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You Lose Ten Clients not Just One


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#1 Sator

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 10:36 PM

Words from a successful old tailor who managed to retire at age 45. He sold his store to man who proceeded to bankrupt the business within a couple of years of taking over a successful shop that had been going for decades.

 

Where had the new owner gone wrong? The answer, my friend suggested, was that the new owner was bad at customer relationships. It was impossible to go into the shop just for a chat and cup of coffee. No, he was forever trying to force you to buy a pair of socks etc. He was pushy.

 

When something went wrong, instead of trying to placate the client, he would be confrontational. My friend said to me, these types go back to the office and blabber: "you don't lose one client....you lose ten".

 

Old tailors are forever at me about how important it is to be a good businessperson first and foremost. Being a good tailor alone isn't going to translate to success. 

 

Don't neglect the importance of business skills.



#2 jeffrey2117

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:10 PM

Hello Sator,

Good business skills, time management, budgeting, marketing and communication skill as the local subject matter expert as a Tailor are all essential to success this business.

I took over my Tailoring business from the previous owners when they retired. I received a rude financial wake up after the first year.

A few years later, I was able to identify a decline in economy. I began expanding my services by taking more alteration requests.

I received and followed advice from successful businessmen and found the best Certified accountant to assist and advise me.

Marketing my skills to the public, word of mouth and online website advertisement have greatly benefitted me.

This is the electronic age, we should take advantage of this new technology!


Kind regards

Jeffrey2117
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#3 Sator

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:26 PM

Great advice:

 

Good business skills, time management, budgeting, marketing and communication skill as the local subject matter expert as a Tailor are all essential to success this business.

 

I have had wise old heads particularly emphasise the importance of communication skills. 

 

But I also know of one business that went bankrupt due to poor budgeting around the time of the GFC. Fiscal discipline is important!



#4 Martin Stall

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:59 AM

Everything stands or falls with one single thing: trust-based relationships. Without that, nothing else will save your bacon.

 

Especially with something so personal as clothing.

 

Without trust, people don't buy, that's just a fact. It explains how that shop went down: if the new owner started to foist products on his customers, it tells them he's not working in their interest but that his own interests are more important than theirs.

 

Aside from annoying the crap out of them, it also kills trust and believe me: trust is the one thing you can't do without, when selling something.


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#5 tailleuse

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 08:59 AM

 

 

Where had the new owner gone wrong? The answer, my friend suggested, was that the new owner was bad at customer relationships. It was impossible to go into the shop just for a chat and cup of coffee. No, he was forever trying to force you to buy a pair of socks etc. He was pushy.

 

 

 

Sator,

 

How does this point fit in with your post about tailors' having an increased online presence and possibly leaving commercial districts?  Do you anticipate Skype calls with clients or emails in substitution for the drop-in visits of old?


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Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#6 hutch48

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 09:01 AM

I think its the marketing model that tells you how to respond. If you are selling $50.00 suits, you are trying to shovel them out the door as fast as you can, if you are selling $500.00 suits you have a little time to spend on customers but if you are custom making $5000.00 suits to fit individual clients, you treat them like friends and take your time. Its when you get mis-matches between customers and sales people that you get silly problems. The $50.00 customer probably cannot afford the bus fare to a place where bespoke suits are made, likewise, the $5000.00 suit customer does not want a $5.00 pair of socks shoved down his/her neck when they make a casual enquiry about a new suit.

 

Some time ago I needed a couple of pairs of respectable trousers (something I refuse to try and make) so I went to a friend of mine about my own age who has been a tailor for about 50 years and he tracked down a couple of pairs of hand made trousers. They both fitted OK by my eye but he refused to supply them until he had altered them. He organised them finished for peanuts, done in a couple of days and fitted perfectly. Deal with a pro and you get the holy grail, deal with a dill and you get the run around and end up with junk.


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#7 Sator

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 11:04 AM

 

Sator,

 

How does this point fit in with your post about tailors' having an increased online presence and possibly leaving commercial districts?  Do you anticipate Skype calls with clients or emails in substitution for the drop-in visits of old?

 

In the old days (19th century to pre-WWI) I've read that high-end tailor's shops were discrete and outsiders couldn't see into them. This was to maintain privacy and exclusivity. The twentieth century changed all of that. Big show windows with bright lighting on prominent streets became the norm. Window dressing became an art form and shopkeepers started to display goods for people to look at. That meant that exposure became important. If you had a shop on a main street, there would be lots of people passing by and you would get good exposure. The down side is that it meant that rent would be more expensive.

 

In Italy, I have heard that some tailors still work the old fashioned way. They do not want exposure. They want discretion. They deal only with exclusive clients. Often they will live upstairs from their workshop/showroom. There is no window display at street level. They don't want casual passerby rabble wandering in.

 

The internet may revive the fortunes of the old fashioned method of working. You get to save money by living above your workshop. Yet at the same time you get to maintain exposure in the form of an electronic show window with your website. 

 

This has got nothing to do with clients ordering or being fitted over Skype! Clients find you on the internet. They come to your workshop below your home to order and for fittings.



#8 tailleuse

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 11:09 AM

 

 

This has got nothing to do with clients ordering or being fitted over Skype! Clients find you on the internet. They come to your workshop below your home to order and for fittings.

 

I didn't mean being fitted over Skype.  I was thinking more along the lines of a client might call the tailor to get his or her opinion about shirts or cuff links or shoes.  I would imagine clients stop in to ask questions like that.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#9 Sator

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 11:36 AM

I guess that's another question. It take time to answer the phone. It takes time to answer emails. It takes time to set up a Skype conversation. It takes time to answer enquiries through a Facebook or Twitter work account.

 

Where do you fit all of these things into a busy day? At least you can set time aside to sit down and answer all your email or Facebook inquiries at once. Phone calls are very disruptive. Then there are mobile/cell phone calls anywhere, any time...

 

How do new forms of communication fit into your business schedule?



#10 Martin Stall

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 04:56 PM

 

Sator,

 

How does this point fit in with your post about tailors' having an increased online presence and possibly leaving commercial districts?  Do you anticipate Skype calls with clients or emails in substitution for the drop-in visits of old?

 

That could certainly work, yes. It's a strategic decision.

 

 

The internet may revive the fortunes of the old fashioned method of working. You get to save money by living above your workshop. Yet at the same time you get to maintain exposure in the form of an electronic show window with your website. 

 

I believe it's the way forward, with or without bricks&mortar premises added.


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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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#11 greger

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 12:51 PM

Custom work requires customer satisfaction. Making what you want does not work.



#12 tailleuse

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 04:37 AM

Custom work requires customer satisfaction. Making what you want does not work.

 

I suppose the (huge) key is attracting clients who like what you like or whom you can persuade if they insist on ugly clothes. :LMAO:


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#13 Martin Stall

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 08:48 PM

Ah, the concept of being discerning in which clients to work with. Difficult at times, but sure makes for healthy customer/tailor relationships. Keeps the tailor sane, too. :)


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#14 Sator

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 11:10 PM

I know of a tailors who have 'fired' clients.

 

Usually types who think they know more than the tailor because they read something about drape on the internet. If a client talks about drape think about firing them.  :diablo:



#15 Martin Stall

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 12:10 AM

Ah, ye olde drape debate.

 

A comfortable coat (or indeed a wearable one) will have drape. A suit ordered to have drape is fashion (or fad, depending on one's politics).


Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

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#16 greger

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 06:16 AM

Drape is no skin off the tailors nose, so why the fight?

#17 Martin Stall

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 06:36 AM

Depends, really. If a customer insists on drape while that particular tailor isn't skilled in the style, it'll definitely be a troublesome process. We all have our own methods and styles, and creating a drape coat certainly is more than a matter of just adding some extra width in the chest. There's a whole lot of skill involved in doing it right.


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#18 Sator

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 02:29 PM

It's not the drape that's the problem. In fact, drape is a total non-issue in itself. The problem is that of a client who micromanages the tailor. Usually, these have read up on the internet, and a bad sign of this is when someone drops the term 'drape' into the conversation.






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