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MeetJackson & Connor owner, Will Brideau, offering formal wear
and accessories with expert styling and attention to detail.
When did you start your business?
I took ownership of Jackson & Connor in November of 2013, and it’s an absolute dream come true. I had been the only employee for three years and one day the owners sat me down and said they had decided to close the store. It was doing really well but they wanted to do other things. “What am I supposed to do?” I asked. “I don’t want to work for someone else. I want to work for Jackson & Connor.”
So they offered to sell the store to me. They generously offered to help transition me into the role of new owner. I was in the right place at the right time and was exceedingly fortunate to have great employers who were willing to work with me. They got out, I got in — it quite literally could not have worked out better.
What is your very, very favorite part of your job?
I absolutely love getting to meet new people. I had a customer from Connecticut come in a while back who had lost a ton of weight, needed a wardrobe refresh and wanted to do something awesome for himself for his 40th birthday. He came into the store on a whim and we hit it off right away. Over the last year and a half or so, we’ve become the best of friends and we hang out all the time.
It’s the only job I’ve ever had where “dealing” with people has actually become the best part…and it’s really because we’re so fortunate to have incredibly lovely and understanding customers. It’s providing that individual attention and cultivating the personal connection that makes my job so rewarding.
On equal footing is my deep, profound love of menswear and style. I love to curate, merchandise and talk to customers about our different lines (and especially our own Jackson & Connor line). The industry is constantly changing and that comes through most when I’m buying for the store. I love seeing new fabrication, new styles, new production methods — even new materials. To be honest, I can’t imagine a job where I could possibly be happier with that I do every day.
What makes you different from other vendors in your field?
Some of my clients have a very clear sense of what they want while others come to us in need of direction. Either way, I want my clients to know we’ve got them covered. We’re different from others, I think, because we care deeply about what you want your wedding outfit to look like. If you’re not seeing what’s in your head on my floor, I’ll scour every vendor at my disposal (and even other stores I’m friendly with) to find what you’re trying to find. And if you’re looking for direction, we’ll take excellent care of you. Plus, we do full alterations.
What would feel great knowing you had accomplished for your client?
That everyone loved the outfit. To me, the proof is always in how many unsolicited compliments you get from people over your wedding outfit. When I have people come back and say, “It looked great, I felt great, and everyone loved the tailoring, my tie, and everything else,” then I feel like I’ve done my job well.
Can you give couples advice something specific to your field?
I have some clients come in months ahead of time (and in opposite season of their wedding), and others who come in a week before their wedding. My advice is two part: wait until the season in which you’re getting married (so our seasonal fabrics will match the time of year), and give yourself about six weeks. In six weeks I can special order whatever we need, have it altered (and re-altered if it needs a little more work), and have you looking great. If you want a custom, made-to-measure suit, it’s more like 3 months…but it’s definitely not on the same time-frame as the ladies’ side.
Show us two things you are really proud of…your best work or highest achievement professionally and something personal that makes you happy.
Two things I’m proudest of — my shop! It never gets old, and look forward to work every day. It’s my second home. And my daughter Zooey…she’s the reason why I do all the things that I do. Hopefully one day I will be able to hand the J&C reins over to her.
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