How to Rate Artisans?

Clients may have very different experiences with makers. Some rave about their experiences while others face a torrent of issues. I would rate artisans based on these factors:

1) Fit – perhaps the most important. Even if you had perfect service, the end product should suit your comfort and meet your needs. The tailor/shoemaker must remember your feedback and adjust accordingly without compromising other areas of the garment.

2) Customer Service (i.e. communication) – Your maker is available and responsive via email or telephone. They should email you back within 48 hours as courtesy. Delivery promises should be kept. If you feel like you constantly have to hound your maker, that’s a red flag and my biggest pet peeve.

3) Advice/Style – Hopefully the artisan shares (or at least can envision) your ideal style and offer helpful suggestions. Working towards that shared vision builds rapport and trust.

If you enjoy a simple, minimalist style, but your tailor prefers something more contemporary and eccentric, there may be different expectations that negatively impact the final product.

You cannot really get any reliable style advice in that case. Do your research on that artisan and know what style of products they make before commissioning.

4) Finishing – Finishing should be clean and consistent. This just falls under quality of product. If you are paying for top-notch finishing, expect a fastidious result whether hand-sewn or machine stitched.

5) Access/availability – This falls under the same concept as emails and customer service. If your company undertakes trunk shows, visit consistently. Arrange for your cutters or last-makers to travel, rather than stand-in company representatives. Be transparent. Keep in close contact if your client lives far away and brief them on return costs in advance.

6) Value – i.e. the cost + all of the above criteria combined. If you include travel, parking, and return shipping costs, is the product and personal experience worth the amount you are paying?

For me at least, all of these factors stand in equal importance. Everything boils down to quality and consistency.

Tailors who achieve all of these expectations will likely gain satisfied customers who would be happy to recommend your business.

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