Business News for the Mississippi Delta

Matt Malouf Using His Love for Selling With Tom James Custom Clothier

By Susan Marquez 

Matt Malouf has selling in his blood. The Greenwood native’s uncle runs the family furniture store that bears their name. “When I finished college,” says Matt,” I went to work with my father Bill at Port Elliot. I learned a lot from him, and it was a pleasure working alongside him.” Matt attended Ole Miss, before transferring to Sanford University in Birmingham, where he was a Liberal Studies major with minors in business, journalism and English. He moved back to Greenwood after college and gave the furniture business a go before deciding it wasn’t for him. “I just didn’t have the passion for selling furniture that my uncle and father did.” 

He found his niche in business almost by accident. He heard about Blue Delta, the bespoke blue jean company that makes custom blue jeans, and he decided to buy a pair. “I became friends with the guys who started the company, Nick Weaver and Josh West.” Matt was intrigued with the idea of custom-made clothes. “I wanted to move to Oxford and go to work for them,” he says. “But they were still a start-up and not in a position to hire outside help.” 

What Weaver and West did was to introduce Matt to some people with Tom James. “I thought they were talking about a man named Tom James. As it turns out, Tom James is the world’s largest custom clothier.” That was on a Sunday, and a man from Memphis and a man from Nashville were coming to Oxford the following Wednesday, so they set up a meeting for Matt to meet them. “I met with them and liked what I heard,” Matt says. “I decided to go to work for them right away. That was in December 2015 and I have never looked back.”

Tom James is an employee-owned company that was started in 1966 in Franklin, Tennessee. It provides busy businessmen the opportunity to have custom clothing that is fitted in their own home or office. “I actually go to the customer,” explains Matt. “I do 24 measurements for a suit and 12 measurements for a shirt, so the fit is superior to anything else on the market. All the clothing we make is cut from scratch, so the quality can’t be beat. And the convenience is essential for someone who is very busy or who doesn’t like to shop. We can also help plan a wardrobe, as we keep records on the orders of each client.”

The company provides five different levels of clothing, from the house line with comparable price points to off-the-rack brands to the top-of-the-line level. “We have something for the businessman who is just starting out to the more expensive level for the top executives,” Matt explains. “Until about ten years ago, we cut our teeth on suits, shirts and ties. But with a more casual dress code in many offices today, we now offer slacks and sports coats, casual and sports shirts and even jeans and t-shirts.”

Matt began his career with Tom James in Memphis, and he is still connected to that office and works with them directly. “I covered all of Memphis and the surrounding areas as well as North Mississippi, the Delta and the Jackson area.” Matt married his wife, Sarah, in 2018, and the couple moved to Jackson the end of February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a person-to-person business where we are in close contact with our customers, so it really affected this business temporarily.” Matt is optimistic that the business will blossom as the country opens up again. “I believe that after the quarantine, many will want to dress up again after being so dressed down for so long.”