Being a skilled tradesman is hard

This weeks collection of jobs and customers has been a mixed bag. I love doing contract sewing work, it’s varied, never boring, and not repetitious. Every project is as unique as the customer who brings it to me. However, the customers are not always the best people to deal with. Anyone who has worked in customer service understands the plight of dealing with difficult or ignorant people. For me, sewing for other seamstresses is the most stressful thing. When you sew for another seamstress that you just met, you don’t know her skill level or her perfectionism level. The way she sews is most likely different from the way I sew. This week I’ve had two seamstresses come to me with projects. One who understands and one who didn’t see the value in my pricing.

In general, whether they are a seamstress or not, I will come across customers that do not understand why getting custom clothing or a custom project made costs so much money. This is a point of contention for me because this is my life, sewing is my business, my hobby, my love, my passion, my reason for living, and my means of making a living. It hurts my soul when someone comes at me like I’m overpriced when I charging less than anyone else in my field or area. Mind you I do charge enough to cover all costs and make a profit, which is what you do in business. However, there are very few professional seamstresses in Mesa, AZ in general. Most of them only do alterations. I do a little of everything. Alterations, custom clothing, costumes, home decor, prototypes, accessories, embroidery, leather work, and much more. My businesses’ tag line is “If it can be sewn, we can sew it” for a reason and trust me I’ve sewn some weird things. My favorite is still the AstroTruf Dog Bed.

All that to say that I am not Wal-mart, I am not an overseas mass-market manufacturer, I am an artisan, a tradesman with a unique and finely honed skill. The price you’re paying for me to make something is not for the thing itself, it’s for me to make. You’re paying for a service that took that person years and years of work and study and labor to earn the right to charge money for and to call themselves a professional. Do not undermine that by thinking that getting anything custom made should cost what you would spend in the store for it!

Sorry for the rant but I have had a few of these kinds of customers this week and it makes my heart hurt when people treat what I do as something unnecessarily overpriced. It would be one thing if they were like “Oh wow, I didn’t realize how much that would cost, I just can’t afford it” but no these customers were like “I’m not paying that much for an XYZ, that’s ridiculous!”. There is a huge difference.

Custom anything is expensive because you’re paying for a skilled trade.

*end rant*

Custom Apron

It is always really interesting to see my customers ideas. This custom apron job came to me via a reference from my mail man. I had done some alterations for him and when he heard someone was looking for a seamstress he recommended me. I love hear how people found me. I get a lot of word of mouth business. This apron was a custom request for the owner of a local barber shop. He’s young and the barber shop is modern and trendy. At first when he said he wan’t leather and rabbit fur I was a little put off by it. But it’s what he wanted and I can work in leather. When he brought me the fabric I wasn’t sure how good it would come out because of the combination of fabrics. But when you do custom work, you do what the customer wants and curb your own style. The only time I ever nah-say a customers ideas is when it’s more difficult to construct or there might be construction issues. However, it’s more of an advisory regarding extra cost for a longer sewing time or some construction issue like two fabrics not being able to be sewn together because it might be too bulky or unappealing to the eye. This was one of those situations. I was concerned about the thickness of the leather suede material and the rabbit fur pockets. It was tricky and I advise him that lining the rabbit fur pockets with another layer of rabbit fur would be thick. Which is was, but it wasn’t impossible to sew. I was able to make it work. He wanted it to be black and red. I had some thin pig suede lying around so I added the red stripe to the top, the pockets, and the bottom. Just to break up the black a little. It came out a lot better than I thought it would. I still have mixed feelings about the rabbit fur pockets. For one, I had a moment while sewing them, when I thought about what it was I was really working with. It made me very sad when I thought about all the bunnies that died for these pockets. I don’t think I want to work in real fur anymore. But other than that this outrageous idea came out better than I thought it would and I actually like it. #arizona #contractsewing #mesa #seamstressproblems  #seamtress #sewing #wolfchilddesigns

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