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.