|Making men stylish a custom fit for Langan
She helps fill niche in North Bay by supplying style-concious men with custom-fitted clothes
She cheerfully dubs herself as a "Traveling Men's Store." Janice Langan's business card formally calls her an independent style consultant for J. Hilburn Men's Clothier. To get the real story, you have to go one-on-one with her and gloss over the formalities.
Nutshell-wise, Langan's role is supplying style-conscious men with custom-fitted suits, shirts, jackets, trousers, vests and accessories like socks, belts and ties. The key phrase is custom-fitted. At the core of her work is her tape measure and notebook. The rest is J. Hilburn's job.
Filling a void
It's readily apparent Langan and Hilburn are filling a niche, especially in Sonoma County, between ready-to-wear and off-the-rack men's clothes from department stores where pants cuffs are wanted or not, or sleeves are too short or too long or the suit just "doesn't hang" properly, and then sadly trekking afar to find something, anything, they truly want, like custom-fit.
The products don't come cheap. Shirts are $99, and suits are $865 to $910 for a three-piece. But they're all 100 percent imported cotton or wool (no polyester) and guaranteed custom-fitted.
The professional look
"I deal mainly with men who need to have 'the look' of professionalism in their business," she said. "Like dot-com consultants, lawyers, real estate go-getters, bankers, Rotarians, biz managers who deal with people in daily duties, city hall execs and clerics.
"I bring a thick book of swatches of material with me and can do the measuring in their offices or in their homes, if wives are present. I also have a selection of Hilburn ready-to-wear clothing if they choose." Langan has a natural ebullient approach, making the process enjoyable.
Hilburn was started about five years ago by two refugees from Wall Street who spotted a men's clothing niche that had to be filled. They're based in Texas, where their belts are built of genuine leather.
The former Janice Picchi, Novato-born and raised, earned a degree at San Jose State University and topped it with a BS in Marketing at Sonoma State University. Married for 33 years to Keith Langan, they have a son, Michael, 28, a Novato businessman and daughter Leslie, 25, living and working in Palo Alto.
She's been active in RP Chamber of Commerce events for years, an active volunteer always on call, at many chamber functions.
"Hilburn's very big on details like discreet stitching and extra pockets, things you don't find in ready-to-wear choices."
Langan's the rare type of woman who can make ordinary blue jeans come equipped with a touch of class.
"This job is just fun," she said. "I meet so many great people and yet have time to teach sewing classes."