Would You Like a Vicuna Coat?
In 1961 a gentleman walked into Chipp with a coat length of Vicuna cloth he had purchased in South America. He wanted us to make a custom overcoat. My father would not accept the order. After the customer left I asked my dad why he turned down the order. He said the profit we would make was not nearly enough to off set the down side risk. What if the cloth was scorched in the pressing , or damaged in the cutting ? The cost to replace the cloth was not worth the risk. When a customer brings in cloth to have a suit, jacket ….. made, the tailor’s mark-up is based on his/her labor. The cost of his/her labor is a constant whether the cloth is cotton or cashmere. ( Side bar: This is why I tell my customers that they should not have me make them poplin suits/trousers etc. or seersucker items. The price I have to charge becomes inappropriate for the product. The overwhelming amount of those products in stores have been made “off shore”. When you add the cost of quality labor to poplin or seersucker the price gets out of wack. You can’t turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse. The seersucker will still be seersucker in spite of the superior tailoring. Why do I have poplin cloth and seersucker cloth in our showroom? I have customers who say “thank you, but I can’t get what I want from anyone’s stock- colors, details.”I have customers who have very challenging sizes. I have even had a customer say he wanted to give me the business to be sure I stayed in business. ) If a customer asks me to make a coat from a cloth that will cost me $2,800 per yard, I will not do it. I would not feel comfortable selling a coat for $20.000+.