Saturday, November 7, 2015

No Custom Orders

In a discussion on social media with some friends who are expert seamstresses, we fell into a fairly normal topic of "Why we don't do Custom Order work."   The true answer is that most of us have had very bad experiences with people who don't understand that our time and labor aren't free.  The vast majority of people who want to have custom work done, will ask for a quote, and then change all of the parameters and expect the original price to remain constant. 

My most memorable example was a woman who needed a couple of southern belle dresses made to promote a business.  She explained that she would need the dresses to relatively comfortable and machine washable for multiple uses.  She pointed out one of my rather simple rental dresses, which is shown above but no longer in the regular rental line.  The customer asked how much would the labor cost be to make a dress like that one if she provided the materials.  I quoted about $100 - $150 figuring that I could make the dress in about a day and knowing that most people will bring yardage but no 'notions' like lining, interfacing, zipper, hooks or thread.  So I left myself some 'wiggle room' and knew she would be happier if the job came in under budget.

A few days later, she returned with a trash bag full of hastily folded yellow satin (which is NOT machine washable) a giant tangle of lace, loose silk flowers and random ribbons and other trims.  She proudly announced "Here you are!  And I even have the pattern."  She handed me the pattern shown below and wondered WHY I told her that it would cost at least three times more.  She had no concept that the job had suddenly become 10 time harder and that $300 or more on the labor would be a bargain.

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