by Scott Malouf
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All of us have had some time to think, maybe too much time! Here are two ideas that could facilitate a better way to do business going forward. 

1. As much as we talk about free trade, the U.S. still imposes duties on garments produced in Europe, e.g. 21 percent on a tailored wool garment. If we could eliminate all apparel or fabric duties from Europe, it would put European manufacturers on a more competitive basis with Chinese producers. This could provide more options for stores and consumers. With the rise in prices from China, this would put a lot of men’s and women’s wear European products at parity. 

These duties were put in place decades ago to protect fabric mills and what was a once vibrant domestic apparel manufacturing industry. It didn’t save anyone apparently because few factories or mills are left. Yet the tax is still there. If removed, the few remaining American manufacturers and mills could be eligible for some of the billions the government has been allocating on their behalf. If each of us reached out to our Congressional representative, we could perhaps make this happen. As of now, it’s not an idea on anyone’s radar. (In the new Trade Agreement with England, strike any duties on apparel and shoes.) 

2. A different idea would be to end the inherent online conflict between brands and retailers. I’m suggesting that every brand with an online business has a “Shop Small” option at checkout. If clicked, it would say something like: “If you have a favorite local store that carries our brand, please select the store name from this list to credit them for your purchase.” (Then the store name could be pre-set on the customer’s profile.)

Of course, the list would include only stores in “good standing” with the vendor; the vendor can define standards. When orders are placed, stores get an email notification of the sale. (The split could be 60/40 since the vendor would have the overhead.) The money would be applied to the retailer’s account so the vendor is not double processing a transaction.

Retailers could reciprocate on their websites with something like: “For additional selections please go to ‘’ and enter code ‘XYZ Clothiers’ to shop online for fuller assortments while still supporting us.”

No one is giving anyone their customer lists. The vendor is leveraging its brand with some human contact while making retailers aware of customers in their immediate markets. I like the idea already floated where vendors can send out gift cards redeemable in the store, anything that promotes reciprocity.

I believe these changes will provide more choices for consumers and eliminate unnecessary costs in the system. I would love to hear some feedback! 

Scott Malouf has two stores, Drest in Lubbock and Malouf on the Plaza in Santa Fe. He can be reached at


  1. Excellent thinking Scott. Bravo! Especially valuable is the partnership with independent retailers. The duties should have been removed decades ago.

  2. Ciao Scott,
    In a perfect world and with the kind incredibly wonderful human genes you’ve inherited, these ideas would work well for all in our industry. However, it just seems like in these times especially, when loyalty, honesty and generosity are no longer the business ideals to live up to in our industry. We are now living in times that quite frankly make me want to scale back my businesses to just selling my design creations to just my long time friends in our industry that I love and I can trust. At this point, if I can still make a decent living with my friends, I’m good to go. 🙏♥️😎
    Wow, I just realized I’m beginning to sound like our mentors buddy.. 😎
    “Back in my day…”. Right..?
    Your thoughts are brilliantly thought out and would truly make our business more profitable and much more fair. From your lips to God’s ears Scott.. Love you and your beautiful family. ♥️
    Stay healthy and well my friend. 😎

    1. Love my Reggae belt! Not sure I can still wear it after the quarantine!

    1. Scott,
      It’s no wonder why you are a successful merchant. And a good guy too. Great ideas!!

  3. wonderful ideas Scott…let’s hope the industry hears you and rethinks how to do business all together….
    stay healthy and safe,

    1. Great Suggestions Scott! I really like the “Shop Small” idea along with the Gift Card option. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Great way to somewhat partner up with vendors instead of trying trying to work around them as we go forward.

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