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Best Areas in the U.S. for Tailoring?


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#37 Kevin Koch

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 06:07 AM

Yes, despite Dirks concerns, there are really very few "real" tailors about. I am sure you can find alterationists that can and do custom work, but they are few and far between and I guarantee they don't do enough custom work to warrant an apprentice.

America really needs a proper tailoring school... you hear that Mr. Koch?? ;D

Received, loud and clear... (sigh)

So I should keep looking for a personal financial sponsor, right?
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#38 Todd Hudson

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 08:48 AM

A proper tailoring school will require a proper modern text book as well.

#39 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 09:01 AM

Proper modern text books (plural) and it can be done.
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#40 Svenn

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 07:22 AM

I think the biggest gathering of bespoke clients on the internet is on styleforum, and I know of probably a dozen members on there in the Pacific Northwest and San Fran... but they all go out of the country for bespoke.

#41 Dirk

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:05 AM

I suppose what I mean is the description of the people - like for example in Portland, OR they are very laid back and almost hippie-like. The town I am talking about is Rice Lake, WI. It is rather rural, but they have a large hospital there and a university.

I wonder how one would make a chart of statistics about tailors per capita each state, along with actual numbers, and which sells the most per capita. That is mostly what I was trying to find out, was if there were any such charts anywhere.

I'll do what you've said, contacting the fabric reps.

Edited by Dirk, 17 August 2011 - 11:08 AM.


#42 Todd Hudson

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 06:34 AM

Duchess is doing very well in Portland despite your perception of the population. However, last time I checked, the suits are not constructed in Portland so they have no master on site to teach you. Portland also has a downtown full of professionals who may live in the nicer outskirts of the city.

Read the income descriptions for the following two tiny towns and tell me where are you gonna sell more suits:
http://en.wikipedia....Lake,_Wisconsin
http://en.wikipedia....ointe,_Michigan


Rice Lake is good for snowmobile/boat motor mechanics.

#43 Dirk

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:37 AM

Naturally Grosse Pointe would sell more suits, as it is a rich suburb of Detroit. I don't dispute that Portland would be good for business - I just don't like it, which bred the search for a different place to live. But Portland is looking very good right now: I'm not going to move to a city any bigger than Portland, and any city smaller that would give decent enough business would be too far away from family. I was inquiring about cities around that are of Wisconsin because a lot of rather distant family lives there and I've always wanted to get closer to them.

That Duchess firm definitely looks like it's from Portland, what with the gaudiness of their clothes.

#44 Kerry

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 04:29 PM

I suppose what I mean is the description of the people - like for example in Portland, OR they are very laid back and almost hippie-like. The town I am talking about is Rice Lake, WI. It is rather rural, but they have a large hospital there and a university.

I wonder how one would make a chart of statistics about tailors per capita each state, along with actual numbers, and which sells the most per capita. That is mostly what I was trying to find out, was if there were any such charts anywhere.

I'll do what you've said, contacting the fabric reps.


There is a site in the UK called Up My Street, which gives demographics for areas, I looked at it for when we moved so we could hopefully settle with "like minded" people. It is very sepcific, down to the street. I have found a version for the US for you, this one only covers the whole city though.

http://profiles.nati...regon/Portland/

It wont give you all the tailors information but it will give you an idea of the wealth, age and lifestyle of the various areas/cities you search. Combine that with the reps information and you can probably make a good analysis.

#45 Dirk

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:42 AM

Yes, thank you for that - I've been looking for something similar.

What do you all think about having your shop in your house/apartment until you make enough to have a separate building?

#46 jeffrey2117

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

Hello Dirk,

In my experience, an area of 600-2000 population is for when you hit the lottery and wish to retire.

You will find that you work out of your home because you did not want to be rid of your lifetime of tailoring knowledge and skills.

You will find mostly alterations from retired to the countryside professionals, a.k.a., gentleman farmers, ranchers, etc.. Not many requests for bespoke garments.

The clients who will bring you clothes from 1950's to 1970's to be relined or adjusted and be shocked by your modern prices.

The residents will bring you tractor seats and saddle items and daughters who bought wedding dress on ebay that does not fit at all and needs in three days!

The best part of living at this location was the local farmers would invite me to dinner or the wives would make me canned food goods and homemade pies, which were fantastic.

The local dentist was willing to accept, alterations, food or half a goat in payment if you could not pay in normal funds.

I still own a home and property in the town and returning for retirement if that day arrives.

If this is the lifestyle you wish to choose, I will wish you the best as a small town tailor.

Regards

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#47 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:39 AM

In Houston we have about 20 custom tailors. They are selling their 'handmade' suits for 179$ and lesser.

I think the word 'custom' in the USA is a word of American garbage. Maybe they use custom buttons...

So I understand, there are no tailors needed cause there are no customers who want to spend money.

I really think the tailor hype is fake, there are still too many bespoke tailors in the western world. The Hong Kong Tailors are cheaper and people love it to save money.

It is a nice hobby to make your own suits and it is terribly difficult and complex accompanied by lucky coincidences to finally learn the trade but I think now before you become a tailor do some other degree in a university or learn some other trade before you get to the journey of tailoring. Tailoring only pays off for a couple of tailors in this world if they are a tip top tailors only otherwise you go to bed hungry.

Edited by Der Zuschneider, 22 March 2012 - 04:40 AM.

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#48 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:45 AM

Schneider

Seit einigen Jahren liegt die Arbeitslosigkeit in diesem Bereich bei fast 50 Prozent. Nur ein wenig besser sieht es beim Textilgestalter aus, die Prognosen sind langfristig aber auch da schlecht, da sich die Textilbranche fast komplett ins Ausland verlagert hat. Alternative: Bekleidungstechniker bzw. Bekleidungstechnische Assistenten. Allerdings ist dies mittlerweile eher ein Reise- und Managementjob, der oft akademische Weiterqualifikation fordert. Bei großem Talent ist ein Modedesign-Studium ratsam.

Face the Reality, maybe someone will translate it.
Tailor: 50% unemployment! The answer is simple, to many tailors in the western world, period.
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#49 Nishijin

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:10 AM

DZ, maybe there aren't customers in Houston, Texas, and you choose your place wrong. Maybe there are customers, but you can't reach them.

But you are right on one thing : tailoring is a luxury market, you have to be amongst the best. Are you better than Honk Kong tailors ? If not, then why should someone pay more for your work ? If yes, then you have to work on your marketing strategy to find your customers. It is not enough to be a good tailor, one also needs to be a decent businessman, because it's a business !

Tailoring is no longer a mass market. It is a small niche.
http://www.paulgrassart.com

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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#50 Todd Hudson

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 05:47 AM

My cloth rep does a ton of business in Texas! However, the real cutters have died (on the table) so most of the suits are made outside of Texas except for Despos and very few others.

I picked up a client in Austin, the capital of Texas where the politicians meet. He could not trust any of the Austin tailors so he came to me.

Don't mess with Texas. They are buying suits. I'm sure there are many men out there who would prefer to use a local cutter and pay more because they are dissatisfied with MTM.

There is so much money in Houston. Old oil money. Rich to the bones. George Bush Sr. lives there.
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#51 greger

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:04 PM

In the past everybody with a brain knew that real tailors were tops in the clothing business. Todays world many younger people don't even know what tailoring is, so they need to be educated. In the past customers didn't always know who were the real tailors and who were the frauds, and even how to tell the difference between good and poor tailors. As a boy I listened to my granddad answer questions being careful not to step on different opinions of other good tailors. And tailors who lacked work (suits, etc.) often made up the difference with modern and/or other clothes. Then as now it is about charging a certain amount per hour no matter what clothes you make. If you are good you can charge a lot. If you add fast to that, then you can make a lot more $$$$. In the past the best tailors, because of demand, could limit the choice of clothes they made and turn down the rest. With the lack of demand of "choice clothes" then the tailor made whatever he had to to stay in business. There are always some who will pay more for a better product, so real tailors need to market themselves to these people. In the US the Chamber of Commerce can help, as can joining the Yacht Club, Golf Club, Elks Club and so on, plus advertisements in local publications (that richer people read) including internet advertising.
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#52 dkst

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:36 PM

DZ: If I lived near Houston, and could afford it, I would love to commission clothing from you. I think you will do very well once you reach the right customers.

People with money want something that's beyond ordinary, something that other people can't get, and something unique to them. Once they've tried all the MTM brands and realize they are all the same, they will graduate to something better. I think a lot of Americans buy bespoke out of country because they are under the impression that clothing made in England or Italy is more exclusive (which is probably the case because it's more difficult to get). Of course the same quality clothes can be made in America, it's just more satisfying to tell your peers that you got it somewhere exotic. I believe a lot of it has to do with the customers perception of what they are buying.

Very interestingly to me, Chris Despos doesn't even have a website. He probably doesn't advertise at all. His business has just gradually grown over the years to become very successful. I wonder if this is as likely in today's world, or if you need a simple but impressive website to get off the ground initially. In any case, word of mouth is probably a very powerful marketing tool once you infiltrate the right groups of customers.

I refuse to believe bespoke tailoring is dead. It's just too great of an art to let go. I'm optimistic that it will come around and become a profitable business for those invested in it, given the interest in magazines and popular media lately in all things hand made. Younger generations now are more conscious of things being mass-produced vs. organic or hand made, and once those people grow up and get real jobs there will be an increased demand for hand made goods. Of course I'm just speculating as an outsider, and it's easy for me to say, because I'm not invested in this business as most of you guys are.

#53 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:47 AM

DZ: If I lived near Houston, and could afford it, I would love to commission clothing from you. I think you will do very well once you reach the right customers.

People with money want something that's beyond ordinary, something that other people can't get, and something unique to them. Once they've tried all the MTM brands and realize they are all the same, they will graduate to something better. I think a lot of Americans buy bespoke out of country because they are under the impression that clothing made in England or Italy is more exclusive (which is probably the case because it's more difficult to get). Of course the same quality clothes can be made in America, it's just more satisfying to tell your peers that you got it somewhere exotic. I believe a lot of it has to do with the customers perception of what they are buying.

Very interestingly to me, Chris Despos doesn't even have a website. He probably doesn't advertise at all. His business has just gradually grown over the years to become very successful. I wonder if this is as likely in today's world, or if you need a simple but impressive website to get off the ground initially. In any case, word of mouth is probably a very powerful marketing tool once you infiltrate the right groups of customers.

I refuse to believe bespoke tailoring is dead. It's just too great of an art to let go. I'm optimistic that it will come around and become a profitable business for those invested in it, given the interest in magazines and popular media lately in all things hand made. Younger generations now are more conscious of things being mass-produced vs. organic or hand made, and once those people grow up and get real jobs there will be an increased demand for hand made goods. Of course I'm just speculating as an outsider, and it's easy for me to say, because I'm not invested in this business as most of you guys are.


You are right, I just finished my last suit a couple of days and I am now ready to take customers. Advertising don't help too much, word of mouth is the only solution and starts with a couple of customers. I cannot expect to find customers in a couple of days when I even wasn't walking around in the Mega prosperity church around the corner here where every Sunday meet 35000 People, to get peace to understand why they got so rich and others don't, LOL. Soon Jodek will meet me here maybe he has some ideas when he see my quality. Despos is well known since 30 years. I am maybe 20 years younger than him and very healthy and can succeed those years later. Bespoke tailoring is not too dead I just have to steal other Tailors the customers for a while. Americans don’t like to travel around for a suit if they know there is someone around who can do similar good quality. No tailor is perfect and a tailor never stops learning and trying new things. And if I get customers I need people which I will train to make the trousers, maybe 2 apprentices or so…
www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#54 arthurkrichevsky

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 10:11 AM

Hello,

I reside in St. Louis, Missouri and my family has owned and managed 3 tailor shops since they first moved to the united states. Our best branch is located in Chesterfield, Missouri which is where the wealthier citizens of St. Louis reside in more of a county/country environment. I think understanding the socioeconomic class of the area is important because the people in Chesterfield are wealthy and educated yet have never sewn a button, so our tailor shop does jobs such as sewing a button back on, sewing patches onto clothing and other very simple alterations simply because we are the only source for such work and the money is not an issue to clients (even for the most menial jobs). Our location in the more city part of St. Louis does well because it is conveniently located between all of the St. Louis colleges as well 2 catholic girls schools and very wealthy neighborhoods. All of these components add to our ability to gain clients. We do not provide any bespoke services, yet, but that is hopefully going to come.

To summarize... Study socioeconomic classes... are they wealthy enough to pay for alterations or would they prefer to buy a new pair at walmart? The culture... Are these people that grew up doing things for themselves by hand or were they born with a silver spoon in their mouths?---Not criticizing here! Just making valid points!

I believe alteration tailoring is a great business venture and if that is not your main focus... Then providing alteration services on the side couldn't hurt your bottom line! (Buttons for $5, Hem for $15, etc.)
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