From Custom to Consignment

Tailor’s Rack is a perfect fit

Armed with a degree in computer science and music technology from Elizabeth City State University, Dana Williams, 28, was on the fast track with a job at Procter & Gamble. Ascending into management, he was overseeing the production of three brands of deodorant. The money was good but the stress was unbearable, and one day he had a potentially fatal seizure.

“I woke up in Moses Cone Hospital,” he recalls, “and the doctor said if I had gotten there two minutes later I wouldn’t have made it.” Stress, the doctor told him, would kill him.

So, Williams went to work for Goodwill Industries and then off-price retailer Ross Dress for Less, rising into management at both stores. “At Goodwill I learned the thrift-store process,” he says. “Ross was buying closeout items, and that taught me about buying and pricing in retail. That gave me my foundation.”

All this time, Williams was developing a passion for sewing he’d had since childhood, engendered by watching his grandmother make and mend clothes on her pedal-powered Singer. By college he was designing and altering clothes for classmates.

“I had my sewing machine right there beside my desk in my dorm room,” he says, adding, “Before long, people were asking me to customize clothes for them and dress them up.”

After renting booths at flea markets, and selling his wares both there and online through Etsy, he was ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge and opened a consignment shop in Rockingham, N.C., near his wife, Felicia’s hometown of Hamlet, expanding into a successful consignment-thrift-vintage outlet.

Moving to the corner of Davie and Friendly, Williams opened Tailor’s Rack on September 28, 2018 (Felicia’s birthday).

With the Tanger Center and the new hotel opening, Williams feels confident about his location and his blend of men’s, women’s clothing and household goods, all very reasonably priced.

Still, the 48-year-old father of two boys (Landon, 10 in March, and Laydon, 8) foresees his own clothing line in his future. He already has a label, Danaanad, has flown to China to develop relationships with manufacturers, and has the hands-on experience to make it work.

“I really want to get back to custom designing,” he mused. “That’s where my heart is.”

Plus, one would imagine, it’s a lot less stress on the heart.  OH

— Ogi Overman

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