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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: ladonna
Date: 04-13-2006, 10:28 PM (1 of 10)
Can any one give me advices of how to behave when working as an independet seamstress at clothing stores. I am not american, and this is my first time working inside stores. I am a very good seamstress , but sometimes I feel very shy and I Know I am losing work just because I don't know how to behave When I am at the store. The store set up a place for me close to the dressing rooms , so when the costumer walks in to try the clothes on how should I behave. Should I wait until the salesperson request my help , or should I introduce myself directly to the costumer. Most of costumers don't know yet that It am a seamstress and I can help them with any adjustments they may need. I am not very familiar with the salespeople yet, it will take time, but I would like to improve that relashionship between me the customer and the associates. Do any to have experience share?
P.S. I am not american , so please forgive me for any english mistake.
User: ladonna
Member since: 02-15-2006
Total posts: 4
From: Chrysantha
Date: 04-13-2006, 10:40 PM (2 of 10)
Your English is fine...I'd go up to the sales people and customers and introduce myself. Tell them what my job is, ask if THEY need help. Offer advice for taking in seams, making pants shorter, whatever needs to be done.
You'll be fine...shake hands IF they want to, not all people shake hands.
Just be friendly, just be yourself....
Don't be shy...most people in the U.S. aren't Americans these days...(and those that are, I bet most of their grandparents weren't Americans either.)
(I had grandparents from Italy and Ireland..)

[[[ ]]]

User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: IlovemySinger
Date: 04-14-2006, 12:19 AM (3 of 10)
Depending on the policies of the store, go right up to the customers as they are going into the dressing rooms. Have them come out with the items on, and you could suggest how you are able to improve the garment. That would help the store sell more, and get you more garments to work on.
User: IlovemySinger
Member since: 03-31-2006
Total posts: 27
From: SummersEchos
Date: 04-14-2006, 09:26 AM (4 of 10)
Can you place signs to let shoppers know you are there? It would be a way to get the word out without having to approach every shopper. I do think you will also need to interact with the customers. I would think the store would be willing to help you by mentioning they have your services if the shopper needed it.

User: SummersEchos
Member since: 09-29-2004
Total posts: 884
From: kameline
Date: 04-14-2006, 09:56 AM (5 of 10)
I have worked for a dress shop in the past, but I did all the alterations from my own home, so the only time I actually went to the store was to pick up/drop off clothes, or do a scheduled fitting... being in the store at all times is a HUGE advantage! Use it! Don't feel uncomfortable about approaching the customers... they will trust you with their clothing more readily if you present yourself confidently. Alot of this comes with time... but it will come. I felt pretty aukward about doing fittings simply because of my age... I am still in college... but I found that when I acted as though I knew exactly what I was talking about, they responded positively.
Also, never feel afraid to offer suggestions to your customers... if they want the garment taking in a huge amount, offer to have them try on a smaller size to minimize alterations... always look for the best way to do the smallest amount of change to the garment, this keeps people coming back because they see that you are trying to save them money in the long run.
If you notice that the fit of the garment is not quite flattering, offer suggestions as to how you could improve the fit... I have found that most people who are shopping in retail clothing shops are happy for the help... they want to get the best fit possible.
It is probable that you will at some point come across someone who is not looking for help... don't let this bother you either. Many times, if you let them know who you are, they'll come to you with questions on their own.
I hope this helps!
Feel free to send me an email if you have any more questions!
<email address removed for privacy>
Do all to the glory of God!
User: kameline
Member since: 03-09-2006
Total posts: 41
From: MartySews
Date: 04-17-2006, 12:20 AM (6 of 10)
Check with your store manager and department manager about having a sign put up at the dressing room that advertises clothing consultant and alterations upon request. Have some business cards out and let the customers know that you are available to help with their fitting needs. Be confident and lose the shyness. The worst someone could tell you is "no" and you have not lost anything. Except for native americans, all of us are descended from immigrants. Happy Stitching!
Marty :up:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: AndreaSews
Date: 04-17-2006, 10:09 AM (7 of 10)
It's just a little idea, you think you could get a pin engraved that you could wear on your blouse when you're at work? One that says your name and your job on it. "LaDonna(?), Independent Clothing Alterations" for example. That, along with eye contact and a confident smile ought to steer people in the right direction.
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: ladonna
Date: 04-17-2006, 07:14 PM (8 of 10)
Thank you all, for the excelent ideas.
I went to the stores last weekend and I got a lot of work to do. What I did was just introducing myself directly to the customers. I could't belive how much work I got.
User: ladonna
Member since: 02-15-2006
Total posts: 4
From: MaryW
Date: 04-18-2006, 05:52 AM (9 of 10)
Hurray, good for Ladonna. :up:
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: paroper
Date: 04-18-2006, 06:57 AM (10 of 10)
I think I would talk to the manager of the store. Have him introduce you to the salespeople. It would be really helpful if you could get him to let you demonstrate what you can do to improve a dress's fit.

I was recently in a very large bridal/formal wear shop. Almost everytime a girl tried on a dress, the sales people suggested alterations to improve the fit. Then they referred the customer to the alterations lady (in this case she was not in the store). If you can get the sales people to help, you won't have time to work with the customers.

It would also be helpful to the store's marketing to have a sign near the door something like "In house alterations available". In/near the opening to the fitting rooms another sign that states something like "Experienced Alterations Consultation available upon request" might also help.

Women can be very sensitive about the fit of a garment. If you choose to introduce yourself and offer your services, you need to say something complimentary to them. Something like that is a lovely dress on you, or that color is absolutely wonderful with your eyes, hair, whatever. We could make a couple of changes that would even make it more lovely, (comfortable, whatever fits the problem)...could I show you? As the salespeople become more comfortable with you in the store, along with your expertise, you should get more referrals.

In many of the larger upscale stores in our city, there are many alterations ladies and they are busy full time. In college, one of my good friends worked in a very exclusive store as alterations help. There were probably 6-7 women in the alterations department. She was the only one who was American born.

I would also remind the store manager that you are available to repair clothing for sale in the store (for a fee). Many times shipments of clothing will come in and some of the clothing needs minor repair before it is sold.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
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