Q&A with Jeff Covitz
Tell us a little bit about how Houndstooth got its start.
I am a third generation tailor. My grandfather owned a tailor shop in Brookside, and my father’s shop was located in Overland Park. While running my father’s business, I always would keep an eye on downtown real estate for what I thought was the perfect spot to open my own idea of a men’s store. Things fell into place when I stumbled upon our current location. Just steps from the largest farmers market in the midwest and growing community of young professionals and budding small businesses, the neighborhood really directs our business trajectory. As it grows, so do we.
What is important to you in design and tailoring that you hold as a standard for your brand?
The entire clothing industry has spent the last 70 or so years attempting to lower the labor required to produce a suit. In my estimation, many brands have lost the “tailored” designation. To me “tailored” refers to the manufacturing of a garment that is intended to be tailored (i.e. pulled apart and put back together). Many suits are not made in this manner any more, often using glue instead of thread to hold things together. In our suits you will find no glue in the chest of the jackets. It is a sewn garment, and thus is softer, drapes better, and withstands dry cleanings better.
Our custom suiting is always a handmade garment with soft natural shoulders. We take measurements and control almost every design element. With more than 900 fabrics to choose from, we really do feel we can create just about anything. Creating one-of-a-kind pieces is a really fun diversion that breaks up the monotony of long retail hours, and it’s been where we’ve seen the most growth over the past two years.
What can our readers expect in a Houndstooth product and their experience in a visit to your store?
I hope customers in our shop find it very comfortable. I feel some are intimidated by the process of purchasing a suit. We aim to take the edge off that experience with attentive but never pushy service. We greet everyone who walks through our door.
We opened this shop in the River Market because of the neighborhood. We have regulars who just stop in to say hey, and many regional clients who make it by whenever they’re in town. Not to mention the generous food offerings in our neighborhood. The River Market is Kansas City’s densest neighborhood and has an energy not often found in the midwest. Short term parking is widely available, and there are a bunch of other great small businesses all over the neighborhood.
We believe the products we carry to be a value. High quality, well-designed and manufactured clothing is getting tougher to come by as much of the world embraces disposable, fast fashion. We’ve always believed in quality over quantity. If you buy quality, you only cry once.
What do you love about living in Leawood?
When you’ve been in Kansas City your entire life it really feels like a small town. Our two boys, Leo and Jack, attend Corinth Elementary, and we’ve lived in Leawood for three years now. Our tree-lined streets are beautiful, but we live where we live because of the community and family that surrounds us here. Support from neighbors, friends, and family is how small businesses thrive in a marketplace dominated by large corporations, and we see our clients as making the conscious effort to support us, and for that we are thankful and provide the highest level of service and satisfaction in return.
Where can we find out more about your suits?
You can find information about us and our products online at houndstoothkc.com or stop in. We’re open Mon.-Fri. 10-6, Saturdays 9-5. Just steps in front of the large City Market sign at the corner of 5th and Walnut.