A series about Smith women
competing in the business world.
For Tara Tetreault ’01,
clothing is the right fit.
With more than 12 years
of experience selling men’s
garb, the 28-year-old Northampton native recently opened
her own store, Jackson & Connor, a men’s apparel
boutique on the second floor of Thornes Market in the downtown
“I really enjoy
building the business relationship with men,” said
Tetreault recently during an interview outside her store. “Men
are loyal customers, they’re creatures of habit and
don’t shop as much as
women. If they have a good experience in my store, they’ll
be back. I’m
happy to be in men’s clothing.”
the grand opening of her store in March. Jackson & Connor
sells contemporary fashions for both casual and business
occasions, for men aged 25 to 55, in a range of prices. Clothing
lines include Jhane Barnes, Nat Nast, Agave Alex Cannon,
and Robert Graham.
Tetreault opened the shop
with her business partner, Candace Connors, with whom she
worked for several years at Taylor Men, a popular and long-standing
men’s clothing boutique
that previously occupied the Jackson & Connor space.
(“Jackson,” Tetreault’s eponym, and “Connor” represent
both women’s “boy names,” noted Tetreault.)
her retail experience and her Smith coursework in government
and anthropology, owning and operating her own shop is a
natural fit for Tetreault, who started selling men’s
clothes at age 16 as a sales associate for Taylor Men.
“This business is
fundamentally about understanding and developing relationships,” said
Tetreault. “Being able to deal with a lot of different
kinds of people is such a necessary skill. You can’t
teach that, but studying governing bodies and who they govern
and what effects it has on the greater population has parallels
to retail and understanding human beings in the social context.”
graduating from Smith, Tetreault graduated through the retail
ranks, becoming director of promotion, then manager, district
manager and regional manager for Taylor Men. She then left
that company for BJD Inc., a California men’s
apparel company, as an account executive, and most recently
worked for retailer Rock ‘n’ Roll Alliance, based
in Anaheim, Calif.
One service that distinguishes
Jackson & Connor
from other boutiques is what Tetreault calls personal shopping:
she or Connors will come to their established customers,
by appointment, with an assortment of possible clothing items,
to specifically meet their needs, whether it be a date that
evening or an important dinner with a client.
“I know of no other
shop locally that offers that type of service,” she
said. She’s also considering coordinating a fashion
show for local clothing merchants, and she and Connors have
joined the Chamber of Commerce, Northampton Area Young Business
Professionals, and the Women Business Owners Alliance of
For Tetreault, it’s
important to actively participate as a member of the local
business community. “It’s
not just about the store, but also about relating to people
in the area—being part of the community.” Toward
that end, she purchased display items for her store from
local merchants Yale Genton and Just Because upon their closing,
and carries jewelry lines and t-shirts designed by local
Owning and operating a
men’s clothing boutique
is only one stop on her life journey, Tetreault emphasized.
She had hoped to be a pediatrician when she entered Smith,
she recalled, and plans to tackle many other pursuits, such
as, perhaps, joining the Peace Corps, teaching yoga, running
a bed & breakfast,
and guiding outdoor adventures.
“I still don’t know what I want to be,” she said.