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Affordable Tailored Clothing Is Just a Click of the Mouse Away

Entrepreneurs Jeff Horowitz and Coley Dale believe in looking good on one’s own terms at a reasonable price.

The friends, both 26, launched DressMonkey.com, an online custom clothing company for men, in January 2006 after working in Shanghai for three years.

Horowitz, who says that he enjoyed having custom-made clothes while living in China, worked with Dale to establish a business that would offer low-cost, made-to-order clothing.

The Web site takes customer measurements, fabric choice, color and style selections, and three weeks later, buyers get orders in the mail.

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Dale works out of Shanghai, managing all order processing, production and export, while Horowitz works in La Jolla.

“We feel like a lot of designers and clothing stores tell you what to wear and how to wear it, and for that you pay a huge markup,” Horowitz said. “We are a luxury brand, but we cut out all that hype and therefore keep our overhead down and our prices down.”

Horowitz says suits range from $150 to $200, including pressing, packaging and shipping.

Projecting 100 percent growth per year, Horowitz predicts sales of about $500,000 for 2008.

“We’ve both lived in China, so we’ve seen what we want our product to be,” he said. “If you can’t find a certain kind of fabric posted on our Web site, we know how to get our hands on it.”

DressMonkey.com also offers custom blazers, for those not interested in full suits or shirts. Women’s blazers and suits should be added to the apparel offerings by the fall, Horowitz says, as the company continues to perfect sizing issues.

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‘The One’:

Brides-to-be on a budget may find “the one” , designer dress , they’ve been searching for next month, without breaking the bank.

On Feb. 22 and 23, the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation will host its Brides Against Breast Cancer wedding gown sale at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It is produced by Henley Co. LLC principal Nicole Matthews. The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit organization holds the fund-raiser annually, touring 32 cities and benefiting patients with breast cancer.

“This is the one charity event that I do for the year, and as an owner of an event management company, it’s a natural fit for me,” Matthews said.

Designers, manufacturers and former brides donate the gowns, most of which are valued at around $4,000 and marked down to $799 and lower.

Matthews says the charity features 1,500 gowns per city.

Each of the 32 cities toured raises between $25,000 and $50,000.

Last year, the sale in San Diego raised $32,000. Matthews donates all of the costs involved.

“There’s something very magical about working (with) all these wedding dresses. Even though I’m not usually too frilly, there’s a little Cinderella in all of us,” said Matthews.

For more information, contact Matthews at Nicole@thehenleycompany.com.

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Downsizing Leads To Franchising:

In the wake of corporate downsizing, more and more out-of-work businesspeople are moving on to a more autonomous occupation , franchising.

That is according to Blair Nicol of FranNet of San Diego and Orange County.

Carlsbad-based FranNet is a network of franchise consultants who pair potential franchisees with franchise opportunities.

Nicol, principal and franchise adviser for the company, says many clients want to work for themselves.

“A lot are baby boomers who always had that dream of owning their own business , they want that freedom,” Nicol said.

Nicol encourages clients to have $30,000 to $50,000 in cash to invest. He says clients are surprised to find that there is little correlation between the cost of a franchise and how much money they can make.

Clients are expected to have six to 12 months of living expenses, and pay one-third of the total cost of their franchise. The rest can be financed through loans or the client’s 401(k) plan, Nicol says.

FranNet does not work with all franchisers. Last year, more than 300 franchisers contacted the consulting company, but only 10 were accepted, Nicol says.

“We screen to make sure that a company’s franchisees are happy and that it practices good business,” Nicol said.

While FranNet services are free to potential franchisees, a fee is required of the franchiser that the client decides to invest in.

The company has 40 offices nationwide. In San Diego, FranNet works with between 80 and 100 franchisers.


Send retail news to Liz Wiedemann via e-mail at

lwiedemann@sdbj.com

. She can also be reached at (858) 277-6359.

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