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Entrepreneur: Trester Tailor wants to see ‘a big smile’ on customers’ faces

October 29, 2018

Describe your business.

I provide quality, affordable alterations and repairs on both men’s and women’s clothing.

What’s your title?

I am the owner and sole proprietor of Trester Tailor.

What drove you to launch your own business?

When I moved to Rochester, there seemed to be a lack of jobs for my skill set. I saw a void I could fill by opening my own shop, and it’s something I had fantasized about doing for many years.

How many hours do you typically work in a week?

It varies based on the season. During the busy months in the spring/summer when it’s wedding and prom season, and when the seasonal wardrobes turn over, I can easily log 60 hours a week. During the slower times in the dead of winter, closer to 40. I know some tailors that will work themselves to death during the busy times. I try to keep a good balance to avoid burnout, which happens fast in this business.

How many employees?

It’s a solo operation. I’d love to have a helper in the shop, but it’s not the easiest business to find someone qualified.

When did you start your business?

I started Trester Tailor in Rochester at the very start of 2017. But I’ve been doing tailoring for over 12 years.

If you left another job to start this business, what was it?

Prior to moving to Rochester in 2016, I worked as a pattern maker for Allen Edmonds, a men’s shoe company in Port Washington, Wis. I miss my old co-workers every day.

Do you work elsewhere in addition to the time you put in at your business?

While Trester Tailor is my main paid gig, I’m currently working on organizing an indie craft show in Rochester called Ritz Crafters. It’s a fun project that will keep me very busy during the winter months. The next show will be on February 9, 2019.

What sacrifices did you make to launch this business and to keep it running?

The good thing about the tailoring business is that there’s not too much of a capital investment needed to get going. The biggest thing you need is the knowledge base on the myriad ways garments are constructed. So for me, the biggest sacrifice was risk — signing a lease, opening up shop, and hoping for the best.

What is the best thing about owning a business?

Calling the shots!

What is the hardest thing about owning a business?

Managing people’s expectations. A big part of what I do is helping people understand how the tailoring process works.

What’s your hope for your business in the next year?

There’s a big construction project on Broadway that’s supposed to start next year, and last for two years. I hope that people will continue to put up with the rigmarole to get to the shop during construction.

What inspires you to keep doing it?

Making people feel good in the clothes they wear. When someone tries on a garment after it’s been altered, and they have a big smile on their face, that is a special moment. It’s also a similar feeling when I repair items that have a lot of sentimental value. It’s always great to breathe new life into something special.

Knowing what you know now, would you do anything different?

The one thing I would have done differently is started saving for retirement earlier. It’s never too late, but man I wish I would have started 10 years ago.