardrobe, deliver and fit the clothing to them. They appreciate my service, expertise, and convenience. I get to know them, their lifestyle, where they work and how they want to present themselves. I take to the time to go thru the details and understand how they want clothing to fit and what fit issues they have had. Each season I get a new collection of fabrics that are great for our Arizona climate and are trend right. A lot of my clients want to wear something unique and that you are not going to find at the department store. I recently starts making women’s custom jackets, shirts and pants. A lot of my client’s wives or girlfriends want custom clothing and now I can design for them.
I am most proud when I hear my clients getting compliments on what I have made for them. Knowing that when they wear my suits and shirts, they feel good about themselves and love what they wear.
My knowledge and experience is what sets me apart. I spent the last 15 years studying successful men and what it takes to be more effective in business. I help build a wardrobe for my clients that they will feel comfortable and confident in. I truly love what I do and enjoy helping men find clothes that fit and look their best.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Phoenix is a great city for what I do. There are not a lot of places for men to shop here and as a result, they all dress the same. A lot of guys don’t want to spend their free time shopping and have a hard time finding clothes that fit. Online shopping is great for something’s but when it comes to suits and dress clothes, they want to feel and see the fabrics. I often hear from men that they are happy they don’t have to do to the store because I come to them. Many times, I work with their wives or partners to design clothing for them.
My advice for someone starting out is study how people dress around the country and world because Phoenix is such a transplant city. Men bring their fashion and sense of style from where they are from and that will help you style your clients.
Custom Suits start at $1000 and go up depending on the quality of the fabric
Bespoke Suits and Sport Coats start at $2000 and go up depending on the quality of the fabric
Custom Sport Coats start at $850 and go up depending on the quality of the fabric
Custom Shirts start at $150 and go up depending on the quality of the fabric
Custom Pants start at $400 and go up depending on the quality if the fabric