Third-generation owner of Sydney-based small business, Argys Tailoring, Joanne Fiorio, has breathed new life into the business after it struggled to keep its doors open during Covid. In a recent interview with Retailbiz, Fiorio spoke about her recent experience having her dream realised by American Express, along with the benefits as a result.

“Argys Tailoring was started by my grandfather and then taken over by my father. I would help on weekends with deliveries so had always been around the business, but it wasn’t until the first Covid lockdown that I could see the family business really struggling. I was on maternity leave at the time, but as a family, we put our heads together to work out how we could stay afloat. I decided to leave my job as a primary school teacher to take over the business and haven’t looked back,” Fiorio said.

Argys Tailoring had been working with American Express for a while, but Fiorio wasn’t aware of the company’s Dream Backers initiative, designed to reignite the ambitions of business operators, granting one the chance to see their business dream come to life.

“I entered at a point when business was quiet. It was one of those emails you wouldn’t usually open and have a good read of, but the business needed a lifeline, so I decided to enter but didn’t think much of it until I got the phone call to say I was successful.”

Fiorio’s dream was to have an Australian celebrity wear one of her business’ new women’s made-to-measure suits on a national stage. This dream was brought to life in October with Australian singer-songwriter, KLP wearing the custom suit to perform at Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out. 

“When I came into the business, it was quite male dominated and Argys’ customer database was mainly men. I used the Dream Backers opportunity to bring our skill set to more women and cater to their different body shapes and sizes, as well as breathe sustainability into the business through tailoring and alterations,” she said.

Since the Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out, Argys Tailoring has seen a 15% increase in followers across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, a 200% increase in average weekly new customer leads and 233% increase in average blog readership.

“The Dream Backers initiative has brought a whole new audience to our business with a lot more females walking through the door, which is great.”

Fiorio has also been busy developing the Argys website and improving its social media presence. “We have done a lot of work on our Google business profile and building up reviews because most of our customers hear about us through word of mouth,” she said.

“Looking ahead, we will stay focused on women’s suiting and more broadly, continue to tie what we do back to sustainability. I’ve created mending money vouchers to encourage consumers to alter the clothes they already have, rather than buy new because that’s a real passion of mine.”

Image: Joanne Fiorio with KLP.