I had just finished photographing the wax jacket pictured opposite and was thinking about the process of that coat and I was left wondering how many of my customers actually realised just what was entailed in making the product that they had just purchased.
When I began in 2008, I purchased a notebook. In that go all ideas, fabric swatches and things that I find that may be useful at a later date. Many of those ideas have not seen the light of day and probably never will. Others get costed and fall by the wayside. Others are made and tested and of those some reach production. Even a coat style that I use regularly may not work or look good in certain fabrics. Not a short winded process.
I spend many evenings sat using my ipad sourcing new suppliers, fabrics and collar fittings seeing if I can source the same fabric or product more cheaply elsewhere without compromising on quality. If I'm out and about any fabric shops visited. In reality, I don't stop working even when I'm not. No opportunity goes to waste.
Pricing is always a difficult area. Many customers are used to purchasing from a local pet store or online merchant who discounts heavily. These items are not comparable with what I sell. Each item I make is cut and sewn by me. They are not mass produced in China or India.
Unlike many retailers, I don't start at 9am and finish at 5pm. I reply to emails, messages, enquiries and so on seven days a week irrespective of the time. It is not unknown that I am sewing orders at 10pm at night or sewing at the weekends. I am often heard saying "don't be surprised if you see me disappearing under a mound of fabric". Despite this, I wouldn't change a thing. I enjoy what I do.
And then there are the accounts which I am obliged to keep by law.
Looking at this you would be forgiven for thinking that there is a small army of people, designing, making, pricing and packaging your order plus another person still doing the paperwork. There are people for all of those jobs. That person is ME!