Our American Dream: Tailor-Made
The American dream is never going to go away, according to 38-year old Al Guevara, who knows a thing or two about dreaming.
Guevara first picked up a needle and thread when he was just 12-years old in his home country of El Salvador. It was love at first touch.
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years right now and it’s something I really love to do. I enjoy being a tailor, and I don’t think there’s going to be anything else out there for me that’s more exciting than what I do for a living,” a smiling Guevara says.
Al continued his dream job after coming to the United States as a refugee when he was 17-years old. His talent and skill shined-through over the next ten years while working for large clothing manufacturers, and received several awards for his work.
Look, let me do your tailoring, and I’m going to do it for free for the first time, but you just have to tell somebody else about me. And they liked it so much, business started growing and growing and growing.
All along though, the skillful tailor dreamed of one day opening his own shop. In 1999, Guevara packed his bags and headed to Jackson, Mississippi to make his dream come true.
“I did have a dream at that moment. I said, ‘I want to be the finest and the best around here…I’m going to develop my own clientele, I’m going to develop my own business, and I’m going to show people there is a way to look better and feel better around here,’” Al recounts.
Developing a clientele for a start-up business in a new area didn’t come easy though.
“I started working for free for people,” Guevara says with a laugh. “Look, let me do your tailoring, and I’m going to do it for free for the first time, but you just have to tell somebody else about me. And they liked it so much, business started growing and growing and growing.”
Business is still growing at Custom Tailoring by Al, which now has two locations and employs 10 other tailors to help keep up with the demand.
Al’s specialty high-end, custom-tailored suits, starting at $1,400 each, still bring in about 200 orders a year, but as the economy has continued to lag, more and more customers are bringing in clothes they already own for alterations.
“We do anything that has to do with sewing…There’s nothing too little or nothing too big for me,” Guevara says.
Two years ago, the former refugee realized another of his dreams by becoming a U.S. citizen.
“When I came to this country, I knew at that moment I say I wanted to be a part of this country, I wanted to be a part of the dream,” the proud tailor says.
From being a teenage street-tailor in El Salvador to the owner of his own successful tailor shop in America, one thing Guevara says he’s learned throughout his life is to never stop dreaming, and never stop working towards your dreams.
Up next on his dream list is taking Custom Tailoring by Al nationwide.
“My dream, my goal, is to be everywhere…I’m planning to open another one in Alabama; maybe Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia; maybe Chicago. I mean those are my goals,” Al says. “But you have to believe to make it happen.”
Garrett Tenney is a Junior Reporter for FoxNews.com.
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