In 2010, after 40 years in the traditional brick and mortar retail store, I decided to go out on my own and start a men’s custom clothing company. I’ve always loved the idea of custom, to own something no one else has.
Because women drive the men’s business, it was no surprise when meeting at a client’s home the wife or girlfriend was usually present. What began as a meeting to pick fabrics for my client turned into a discussion of why I didn’t have anything for her. Women loved my men’s shirt fabrics and they wanted to buy them, so in 2012 I launched Beg & Borrow shirt dresses.
I still have a full men’s custom clothing line with custom suits, sport coats, dress shirts, trousers and in September 2016 I began selling Beg & Borrow custom jewelry that compliment the shirt dresses.
Because each shirt dress is custom, I can change the shirt dress into a custom shirt just by making it shorter. We can make the shirt dressier by changing the button cuff into a French cuff with your initials on the cuff. I have some women clients who only order custom shirts with French cuffs to wear over dress pants.
Most of my shirt dress business is done at home shows. When women find something special they seem to like the idea of sharing it with their friends. Either that, or they or just looking for a good reason to have a glass of wine. I’ve started a monthly get together at my space on Flicker Street where existing clients bring a friend and enjoy a glass of wine, usually some cake and always Shotwell caramels.
In doing my due diligence, I learned that women love shirt dresses but getting them to fit was another story. I tried for 2 years, using my wife as a model, to come up with a shirt dress that fit. At one point my wife began running from me when she saw me coming with another shirt dress to try on until eventually I got it to fit. Now, she wears them every day to work.
Because it’s custom, it’s hard to translate the custom experience over a website. I truly enjoy working with each client to see the expression on their face when I show them hundreds of fabrics to choose from, buttons to choose from, stitching colors, monogram choices, pocket choices, etc.
My shirt dresses are flattering and sexy, without trying too hard. Nothing is sexier than a girl wearing a man’s shirt around the house on a Saturday morning and basically my product is just that. All the fabrics I use are from my men’s custom shirt line and from that I create a shirt dress just for you. The length you want, maybe you would like a flannel for the fall, or a cotton check fabric that’s your school colors with your monogram on the pocket. You create it and because you create it your name is embroidered in the back of the collar. My shirt dresses are made custom one at a time, no mass production. The simple things you do to model your shirt dress ensures that you are the only person in the world with that exact shirt dress.