One of Savile Row’s first female tailors, Alexandra Wood opened her first out of town store in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire in 2016. The commuter town, 45 minutes from Central London, has the oldest tailors in England and quite possibly in the world with the shop trading as a “men’s clothing establishment” for more than 400 years. When Alex first opened in 2016, she was trolled on Twitter with ‘’The writing’s on the wall. It hasn’t worked so far and never will.”
Its last owner Freddy Cole, who had been director at Tissimans, said the recession had made it “increasingly difficult over the past few years”. Ironically, Alexandra had previously worked for Cole when she was 24 after just having moved to Hertfordshire.
Local historian Helen Gibson, who has lived in Bishop’s Stortford for 50 years, said: “The shop was the prime tailors in the district and had served members of the Royal Family and Henry Moore.”
Four years later, Alexandra Wood continues to flourish and took sales of £220k in her first year of trading and has continued to grow. When Covid-19 hit she thought that might mark the end of 13 years of hard work. However, her loyal customers, resilient nature and dreams of bigger successes have spurred her on further.
Alexandra’s clients range from horse whisperers to lawyers and builders. One of Alexandra’s most loyal local customers is the Editor of The New Statesman, Jason Cowley who says of Alexandra’s work: “She has great flair and style. She is personable and never pushy. She has a great eye as well as technical expertise as a tailor. She does not over-sell. She knows what works for middle-aged men. Her Bishop’s Stortford shop is stylish and has a good atmosphere. We have developed a good rapport and I trust her judgement, which is essential. She won’t bullshit me – and I appreciate that!”
Alex used £30k of her own profits from the previous year to open with no staff and no stock but a lot of determination.
She says: ‘’It was scary, but I decided to go for it and haven’t looked back. I’ve been offered investment a few times, once I nearly went for it but ended up rejecting it each time. To this day, I remain owning 100% of my company and I’m proud of that.”
Some may wonder how this solo female tailor has made it such a success but it’s clear to see that her passion for her customers comes first and foremost. Knowing everyone’s name, face and story is what keeps Alexandra’s clients so fiercely loyal. It’s more than selling a product, it’s connecting with people and making a real difference to the way they look and feel that is of up most importance. She has been named ‘’Tailor of the 21st Century” By GQ Columnist & Best-selling Author Tony Parsons.
Alexandra’s customer Larry, a well renowned horse whisperer asked Alexandra if she could make him a pair of made-to-measure jeans. A little reluctant on how they may turn out, Alex took on the challenge, only to then produce their best-selling ready-to-wear item. ‘’It’s our customers that create our collections. Taking on board their needs and feedbacks means I design and create clothing that men really want to wear and invest in.”
The wife of one of Alex’s client’s messaged her on Instagram to say that she had accidentally shrunk her husbands ‘favourite merino wool sweater’ and could she deliver a new one. She carefully snuck it into her husband who was none the wiser.
These are just some of the stories that make this brand truly connect with people and to thrive through recessions, downturns and even Covid-19.
Alexandra offers her own limited edition, ready to wear ranges both in store and online