We had the good fortune of connecting with Tad Klenske and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tad, what matters most to you?
I believe that a product should be durable and easy to use. When I make costumes those are the two things I concentrate on most. I want the person wearing the costume to not have to think about the costume at all when at an event or in a show. I want them to be able to put all of their mental energy into their performance, or to be able to fully experience the event they are at without distraction. I have many clients that are performers who use the same costume piece at least a couple times a month, so having something that lasts without needing maintenance is important. They also need to be fully able to keep their mind on their performance and not if a seam feels like it’s going to pop, or a zipper that jammed earlier and wouldn’t quite close.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create bespoke costumes for people. The costumes I make are one of a kind, I don’t make batches or do off the rack sizing. Every piece is custom fit to the customer buying. My main reason for doing this is that I firmly believe that the fit of a costume is the most important part to making its look great, and for the customer to feel good in it. I also build my costumes to last repeated use and wear, because a good costume should be able to get a lot of mileage. It’s not always easy, making bespoke costumes is more time consuming than pressed costumes and not everyone sees the value in having a costume made to fit. So getting people to believe that it is worth the extra time and cost can be difficult sometimes. I have found the best thing is that customers who understand the value of custom fitting will seek that out and often know others who are looking for that as well. Once I had gained a few clients, they would give my name to friends and my clientele grew steadily. I’ve learned that finding the right market is incredibly important. Finding your first few clients will be the hardest, but then things will gain momentum. Never underestimate the power word of mouth advertising. People trust their friends opinions more than any other ad they would see published.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the outdoors, so you can bet I would take them to Piedmont Park and the Belt line. The Center for Puppetry Arts is awesome, if it’s the right part of the year going to the Georgia Renaissance Festival would definitely be on that list as well. I would definitely track down some theatre in the area, Dad’s Garage has always been a favorite. Oakland Cemetery is also a favorite place of mine to visit.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Significant other Kat. She has always been there to support me and help me push through my fears with making a small business of my own. She is my personal champion and helper, and I would not have been able to do this without her here with me.
Katherine Smith, Tad Klenske, Cole Spivia, Rob Labra