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Bespoke trousers question

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm planning to replace my OTR odd trousers with bespoke in the very near future and am just starting to talk to tailors in my area as well as in NYC.

I figure once I settle on a shop and have a test pair made up I will want to do several at a time based on the same pattern in different fabrics, perhaps only changing pocket style. I would imagine this would be much more efficient for the tailor, do you think it would be appropriate to discuss some discount from base pricing?

Any idea what % of time goes into pattern making/setup?
post #2 of 24
Find a tailor you like. Dial in the fit. Forget talking discount. You are paying for their skill and expertise. Pay them some respect. You are not buying a car.
post #3 of 24
I couldn't imagine asking for a discount in that situation.

Rob
post #4 of 24
+1. Only discount you might ever get is for paying in cash, and it might be best to know the fellow a bit before asking something like that.
post #5 of 24
A tailor may offer a discount for multiple orders after the initial pattern has been made, you pay upfront, etc.
Some tailors offer a discount on additional trousers if purchased with a suit, so some tailors do offer discounts; although it may not be as simple as taking a certain percentage of the base price. For example, if there is an upcharge of $40 for a certain cloth from the base price, the tailor may not charge you the difference.

However, do not ask for a discount in your first meeting - get the first pair made, wear at least 3/4 times and assess if it needs any alterations. When you visit the tailor again for further orders, while discussing how many trousers you want made and in what cloth, you could if they offer a discount on paying upfront or if you ordered x amount of trousers.

Be careful though, asking if they offer a discount or promotions is difficult without trying to offend. From your discussion with the tailor, they may mention if you order 4 pair of trousers (for example), pay upfront, they could offer a certain discount; or give an indication if they offer a discount. The issue with asking about a discount, is some people are upfront and expect a discount on a suit or one pair of trousers, or even on a first order.

A little research does help, some tailor websites may mention any promotions or discounts. If the tailor has a promotion on suits with spare trousers, worth mentioning you saw the discount online and ask if they have other promotions.
post #6 of 24
It's a business transaction. You have every right to ask for the tailor's pricing as it relates to cloth, workmanship, quantity, or anything else.

The tailor has the right to offer you pricing based on terms of payment, dollar volume, his workload, or anything else.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildeMan View Post

It's a business transaction. You have every right to ask for the tailor's pricing as it relates to cloth, workmanship, quantity, or anything else.

The tailor has the right to offer you pricing based on terms of payment, dollar volume, his workload, or anything else.

Quite right. But how and when - if at all -to raise the issue of a discount is the delicate matter. I think Macallan's post is instructive versus going in to the shop and going "what percent of the pents is set up and design? Once we get this done and I want to buy more you should knock this off the price."
post #8 of 24
I wouldn't go to my tailor if it was just a business transaction. I would hope that given all the time we spend on clothing, it would be more than a mere exchange of money for goods.

Rob
Edited by rob - 12/28/12 at 9:38am
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your thoughts.  I may have given off the wrong impression in some respects as price is not the primary metric I am using when evaluating my options and I certainly don't intend to haggle with my new tailor before my first garment has even been completed!

 

This was just something that crossed my mind and being new to bespoke tailoring I also wanted to make sure my logic was sound.

 

As with everything, tact is of the utmost importance.  I suppose the if and when to raise the matter depends on many factors including the culture of the shop and the personality of the individual.  I don't think many people would take offense to being asked if there was any room for flexibility in price for an increased volume of business in the immediate term, bird in the hand and all that.

post #10 of 24
I would suggest you abandon the idea of demanding a discount. If the tailor is in a small way of business but busy he has no need of reduced price work.

Pattern making is a loss leader in the hope of getting a long term customer not a cost he saves in future commissions. The work content and his overheads do not change when simply working on your commissions so why he should he endure a lower standard of living to please you?
Edited by GBR - 12/28/12 at 11:11am
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR View Post

I would suggest you abandon the idea of demanding a discount. If the tailor is in a small way of business but busy he has no need of reduced price work.
Pattern making is a loss leader in the hope of getting a long term customer not a cost he saves in future commissions. The work content and his overheads do not change when simply working on your commissions so why he should he endure a lower standard of living to please you?

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I intended to demand anything nor that I was planning to insist anybody survive on mayonnaise sandwiches.  I would, however, like to apologize for the apparent consternation my innocent query has caused you.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR View Post

I would suggest you abandon the idea of demanding a discount. If the tailor is in a small way of business but busy he has no need of reduced price work.
Pattern making is a loss leader in the hope of getting a long term customer not a cost he saves in future commissions. The work content and his overheads do not change when simply working on your commissions so why he should he endure a lower standard of living to please you?

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I ever planned to demand anything nor that I intended to force anybody to live off of Puppy Chow. I would, however, like to apologize for the apparent confusion my innocent query caused you and invite you to reread the thread to witness just how ridiculous your post is in retrospect.
post #13 of 24
Well just to give some perspective from the other side. It takes about 30 minutes to draft a pattern so its not a big deal if you can do it. Its not even a big deal to store it but what is tricky is all the fittings and alterations and amending that first order as well as the pattern to get it just so.

With any new client you are making a rather complicated item for the first time. Unlike another product that may go through several prototypes or samples, as a maker you have to get it right in one shot. It is very, very easy to lose serious money with a new client if your committed to making high end garments.

I know several tailors that will charge designers or factories maybe $1000 just for a pattern but with private clients we don't (people I know in the business) really add that as a solid cost onto your suit. Rather it is a cost or a loss to us initially with the hope of future orders.

I have a tendency to upgrade good clients at my own cost in terms of cloths or maybe throw in a shirt for a referral. Sometimes I move on price a bit for a big order but these days as my clientele is established, I tend not to reply back when emailed by people who ask for discounts right away! The older big tailors in NYC do not tolerate haggling at all.
post #14 of 24
I would also say by all means check out some tailors look what they are working on and see if you feel they are right fit for you, but be aware of their time. Tell them you just want to have a chat before you set up the appointment and make it one appointment only unless your going to buy. I had one guy a few months ago come in three times for an hour and I spent half a day walking all over the garment district getting him samples. The third time he said do I need to make a decision now? and I said well, yeah if you want me to make a suit for you. He committed, then 30 minutes later emailed me to cancel. in terms of hours I had worked a full 8 hour day for free.

Thats me of course but I think its good additional advice for someone researching tailors.
post #15 of 24

In my opinion, there are people out there you haggle with, and people you tip.

You haggle with the tomato lady at the farmers' market, or a used car salesman.

 

Your barber, waiter, lawyer, plastic surgeon, etc., you tip. :)

I beleive the tailor belongs to this latter category.

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