There is something to be said about a finely crafted suit. It can turn any man, young or old, into a more sophisticated and classy gentleman, no matter their background or stature. For many years now, there has been only one truly dignified retailer that has provided affordable and sensible suits, sweaters, tuxes, and other men’s fine apparel, and that is Men’s Wearhouse. Men’s Wearhouse has the ability to give men everywhere the chance of having fine designer apparel in their wardrobe or for their big event without having to spend the crazy designer prices. With its over forty years of business, the company has seen quite a history in the industry, and that is why we are here. Today, we are going to reveal the top twenty things that you more than likely didn’t know about the retail giant, and why it has been so successful for so long. With all of that said, let’s take a closer look at the company.
1. The Journey Began Four Decades Ago
The story of Men’s Wearhouse began back in 1972, when founder George Zimmer helped with his father’s raincoat manufacturing business, which was set up in Hong Kong. After some deals and negotiations as part of that business, Zimmer took a $7,000 portion of the merchandise profits to set up his own store in a shopping center located in Houston, Texas. He filled the small shop with name brand and designer suits, and Men’s Wearhouse officially opened for business in August of 1973.
2. The Key To Success
From the very beginning of the company itself, Zimmer realized that in order to draw more customers in, he had to create an environment that would actually appeal to the average professional and semi professional male. For this reason, the majority of Men’s Wearhouse locations, especially in the beginning, were relatively smaller spaces, not having more than 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. He also aimed specifically at making the tailoring and shopping experience as fun and enjoyable as possible, because most men dislike shopping with a passion. This factors, as well as the low prices (when compared to competition) made the stores irresistible.
3. Location Was Crucial
Ever noticed that you typically will not find a Men’s Wearhouse located in a mall? The locations of all of the Men’s Wearhouse shops was specifically chosen for the same reason as the shop size and experience — Men do not like shopping. By keeping the Men’s Wearhouse locations close to busy shopping centers in mid-size to larger cities, but in their own personal space that isn’t as obnoxious as shopping in a mall, the customers we’ll feel as thought they aren’t obligated to shop all day long, and can make one quick errand to get a suit or fine clothing. Zimmer’s close attention to what the customer will want is what has made the business so strong and successful to this day.
4. The Company Had A Published Catalog
During the 1990’s, Men’s Wearhouse saw their most significant growth as the company began to expand widely throughout the nation. To expand the amount of customers that saw their merchandise, they began to release a sportswear catalog, which was called ‘Made By America’. The catalogs were first sold and distributed only in the various shops, as the company felt that mailing them would be unproductive. However, with the distribution that occurred only in stores didn’t seem to have as much of an effect, they began mass mailing the catalogs to individuals. The catalogs unfortunately did not create enough extra revenue for the business, and it was completely discontinued by 1993 after running for only one year.
5. Big And Tall
In 1994, during the height of the success for Men’s Wearhouse, the company decided to add Big and Tall sizes to expand its range of customers and merchandise. This change came after two decades of already being in business, but the expansions were definitely worth the wait. The addition of these expansions in sizes allowed for numerous stores to be opened in the Southeast region of the country, particularly in Florida and Georgia.
6. Appealing To Other Wear
With the addition of the Big and Tall sizes also came the introduction to more of the business casual wear that was starting to increase in trend during the late 1980’s and 1990’s. With the change in trend, Men’s Wearhouse began to add more of a selection of dress shirts, dress slacks, and sports coats as well. With the numerous expansions that the company was utilizing, they were able to stand high above the rest as the tailored industry market began to fall during the mid 90’s.
7. Focus On Treating Others Right
The company has always been focused on treating all individuals in a respectful and family oriented manner. Aside from making a unique and fun experience for the customers, the company also focused on making the training and treatment of their employees as though they were family. The majority of employees were hired on as full time employees. Zimmer also made the effort to make sure that vendors were treated with the utmost respect, never allowing any orders to be cancelled and that all communication were prompt and business oriented. These factors allowed for Zimmer and the company to establish a well rounded reputation, especially at the beginning of their history.
8. Acquiring Other Stores
By the later half of the 1990’s, Men’s Wearhouse began to expand their billion dollar business further by acquiring stores that were beginning to go bankrupt and go out of business. The first of their acquisitions was that of Kuppenheimer Men’s Clothiers, which were based out of Atlanta, and contained about forty stores. It didn’t stop there, however. In 1998, the company also acquired Joseph & Feiss Company, which included a bevvy of different brands and stores. In total by the latter half of the ’90s, Men’s Wearhouse had about 300 stores that were in business and thriving.
9. Canada Bound
Come 1999, Men’s Wearhouse Company had its sights set on making its way across the Canadian border. Although first attempt deals to acquire Moores Retail Group, which is based in Canada, were less than successful, a deal was eventually made between the two companies. Men’s Wearhouse bought out Moores, which gave them large factory space that was located in Montreal, and which also gave them the ability to have their own private label as well.
10. The Beginning Of Rentals
Did you know that Men’s Wearhouse didn’t always have rentals for use? The idea for renting out the formal wear was first introduced and rather tested in a few stores that were located in Seattle, taking place in the late 1990s. This venture, of course, appealed to the majority of the younger population, and by 2002, the ability to rent tuxes and suits from Men’s Wearhouse became available in almost 400 of their stores and shops.
11. Women’s Wearhouse
We’re kidding, as there is no legitimate Women’s Wearhouse in comparison with Men’s Wearhouse. However, the company did take under its wing K&G Ladies and Women’s wear in 2000. This would be the first women’s apparel oriented shop that was opened under the Men’s Wearhouse franchise. K&G Women’s officially began in 2002, and was expected to have a decent revenue when compared to the success of their men’s tailor shops thus far.
12. Commercial Appeal
The Men’s Wearhouse Company is well known for its commercial and advertisements appeal that was kept up throughout the first half of its history. The commercial advertisement and other videos that the company used often featured George Zimmer himself, comparing his merchandise to other department stores and other companies. The advertisements of this format came to a halt by the late 1990s and early 2000s.
13. The Expansion Continues
The first part of the early 2000s was pretty quite for the company, as they continued to make large revenue and rank the number one company when it came to tailored menswear. It was until 2006 when their expansion of their company continued with the acquisition of After Hours Formalwear. This clothier company was once part of the Federal Department Stores, which also has control over Macy’s. Acquiring After Hours Formalwear allowed for Men’s Wearhouse to expand their tux and suit rental department for even more range for its customers, and eventually switched the label completely over to their brand, MW.
14. Other Sponsorship
By the year 2009, Men’s Wearhouse was finding their way into sponsorships for other industries, and expanding their exposure throughout the world. Men’s Wearhouse became one of the major sponsors for the United Football League, which also continued out through 2010 as well.
15. Even More Expansion
You could consider Men’s Wearhouse to be one of the companies that is literally ‘taking over the tailor world’, as their expansions continue even thirty and forty years after their initial conception. In 2010, thanks to their exposure in Europe with sponsorships for the UFL, the company was able to acquire Alexandra plc, which was a corporatewear developer located in Europe. 2013 also added major changes to the company, which we will discuss later, and also added the Joseph Abboud brand to the company as well.
16. Change In Leadership
2013 was probably one of the most interesting times of change for the Men’s Wearhouse company. The company itself formally discharged their founder and then executive chairman George Zimmer in June of 2013. The dismissal occurred because of differences in leadership and structure. The company stated that Zimmer had a hard time realizing that the company was run by an independent board of directors, and that he had not been the CEO of the company itself for two years. In short, Zimmer wanted to make changes to the company that would once again put him at the helm, but was not entirely what was best for the company anymore.
17. Jos. A. Bank Controversy
As if 2013 wasn’t crazy enough for the men’s retailer, the company had an all out battle with Jos. A. Bank beginning in October of that year. It all began with Men’s Wearhouse wanting to acquire the small tailor rival, which led to several counteroffers between the two companies, and even a lawsuit filed against Jos. A. Bank when they attempted to acquire the company Eddie Bauer. In the end, Jos. A. Bank ‘surrendered’, withdrawing their acquisition offer with Eddie Bauer, and eventually ended with a merger with Men’s Wearhouse.
18. Tailored Brands, Inc.
Although we know the company for its sole name, Men’s Wearhouse, it has actually changed its holding name in the past couple of years. Known now as Tailored Brands, Inc., it includes Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank. The new brand was established in January of 2016, and was decided when the company switched to a holding company model as opposed to its former company model that it followed for the last forty years.
As we mentioned before, the company headquarters for Men’s Wearhouse were first established in Houston, Texas, back in the early 1970s. However, as times have changed, the company has also opened other training facilities and corporate facilities in California as their expansion have come and gone throughout the years.
20. Classic Slogan
Let us not forget the slogan that still rings in the ears of customers all over the nation, and more than likely George Zimmer’s ears as well. As repeatedly said throughout all of their vintage advertisements back in the day, the slogan for Men’s Wearhouse is “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”
It is safe to say that Men’s Wearhouse has had quite a history as one of the number one ranked men’s tailor and fine wear businesses in the country. Forty years has shown what this company is made of, and what it truly takes to make a business thrive as the times change. With its now over 700 store locations, 24 hour tailoring services, rental services, and of course stunning men’s fashion and wear, there seems to be no stopping the retailer any time soon.