CCB_LogoCrain's Chicago Business

Nicely suited: New shops expand Chicago's custom menswear scene By: Brigid Sweeney October 18, 2013

BALANI Custom Clothiers, a 53-year-old custom suitmaker based in the Loop, is expanding to a second location in Houston and has hired seven sales representatives in other cities across the country. Owner Sonny Balani, who took over the business from his father, Peter, said he expects revenue to grow to $6 million from $3.2 million by the end of next year. A suit at BALANI starts at $895.

Mr. Balani hired Christian Boehm, a two-decade custom clothing veteran, to launch the Houston business.

"There's an art to custom clothing that appeals to three different kinds of customer," Mr. Boehm said. "One, the men who just completely hate to shop, and we can just take it off their plate for them; two, the connoisseur who loves to shop and sit down and choose from 356 different suit linings, and three, the guy with fit issues who is really tall, really short or really muscular. That's why custom clothing has really grown. People realize they can spend $400 on an off-the-rack suit, but then they have to spend a fortune on tailoring, or they can do it the right way, from scratch."

Excerpted from this weeks Crain's