Though Manhattan seemingly has a tailor squeezed in to a laundry shop on every other corner, you can generally forget hospitality, much less reliability. An experience at any given location can range from slightly disappointing to somewhat nerve-wracking to absolutely maddening! (They brought the waist in so much on my favorite dress that I now require a corset. SOS.)
With its launch in 2017, Shopboy has succeeded in shifting the traditional tailor shop narrative: not only is it refined, but it combines beautiful (and consistent) craftsmanship with an elevated brand. Oh, and a tumbler of small-batch bourbon served from a Waterford crystal bottle as you get measured? Check.
Customer service reigns here. Shopboy is single-handedly redefining the tailor service to be one that proactively helps people make decisions, such as: Should I buy this? Should I keep this and alter/repair it or just donate it? Why buy new if I can buy second-hand and have it fit perfectly?
They’re also focused on building personal relationships with their clients. Founders Desmond Brooks and Kendall Khanna understand that a person’s interests, along with what they do for a living, impact what they wear and ultimately how they see themselves.
“Clothing can be very personal, even emotional, for people,” says Kendall. “If our customers know that we get that, they’re more likely to entrust us with their garments and develop a loyalty to our brand. It’s like a partnership.”
And that idea of partnership is threaded throughout their business: Kendall and Desmond are not only business partners, but life partners as well, giving new life and a modern face to the idea of a “mom and pop” tailor shop.
The shop itself is lovely and cozy. An antique sewing machine figures prominently near the entrance (a hand-me-down from Kendall’s Indian great-grandmother). Other antiques dot the space, all sourced from a Brooklyn-based antique store called Adaptations—because, after all, Kendall explains, “It’s also so important to further the lifecycle of furniture and decor, just as we should with clothing.”
At the core, everything they do is about sustainability. Through both alterations and repairs, Shopboy extends the life of garments by making them wearable when they otherwise would have been thrown out or given away.
“We inherently create an ethos of mindfulness because we get people to start asking questions about their clothing,” Kendall shares. “And when you start asking things like, Should I keep this? Should I buy this? Do I need to buy something new or can I make what I already have work? A sustainable mentality—which translates into every part of your life—is what follows.”
Words by Leanne Shear