Joseph McCoy: Custom-made comes to you

Downtown Vancouver business Niche Wine & Art

Joseph McCoy pictured with Windermere Real Estate/Stellar Group agent Mike Lamb

McCoy, with his Texan southern drawl, sharp eye for style and a prior 25-year career in retail, has worked for Tom James for the better part of a decade. Tom James is a clothing company whose fine fabrics and custom tailoring have been around since 1966.

“Tom James is a private company,” said McCoy. “We own and operate nine manufacturing facilities in the United States and we have a woolen mill in Chile.”

The company has more than 100 locations internationally and over 500 clothiers help to provide the service. Their website offers testimonials from satisfied clients and features a short video of the anatomy of a suit and how the canvas’ structure under the lining matters more than the fabric on the outside.

McCoy is one of three clothiers in the Vancouver-Portland area and said that all of his clients come by referral or word of mouth.

“We can accommodate anybody for any kind of occasion, like business, formal or casual,” he said.

First, McCoy receives a call and sets an appointment to meet with a customer in an office or home. Once there, he proceeds to take 31 measurements and snaps photos of the person’s posture.

“I visit with the client or potential prospect and find out their buying habits and their fitting issues. I’m like a personal shopper,” said McCoy. “I ask questions, like what’s in your wardrobe now and what would you replace?” McCoy helps clients choose fabrics, colors, patterns and styles.

That information is then given to the Tom James in-house tailor. The tailor will take all of the customer’s specifications and preferences to create a custom-made garment, such as a business suit, dress shirt or tuxedo and ship it back to McCoy. McCoy will return the items to the customer’s home or office and do a final fitting. If any adjustments are to be made, McCoy will take the suit to the tailor and return it to the customer when finished.

Custom suits and shirt can be handmade in 4-6 weeks for as low as $699. When you factor in the time and hassle it takes for trips back and forth from stores, coupled with the outstanding personal service, McCoy said the expense is worth it for busy professionals who want a polished appearance.

“We provide a great service,” said McCoy. “We save you time and it’s all about relationships.”

Speaking of relationships, McCoy said he’s been able to rely on a trusting network of clientele throughout sluggish economic times, despite “some bumps in the road” during the Great Recession, As we navigate a period of economic recovery, he added, business in Vancouver is looking up.

“I’ve found that people are dressing up more because there is so much more competition out there and you only have one chance to make a first impression,” he said.

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