According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the term “fashion” is defined as, “the make or form of something.” John B. Malouf, owner and founder of Malouf’s apparel store said he would define fashion as a form of art, and a passion that he has stuck with since the late ’40s.
“It’s kind of like a musician who produces music or a sculptor,” he said. “I create. I don’t see it as selling or a chore–it’s creating. I never get tired of it and I’ll probably never retire. You know, you don’t quit painting, and you don’t quit playing. It’s all about being creative. It’s something that’s beautiful and interesting.”
Malouf said his passion for fashion began when he started attending Texas Tech as a freshman. He said he worked for a men’s store and stayed with the retailer until he graduated.
He fell in love with retail and the business itself, he said, so he decided to open his own store six months after he got his degree.
“My dad helped me start,” he said. “You can’t start without any funds.”
But, Malouf said, after only two short years he was able to get the store running on his own.
Five years after Malouf’s store was in business, he said he decided to take the opportunity to go to New York to make connections with higher-end suit lines, shirt lines, and so on.
Malouf said other local retailers were not progressing like what he envisioned for his store. He said he had his eye on one particular product that would set his store above all others in the area. The brand was called Oxxford. Malouf said he knew he could acquire such a distinguished name in his store, but it would not be easy.
Back then, Neiman Marcus retail had control of Oxxford throughout the entire state of Texas, and in order to get the brand in one’s store, he said, you had to have other well-known brands.
Eventually, Oxxford hired a new president, Malouf said, and he instantly knew it was his chance to make a move on acquiring the brand.
“I called him, and he invited me up to Chicago, which was how we were able to make that connection,” he said. “And that immediately made us the leading store in Lubbock. That finally put us on top.”
Based on the other awards Malouf has gotten over the years, one could say he’s business savvy and fashion-forward. Malouf said not only has his store been featured in Esquire Magazine, he is one of only eight members in a group called the Men’s Apparel Forum.
Malouf said he thinks the quality of his store’s products and their master tailors set them apart from the rest of the retail industry.
According to the Malouf website, there are multiple personalized services for customers. For example, the website describes personalized wardrobe assistance to be very helpful. One of Malouf’s fashion consultants will personally visit shoppers’ homes to evaluate his closet and determine his wardrobe needs, the website shows.
Malouf said nowadays customer service is a rarity that is going out of style. He said he wants for people to walk into Malouf’s and instantly feel like they’re at home.
He said one thing he has noticed in particularl is how younger people act when they come into his store.
“Many people walk in here and the first thing they do is look at something, they have their phone out, and I’m guessing they’re looking to see if they can find it somewhere else or if it’s a cheaper price,” Malouf said. “They’re not there for any advice that you can give them.”
He said he foresees online shopping to increase even more in the future.
Malouf used food as an illustration. “You want to salt it just right,” he said.
Malouf also said he does not believe online shopping is salted at all, and that people are losing the retail experience they should be getting, especially if they came to Malouf’s.
For as long as he’s been in the business, Malouf said, fashion has contoured and changed in more ways than one, but his love for the busines will never alter.