In the Name of Free Trade

Pressing family issues and the need for sanity forced my Sewing Goddess, Nancy, to bow out from assisting me with sewing pillows.  Taking the news in stride, I shifted some funds around to see if I could afford a seamstress to complete the remaining work.  I placed an ad on Craigslist this week outlining the project and the request for a written estimate.  Within the last few days, I have received 12 inquiries stating that they could do the work and complete it within the time frame I stated.

I think they use sewing machines now, don't they?

 Photo credit:

To each of the 12 inquiries, I have sent a detailed list of the items to be sewn as well as examples for those that require additional decorative detail.  From those original 12 responses, 5 people have replied back with true estimates.  This has me baffled regarding the other 7 individuals who each promised they could do the job yet couldn’t follow through on the simple request to provide me with a written estimate for their services.  While I am not designer, I don’t think the request for a written estimate is unusual or beyond a normal aspect of doing this kind of work.  Yet, 7 of the people did not respond to the request.

However, to give them the benefit of the doubt I reached out via email to all 7 giving them one more chance to give a written estimate.  So far, two responded that the project is actually outside the scope of their skill set.  I can appreciate that but wouldn’t an email back saying that have helped?  One person sent an email detailing that their cat died (no joke) and they were too emotionally distraught to work right now.  As for the remaining 4, well I have heard nothing from them to date.  Honestly, with so many people searching for work right now, you would think that self-employed service people would be a tad better on following up on a job.

So back to the five that have sent me responses.  Two are so absurd that I can’t even fathom how they came up with their pricing.  One woman actually wants to charge me over $900 to sew the pillows.  At that price, I could have just gone out and bought the pillows I wanted from Thomas Paul and Anthropologie.  Seriously, at that price, the pillows going to the chair and couch are more expensive than the actual pieces of furniture in the room.  If I was going to pay that much, I would have just gone with the seamstress I have worked with previously.  Her work is flawless.  Her finishing skills are divine.  And her price …well, let’s just say that she isn’t cheap but many of the best interior designers use her and I understand why they do!

Now for the remaining three …..all do this as a side business and all seem to be knowledgable on what I am requesting.  I have reached out to all three and scheduled a phone conversation to see how they respond to a few of my questions on their techniques and what I envision.  I am really looking for someone to guide me in this process.  I don’t care if they tell me what I want can’t be done for the price.  I am fine with that.  Be honest and upfront rather than tell me “yes” and give me an inferior product. 

In doing all of this, I realize how hard it is to run your own business, even if it’s a small side gig.  I also realize how amazing and talented so many people are in turning their passion into a profession.  Here’s hoping I can following their footsteps when I graduate culinary school.

4 thoughts on “In the Name of Free Trade

  1. Pingback: A Quilt That Bloggers Built (or Sewed) « Living Life Out Loud

  2. Pingback: Music Room Reveal « Living Life Out Loud

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