Small Business Tailoring
I am new to Gatherings and have just spent the last 30 minutes reading from the archives. It is so great to hear of others that love to create with the tools of the trade. I have been in business for myself for about one year after working as a tailor doing alterations on beautiful label suits for men and women…. but with no where to go in the business. So I decided to take the plunge and go out on my own. I have some great clients that I only do alterations for and others that I custom sew garments for.
A support group would be wonderful for all of those who, like me, love to make each piece more beautiful than the one before and have on occasion been told to “get a life” because of the passion I have for the work I do.
Can anyone give me sources for quality cloth? (Jo-Anns and Hancocks are all that is locally available and I want to offer my clients more)
Oh, and as far as $…. the years of work to develope a skill such as designing, drafting and tailoring can’t be compared with a job of repetitious seaming ( all repect to Union Garment Workers USA )
Debbie, you can do this and have a life too. I've done it for 40+years and its still not old or boring. You meet nice people and learn new things all the time. problem solving is the great part of it for me. I was trained in a men's tailoring shop. for fabrics try: "G"Street Fabrics in Baltimore, Thai Silks - CA, and DiCarlo in Boston. I've used them all and been very pleased for quality and price. Also look in the classifieds in the back of THREADS for other fabric sources. all of the above have 800 #'s.
*Debbie & Bill: I agree it is not boring. I find that working in the garment industry as an entrepreneur keeps my creativity well exercised. On top of the textiles and surface designs, the actual pattern making and construction skills there is still the stretch of re-inventing and honing my skills so that an actual living can be made. Right now I do some custom work, some theater work and also produce a small mail order catalog of garments and bags. It's tons of work, but like you Bill, I find it really rewarding. Sarah
*Bill, Thank you for the info. I currently receive swatches from "G"Street, but have not purchased from them. I wish that the swatches were larger. I don't need a "pretty" page. I am used to 5"x 8" books of cloth (which are much easier to show and sell from) I am glad to hear that you have had success with the quality of the cloth from "G"Street, so I won't hesitate to purchase from them. I will contact DiCarlo, and how do you feel about Fabrics in Vogue? Are they still in business? What sources do you use for hair canvas, wigan, etc?Since you have been doing the business part of tailoring, can you tell me what has been the most sucessful way of advertising for you?
*Debbie, I haven't ever dealt with Fabrics in Vogue. Look in the back of THREADS and see if they still advertise. For all tailoring supplies I use ATLANTA THREAD & TAILORING SUPPLY 800# available. As to advertisng myself, in 40 years I have never used it - strictly word of mouth recommendation and introduction to potential customers. I tend to be picky about whom I work for and with, so I have relied on good customer recommendatins both to me and about me. This has worked excellently for me. Only have had 3 customers I couln't and wouldn't work with or for. I got a good customer base (about 20 ) from the customers at dress shops where I went to do the fittings. Over years have made friends out of the customers and it has been lovely. Bill
*Bill,Oops! My mistake. The name is Vogue Fabrics by Mail and the site is ....I have an old catalog given to me by a friend. I have used their cloth. Tell me what you think. Am thinking of getting my own subscription.It sounds like you are going about business pretty much the way that I do but with more experience into it. I don't hesitate to give my card to my clients and they do pass it around.Learning how to pick the right clients just takes some time? Or do you have some insight here. Thank you so much. It is nice to hear from you.Debbie
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