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#19 saveira

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:02 AM

I have read everyone response over and over and I must admit that I also have a very big problem. My demand is greater that the supply because when I started sewing, both my prices and my confidence were very very low. I set out to master this trade ignoring the loss of profit. I am a perfectionist in sewing and nothing is good enough, even when customers complemented me I felt they were complimenting the prices. I barely make enough money to pay the bills, but I continued because I love what I am doing. Recently, it hit me that I have made a mark - I can fit anyone who comes into my shop (Thanks to this forum) - so why not try my hand at something else and make some more money to cover the bills. I have all the necessary equipments (ie three industrial machines, 1 hemmer, 1 domestic machine for button holes only) I then placed an ad on the newspaper (to sew dinner dresses, bridesmaid and casual dresses) The response was great. The customer will choose a dress style from the internet or a magazine and I will duplicate the style and fit the customer. This is not as easy as it seems, since I do everything on my own. It sometimes takes days to complete one item. When you do get the money it is already spent. Right now I am wondering if I have what it takes to hire someone to help or if I am to chicken or too laid back in what I am doing. I need to make some serious decision soon because I now have the confidence. The problem is how? Thanks for listening!!!!!

#20 Sator

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:11 AM

^ Sounds like you need to start a new thread (probably in this business forum), Saveira. That's a big topic in itself, hiring staff.

#21 jcsprowls

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:42 AM

@SG. I would concur that your management needs to think about getting rid of that guarantee policy. The customer has changed - they're now interpreting the guarantee as a 'free ride' policy.

@Saveira. The problem you describe is scaling your business. You need to focus on narrowing your service offering (i.e. you can't do suits and gowns - don't even try), standardizing work processes and establishing fair rates and pricing procedures. Then, you can hire staff because you can tie performance criteria to your pricing model. Said another way: you cannot delegate work until you've automated the processes to the point it can be managed.
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#22 greger

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 11:03 AM

Saveira-
Before you hire you need to raise you prices. When you hire somebody the over head goes up. It probably goes something like this- you pay $10 an hour to the employee, plus over $10 an hour more in taxes and etc. It is far better to raise your prices until you find out the max you can raise them.

Custom clothing is a luxury, and luxury is $$$$, so you might as well enjoy the extra $$$$ from those who have the extra $$$$. Afterall, they are out to spend some of that extra $$$$, so you might as well take it. And don't ever feel sorry about taking honest money from the rich- take it (they don't need it).

#23 Schneidergott

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:19 AM

Our return policy is not the problem. In fact it's just what the law says.
The problem is the way our marketing division is presenting it to our customers:

"Perfect fit is guaranteed or else money back, no questions asked!
"Perfect fit is hard to achieve, especially since we don't have a large influence on the final quality of make we get in the first place (which is often causing a bad fit, equally to falsely taken measurements). Plus every tailor has a different view about fit and size.
Add to that the rather excessive use of the word "Maß" (equivalent to bespoke or custom made in Germany) and you'll end up with artificially raised expectations.
Since our customers are from a time and age where bespoke was more present in every day's life they have a different understanding of that term.

Sadly, there is no way to tell our "strategists" to change their approach.
BTW, totally overbearing customers are blocked for our MTM (if the first attempt had failed), but that's my superiors task to decide. Every now and then she blocks a customer because he (or his wife) dared to object to her view of things... :spiteful:

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#24 saveira

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 09:38 AM

^ Sounds like you need to start a new thread (probably in this business forum), Saveira. That's a big topic in itself, hiring staff.


Thank you Sator, I really need some help, so I will take your advice (but I think is about me and the way that I manage things.) I received some advice from two members and I am certainly going to do something about it.

#25 saveira

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 09:55 AM

@SG. I would concur that your management needs to think about getting rid of that guarantee policy. The customer has changed - they're now interpreting the guarantee as a 'free ride' policy.

@Saveira. The problem you describe is scaling your business. You need to focus on narrowing your service offering (i.e. you can't do suits and gowns - don't even try), standardizing work processes and establishing fair rates and pricing procedures. Then, you can hire staff because you can tie performance criteria to your pricing model. Said another way: you cannot delegate work until you've automated the processes to the point it can be managed.


Thank you very much for the advice. I was quite excited about gowns until I read your comments, up until two months ago, I was sewing Ladies Suits only but I got bored with doing the same thing over and over. I am going to start a new thread asking for advice on standardization, procedures etc. In this new thread, is is possible you can explain the term "automated the processes"? Thank you in advance. Saveira. Your advice is well appreciated.

#26 saveira

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:07 AM

Saveira-
Before you hire you need to raise you prices. When you hire somebody the over head goes up. It probably goes something like this- you pay $10 an hour to the employee, plus over $10 an hour more in taxes and etc. It is far better to raise your prices until you find out the max you can raise them.

Custom clothing is a luxury, and luxury is $$, so you might as well enjoy the extra $$ from those who have the extra $$. Afterall, they are out to spend some of that extra $$, so you might as well take it. And don't ever feel sorry about taking honest money from the rich- take it (they don't need it).


Thank you for your invaluable advice. You make me laugh because you hit the nail right on the head. I sew very very fast, so I feel guilty and charge less than I should. My goodness, I really do need to change my thinking. Thanks again. Saveira

#27 Sator

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 01:14 AM

Generally speaking, with all this internet hype about the "artisans" and handwork and special styling features from different countries and cities, aspiring customers demand much more from the tailors of their choice, or better the tailor they can or have to choose because of their financial situation.
They want lots of (real) handwork, Napoli styling elements, drape cut and what not. Sadly they are, more often than not, not willing to pay for it.


I've been thinking about this.

There is one local shirtmaker who used to run a blog but has taken it down because the young clients it attracted off the internet were aggresively demanding but unwilling to pay for all of this overhyped ("fatto a mane") handwork etc. On the other hand there are others who have managed the extra demand better - by putting up their prices! You want special details, you can pay for it.

On the other extreme is one tailor who instantly kicks prospective clients out of his shop whenever they start to spout "forumspeak" eg artisans, handwork, spally comechias (known in Italy as the manica camicia), waterfall shoulders, drape cuts (superior to all other "silhouettes" as the forum indoctrinated call it).

#28 Schneidergott

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 04:18 AM

On the other extreme is one tailor who instantly kicks prospective clients out of his shop whenever they start to spout "forumspeak" eg artisans, handwork, spally comechias (known in Italy as the manica camicia), waterfall shoulders, drape cuts (superior to all other "silhouettes" as the forum indoctrinated call it).


That's probably a good way to avoid trouble. Or he could just establish a "house style".

Spalla X? No, Sir!

Drape? No, Sir!

I still find that there is a thin line between a customer who simply knows what he wants (proper workmanship, decent fit and such) and those fools who have a very unrealistic view of their body and who demand things which are simply impossible.
Every now and then we have a couple coming in where the wife demands a clean fitting back for her old and crooked husband. No folds, no wrinkles, nothing. Since those people hardly ever choose a decent fabric ("My husband sweats easily") this is an almost impossible task. If they overdo it, we just take the suit back and that's it.

But I have one colleague who is overdoing the fit improvements: A stronger waist suppression by millimetres and other little details for which he spends hours on end correcting. So in the end we have a MTM suit for 700,- Euro (paid by the customer) with an additional alteration cost of 300,- Euro (paid by the company).
Even if that customer orders another suit, we are practically loosing money because he will demand the same little details in the fit!

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#29 greger

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:02 AM

There is one local shirtmaker who used to run a blog but has taken it down because the young clients it attracted off the internet were aggresively demanding but unwilling to pay for all of this overhyped ("fatto a mane") handwork etc. On the other hand there are others who have managed the extra demand better - by putting up their prices! You want special details, you can pay for it.

On the other extreme is one tailor who instantly kicks prospective clients out of his shop whenever they start to spout "forumspeak" eg artisans, handwork, spally comechias (known in Italy as the manica camicia), waterfall shoulders, drape cuts (superior to all other "silhouettes" as the forum indoctrinated call it).


One way to deal with this is to have a posted "menue" price list. The basic no freils garment cost so much. The price of Extras gets added on. This way the customer can figure out how mcuh they will have to pay without asking or seeing the final bill in shock. Be right up front that extras cost more money, and the price list puts the cost of these in "concrete", or, out of the bargaining range. Some business that I have dlealt wtih said that I might as well go to some other company that already does these things better and cheaper.

Skinflints are shown the door. (Skinflints don't respect hard work, or don't understand how much hard work there is.)
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#30 jcsprowls

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 08:06 AM

To Greger's point, a standard pricelist is precisely what I mean. You have to standardize your processes, though, to establish a fair timetable. The rate is whatever your market/customer will bear. At minimum, you need to be able to measure and forecast how long it will take so the invoice is always fair and the delivery dates are consistent.
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#31 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 04:15 PM

On the other extreme is one tailor who instantly kicks prospective clients out of his shop whenever they start to spout "forumspeak" eg artisans, handwork, spally comechias (known in Italy as the manica camicia), waterfall shoulders, drape cuts (superior to all other "silhouettes" as the forum indoctrinated call it).


That's right, I will throw them out as well, cause those are problem overbearing customers who want to teach me my tailoring.
www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#32 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 04:26 PM

Custom clothing is a luxury, and luxury is $$$$, so you might as well enjoy the extra $$$$ from those who have the extra $$$$. Afterall, they are out to spend some of that extra $$$$, so you might as well take it. And don't ever feel sorry about taking honest money from the rich- take it (they don't need it).


This is how I think, I don't worry about prices I just make one. I am not even fiddling with extras.
The customer gets a handmade suit that fits him well. I give a shit on Napoli and drape and waterfall and whatever... Don't make cheap prices if you know you are good, get rid of special education customers who cannot afford, they only bother. Also get rid of smart ass overbearing customers. I will not tailor to pay my bills I will tailor for fun therefore I will be expensive!
www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#33 CharlieO

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 05:48 PM

some bad customer experiences in China:

1. drunken men
scenario:
- Order: order a suit with his friends. i assume they just came out of a restaurant, with red face (probably drunk).
difficult to distinguish between midnight-blue and black colours.
- Baiste Fitting: facing the mirror, found himself difficult to stand steadily.
still red face (another after-dinner visit) with alcoholic smell.
- Second Try-on: facing the mirror, standing upfront (9 out of 10 found the back of jacket not hanging right.)
- Pick-up: never turn up within two years. Two years later, he put on weight and the suit never fits...
solutions:
no rush to take order, ask them to come back during day time.

2. Marrying Couple, coming with dads and moms
scenario:
- there has been a general trend in Shanghai that local people have to make a suit for his wedding.
- the couple normally comes with their daddies and mummies (a group of at least six comes together for ONE suit)
- the groom normally does not pay the suit for himself - normally payment is settled by brides' parents.
- this kind of clients normally look for package offers (like one suit plus a few shirts, etc..).
- the group turns up every weekend, while both-side parents normally has differnent opinions (e.g. 1/16" longer/shorter)
- pick up the suit one day before their wedding, got paid in cash.
- two days later, got the suit "washed"(yes, down the washing machine!) coz' wine spilled on the jacket during wedding.
- bring back the suit and ask for full refund (wow, better then renting!).
- if refused to refund, the whole family would probably spend their weekend in your premise,
mama shouting "how badly tailored!" all day long. The wearer, however, would never state a word.
- for packages, they would probably not returning the shirts/ties/cufflinks thrown in, but still request for full refund.
solutions:
Has to refund, but need to charge for the used garments (e.g. shirts) being thrown in.
Can argue with these ill-mannered, if you bare the risks losing clients during busy-traffic periods.
Most of these cases are caused by out-budgeted wedding expenditure.
Has to be really careful on these kind of customers, best to recommend good-valued fabrics, not so high priced.
Really bad moments... :Doh:

#34 Martin Stall

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 05:58 PM

Ow. Bad. Are you serious that the law there says you have to refund, even if they put it in the washing machine???
Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

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#35 Nishijin

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 07:28 PM

Martin, problem is not the law. Problem is they make a scandal in the shop in business hours (which if I understand it well, is 24h/24 in Shanghai :shock: ). You have to refund to make them leave and do not afraid other customers.

I have a different solution : I do not make wedding suits (except maybe for people who are already customers). I say I cannot garantee delivery on time, as in bespoke many things can happen, so they should go to tailors who can.
Very few wedding suits buyer come again later anyway, so it's no big deal.
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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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#36 Martin Stall

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:26 PM

Yeah, I know. I've had that experience.

What can I say. It's a shame that for fear of a bad reputation you have to refund money though. It's ridiculous. They wash a frikkin suit???? Clueless people.

What if I buy a normal car. I take it to the racing track, and I blow up the engine. Do you think they would refund the money? No matter what kind of a scene I make or how I threaten them to create a bad reputation, I won't get my money back.
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Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

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