Comments on: Why sewing contractors don’t want small lots http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/ How to start a clothing line or run the one you have, better. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:32:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: jacqueline mhttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-183460 Sat, 17 May 2014 13:31:29 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-183460 thank you for wonderful posts
please let me know if you have any contractors for evening wear in the NY area

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By: Darahttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-64697 Wed, 04 Apr 2012 03:47:04 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-64697 Thank you, wonderful post!

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By: Cherylhttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46240 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 18:14:05 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46240 Hi Kathleen,
I love your site and your book. I make a living as a seamstress. Most of my jobs are alterations but I do custom work when people are willing to pay for it. You do not need to apologize for earning your living. You are a business, not a non-profit. I receive phone calls from potential customers. We chat about their project and I add about 40% to what I ‘think’ the labor cost will be. I have under-estimated enough times, I refuse to cheat myself again. The phone call often ends in silence from their end. They think a ‘custom’ job will cost the same as a department/bridal store item…..Umm..no… I refuse to donate my talent. I do charitable work for the local animal shelter. I am a business that needs to make a profit. If you feel strongly about helping small/new designers maybe you should choose how many hours you are willing to donate at the beginning of each year? That’s what I do for charity work. Pick a figure and that’s it…. If they want your ‘training’, they need to pay you for your time. If they cannot afford your time, that is not your problem. A business must make money or close their doors. It really is as simple as that.

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By: Kate Rawlinsonhttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46238 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 17:44:51 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46238 This is all very interesting, but what I don’t understand with the two examples of DEs you gave, is why you don’t charge them for the extra hours? I get the logic that it would take longer for you to return it to them and have them redo their part, but why not bill them for the extra work they’ve caused you? In the case of the DE who ruined the pattern, in an area you’ve written about extensively before, why not just say, look, you did this, here’s where I’ve pointed out this error a million times, and that’s why it’s taken me extra hours to correct.

Maybe I’m being really dim here, but it seems like the worst-case scenario is that they wouldn’t use you in future, but that doesn’t seem to be a great loss. I’m not being snippy here, I just genuinely don’t understand why you wouldn’t bill the clients for extra work if the fault lies with them. (I’ve worked extra hours for nothing in the past because I’ve taken on work and promised to do it within a certain timeframe, but in that scenario the fault – ie that I couldn’t get it done in the time I’d originally estimated – was mine. If they subsequently sent me a load more stuff to do within the same timeframe, I would charge more – which seems like the same equation to me, you’re being asked to do more work beyond what was initially agreed.)

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By: Xochilhttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46235 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 17:05:45 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46235 I think contractors are very aware of not trying to rip off a customer, or appearing that they are, which is one of the reasons for minimums. Whether patterns or sewing, spending more time on a project where you are unable to bill for the extra time, such as a client who changes their design in the middle of the pattern process, or loses a pattern piece between fittings, or the contractor needs to stop a project because the zippers aren’t in, the buttons aren’t in, etc. Each time the client has to be called in to remedy the situation, the contractor loses that time, plus potential opportunity, which no one really thinks about. Thanks Kathleen for being so open on this topic.

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By: Anniehttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46230 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:09:13 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46230 Thanks for showing how things are from the contractor’s perspective. This reminds me of the problems that I have when people want me to use my home sewing skills to make them custom clothing. I used to take almost any job, thinking that any money at all was better than nothing. A while ago I realized that I was much better off turning down almost all of the custom orders because they tend to be so complicated and time-consuming. Now I try to stick to sewing what I already sell, and when that isn’t selling I try to use the extra time to educate myself and improve my business. A lot of customers want products that are more trouble than they’re worth, and it’s so difficult to explain that to them. It’s even worse when people take it personally. This helps me understand how DEs can drive people nuts without even realizing what they are doing.

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By: Jessicahttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46226 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:37:08 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46226 So true. I keep hearing over and over that DE’s can’t find contractors who are willing to work with them on small runs, and this post pretty much sums up one of the biggest reasons why. I imagine most larger contractors just aren’t set up to deal with small runs and inexperienced startups; it isn’t worth their time to deal with small time clients and all the inefficiencies that potentially come with such jobs. It seems to me that a contractor would have to be specifically set up to work with indie designers and have a systematic approach to the development and production process that factors in all the education components required along the way to get DE’s up to speed.

I know there are a few contractors out there who are willing to do small runs, but since this type of service typically costs more to cover the extra time and effort that comes along with startup projects, I wonder if this tends to price them out of the market for DE’s with limited budgets? I imagine a production facility has to be extremely flexible in terms of machine set ups and have a versatile staff to efficiently handle lots of small jobs and still make a profit. I can see a potential need for more contractors that are willing to do this and have been contemplating what it would take to set up a DE friendly production facility. However, I wonder how many DE’s would be willing and able to pay the higher rates that would be necessary to fairly compensate the contractor so that they actually have potential to make a profit? Otherwise, what is the motivation for a contractor to be in business to serve DE’s other than altruism? So many people want to be designers these days, but what’s going to attract people to learn the technical skills and work in the production side of the industry making things for all these designers if there’s not much potential profit to be made?

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By: Tulahttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46225 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:36:12 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46225 I think this speaks to a bigger overall problem, namely that DEs may know design and marketing, but are lacking in the matter of the economics of business. It’s not just DEs, but a lot of small business people. People buy into the concept of the business being an “idea” and if they can make this idea into a product, they’ll immediately become successful. You see this a lot on entrepreneurship blogs and articles. They all talk about “following your passion” or “turning your idea into millions” — and there’s nothing wrong with passion or eagerness — yet neglect the nitty gritty mechanics of how to get from point A to point B. There’s a whole lot of work to do before you can even think about turning that idea or design into reality.

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By: Paula Hudsonhttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46214 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:26:50 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46214 Oh, yes yes yes. From my end, it’s folks who think, “I just need you to replace a zipper. Why should that cost $15.00?” It takes me much longer to do a repair because I have to deconstruct, repair, then reconstruct so that you can’t even tell I took the garment half part! Which is why I charge through the nose for alterations. I *HATE* them. I’ll do them, if you want to pay me a seriously decent price. Otherwise, no hurt feelings here if you go somewhere else. (Not that I’m equating alterations with what you do!! Tangental identification….)

So I absolutely agree with every word you’ve written. Having been on this end, I have a real heart for “your” end and don’t think for a minute that because what you do is “different” from what I do, it is any less valuable. In fact, just the opposite. If I get this stuff right before I start, it saves me a boatload down the road. It flabbergasts me that people don’t grasp that.

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By: Faviolahttp://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/why-sewing-contractors-dont-want-small-lots/comment-page-1/#comment-46172 Fri, 30 Sep 2011 04:11:14 +0000 http://www.fashion-incubator.com/?p=10095#comment-46172 Oh Kathleen!,

You have summed up my life,i am a fashion graduate and i work as a contractor, but i do it ALL myself from patterns to sample and production (yes i’m the one doing the sewing) and sometimes my boyfriend tells me that i work to hard to get so poorly paid by my clients, but i tell him, you never know, i have faith in them. Also i put much pride in the work i do for other people (lots of them aren’t even DE so you can imagine my pride when i see the clothes in the street).

I may not be wealthy, but i think that everyone deserves there chance to make there dreams come true and i’m glad to help them on there way. You never know when there big break is coming and you get that call for something that was worth all the hard work.

Keep writing Kathlenn.

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