Alana Matthews noticed something while serving as executive vice president of business operations and general counsel for the NHL’s Dallas Stars. While the team’s male executives often were dressed in well-tailored, custom-made suits and other apparel, there seemed to be a lack of similar options for professional women like her.
The realization led her to make a life-changing decision.
In May of 2022, after more than eight years with the hockey franchise, Matthews left her dream job to focus on Alautus, her Dallas-based startup offering custom, luxury workwear for women. The company officially went live last July.
“An outfit can profoundly affect your mindset and self-confidence, and it can create lasting impressions on others,” Matthews says. “Alautus seeks to uplift, encourage, and cloak women in confidence. We can build our lives on our own terms, build a career on our own terms, and we should dress on our own terms.”
Alautus—a mashup of Matthews’ first name and lautus, the Latin root for elegant or refined—provides women with made-to-measure designs as well as limited edition, ready-to-wear selections in small batches. Aiming to fit all body shapes and sizes, the company says its pieces are made with high-quality fabrics that create a classic, enduring wardrobe for its customers.
“We see being able to customize the fit and style of the garment to your body and style preferences as the ultimate form of luxury,” Matthews says.
Through the Alautus website, customers can arrange for on-site fittings or for virtual sizing and design calls. Full bespoke design packages are available, as are full measurement profiles to guide the custom garment’s creation.
Matthews says the upscale custom pieces are made in the heart of New York’s garment district by a small-production studio partner, whose name she declines to disclose.
After “closing in” on her first-year sales goal—securing 100 customers through organic networking, with no marketing—Matthews now is working to add more styles to the collection, planning for pop-up events across the U.S., and hoping down the road to open a retail location in the Dallas area.
Other companies, like Sumissura and Tom James, seem to offer clothing options that are similar to Alautus’s. But, Matthews says, “There are not many companies who offer women’s custom suiting. We have to prove to our customers that a custom-fit garment is significantly better than an off-the-rack ill-fitting suit.”
Professional Sports’ Youngest GC
Bootstrapping the startup thus far, as she has, seems characteristic of Matthews, a willfully minded Toronto native who’s played ice hockey herself since childhood.
When the family moved to Pennsylvania when she was 7, she got a short haircut and became the only girl on a boy’s hockey team. After attending SMU’s Dedman School of Law, she landed a gig with the Stars legal department in 2014 to combine her two loves: the law and hockey.
The youngest general counsel for a professional sports team, Matthews negotiated naming-rights agreements, deals with local governments, and acquisition of the Texas Stars, an American Hockey League minor league affiliate in Cedar Park, Texas.
Her stint with the Stars taught her several lessons she’s applying at Alautus.
“First, everything starts and ends with the customer. We should be customer-focused at all times,” Matthews says. “Second, my time in professional sports taught me to always look for the positive and have a short memory for losses. Every game, every customer, every day is a new opportunity to win.
“Lastly, we had a phrase that always stuck with me while working with the team: ‘Do today what others won’t—and do tomorrow what others can’t.’ I love that mentality.”
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