Career tailor-made for custom
clothier fulfilling American dream
Paco Fernandez found his fit after being hired as a temporary employee in 1973 at the Custom Shop, which made custom shirts.
“I have been in the clothing industry for 45 years. I was hired as a temp for three weeks and it was the longest three weeks of my life as I was there for 28 years,” he said. “I went from sales to senior executive, learning the product and service, and ending up in charge of 23 stores before resigning to venture out on my own.”
In 1999, Paco launched Paco’s Custom Clothiers with a high-profile first customer that kept him busy for months. Fernandez offers hand-tailored, custom-made clothing for men and women designed for the individual.
“I was living in East Chicago at the time and former mayor Robert Pastrick was my first appointment,” Fernandez said. “He asked me about doing a PR (press release) and I had no idea what it was. I was on the front page of the business section and my phone didn’t stop ringing for months.”
Today, Fernandez and business partner Greg Vodovoz have 3,900 customers worldwide and travel to 19 cities. Fernandez does the front-end of the business: sales, fitting and marketing, and Vodovoz does the back-end of the business: tailoring and manufacturing.
As part of the Custom Tailors & Designers Association board, Fernandez has connections and access to fabrics from all over the world.
“We go directly to customers, to their offices and homes, and we just opened a showroom in downtown Chicago. I also have my showroom in my home office in Highland,” Fernandez said. “My biggest enjoyment is seeing customers smile and say they look amazing.”
For Fernandez, the success of his company has been a true American dream come true. Born in Mexico, he came to the United States in 1967.
“The beauty of my success is I only had three years of schooling and dropped out of high school,” Fernandez said. “I managed to become successful in this country and became a U.S. citizen in 2001. It doesn’t matter what business you want to go into, make sure it’s your passion and you enjoy it … everything and anything is possible.
“Here I was a kid with no schooling whatsoever to arrive in a country not speaking the language and I still became successful in a foreign country. Especially in the U.S., it is a country that gives you the opportunity to become anything that you want to become.”
Paco’s Custom Clothiers