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The Short Version: In Asia, many people enjoy having clothes tailor-made to their sizes and proportions. 9Tailors brings that service to the United States by offering men and women suits and other pieces designed specifically for them. Clients preparing for weddings and other relationship milestones can choose their fabric and style, and be fitted by the 9Tailors team for clothing that is a precise fit. The company often works with grooms looking for sophisticated suits to wear for their wedding day.
A groom-to-be in Boston sought a tailor to make a custom jacket just three weeks before his wedding in Aruba. He wanted to wear a sophisticated suit for the occasion but hadn’t yet found a jacket he loved.
So, he visited 9Tailors, a company that aims to make customized clothing services more accessible. He told owner Samantha Shih about his needs and the tight time frame, and then he asked if her team could have it ready in three weeks.
Samantha told him they could make it happen, though the company typically asks for five to seven weeks to construct a bespoke garment. Two weeks later, one of her co-workers emailed Samantha while she was in Hong Kong to say the groom-to-be’s suit still hadn’t arrived at the Boston shop.
With time running out, Samantha asked her Hong Kong tailor for help.
“My tailor told me he could ship the jacket to us in Boston by Saturday. We wanted to see if we could ship it to Aruba, but Aruba doesn’t accept international packages over the weekend,” she told us.
The 9Tailors team had the Hong Kong tailor ship the jacket on Friday, and it arrived in Boston on Saturday. On Sunday, a 9Tailors team member flew to Aruba and got the jacket to the groom in time for his wedding at 4 p.m.
“We didn’t want to leave him hanging. That’s the type of out-of-the-box, creative thinking we use for all our clients,” Samantha said.
That scenario demonstrates how far 9Tailors will go to deliver on its promises. Couples celebrating the most important days in their relationships can know they’re in good hands with the company.
Samantha spent the early part of her career in Asia, where she saw that it was common for people to have clothing custom-made. Tailoring services were also inexpensive, so people had clothing for both daily wear and special occasions personalized for their measurements and style, said Samantha, who also took advantage of those services.
“I loved having access to tailors because I’m petite, and I wanted to look professional with clothes that fit me. I like being creative in the way I dress, as well,” she told us.
When she moved back to Boston, she realized there wasn’t a similarly affordable tailoring service in the United States. So she decided to launch 9Tailors to connect American consumers with experienced tailors.
The company has been in business for 13 years and sees many repeat customers. Young men often come in to have their first post-college workwear customized, and then return to have a suit or tuxedo custom-made for their weddings. Many return later when they are promoted and want to revamp their style for career transitions.
9Tailors attracts so many repeat customers because the team answers any questions they have and even gives advice for clothing that fits specific body types.
“Most of the men who come here are open to suggestions and to being educated about style. We make an unintimidating environment to ask questions. It’s relaxed and warm, so people feel safe to try new things,” said Samantha.
Samantha said she explains the pros and cons of different fabrics and dispels confusion about them, including debunking myths about wool, such as that it is too hot to wear wool during warm weather. Wool is versatile and provides temperature control and breathability. It also expands and contracts, and remembers body contours.
The 9Tailors team also recommends less-traditional fabrics to clients, including bamboo. The abundant, sustainable plant requires little water to grow. As a fabric, it is breathable and antimicrobial, so it repels odors.
“When you get a good fabric, it will do the things you want it to do,” said Samantha.
9Tailors has worked with many men who need bespoke suits for their wedding days. The company offers different levels of wedding attire, from vests and less formal suits to formal tuxedos.
“Men do care a lot about how they dress. Some men want to look stylish and effortless, while others want to look very together and sharp. We’re making many of them the nicest suit they own, even after the wedding,” Samantha told us.
Customers seeking a suit for a wedding first meet with the 9Tailors team to answer questions about the garment. For instance: Does the client plan to wear the suit to celebrate other relationship milestones? Does he plan to move and dance a lot at the celebration? How much does he perspire?
The answers influence the fabric the team recommends for the suit, the style, and the cut.
Men are not the only clients who want to wear suits to their relationship celebrations.
“We have female-bodied clients who like to wear masculine clothing but can’t find suits and shirts that fit their proportions. They come to us, and we welcome all types of people. They feel safe and confident that the suit they buy will fit,” Samantha told us.
One client described their experience at 9Tailors in a testimonial.
“They are so professional, made us feel right at home, and was there every step of the way. She has countless options and her fabrics are all top-notch quality. We ended up getting a burgundy three-piece suit and it was everything we ever wanted.”
9Tailors helps people celebrate their relationship with perfectly tailored pieces of clothing, and they don’t have to purchase a high-end garment like a tuxedo or a suit. The company makes well-fitting shirts and casual blazers that people can wear out to a nice restaurant or for a celebratory photo shoot.
Women also purchase power suits that make them feel confident in the office.
The 9Tailors experience begins with an hour-long meeting with a style advisor, who will ask clients about fabrics and make recommendations based on their specifications. Five to seven weeks later, the garment will be completed and shipped back to the United States from Asia.
The client then returns to 9Tailors for custom fitting and alterations. Clients have 30 days to request additional alterations and can return the garment for a refund if they’re not fully satisfied with it.
This formula has worked well for men, women, and non-binary individuals who want to look sharp for many occasions. Customized garments aren’t typical in the United States, which is where 9Tailors fills a void in the market.
Samantha said 9Tailors plans to start offering more daily wear to help people return to the office in style once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
“We are going to start making jeans, chinos, and shirts in patterns or prints. We’ve been doing a lot of clothes that stretch. We think these will be a nice transition when people emerge post-COVID,” she said.