I started this business with the intention that I would create custom clothing for family and friends. I wanted to sew, and that was about it. I had one (rather old) sewing machine, no knowledge of running a business, and no desire to make it huge. I launched with one customer (my sister), no website, no advertising, no budget, nothing. I "borrowed" money from the house budget to invest in a few things like a second sewing machine, the goal being that I would quit my business once I had made enough money to pay ourselves back.
Three years later, here I am making a small profit, learning how to run a website (what do all these new words like SEO mean, anyway?), understanding my customer base, and realizing that the types of sewing I enjoy are much different from what I thought I wanted in the beginning! These days, my customers are mostly people looking for alterations. Hemming pants, adjusting formal wear, letting skirts in or out, and re-covering cushions are fun projects for me. I relish the thought process behind figuring out how to take a garment apart in order to put it back together again, and I love being helpful to others.
I was asked once how I know whether to take on a project or not? I always offer a consultation before I commit with a customer to do their work. I will never deliberately turn down work unless I believe that I cannot perform the job. But I WILL counsel people to not hire me if it is not in their best interest. I have met with potential customers who have asked whether I could perform an alteration or a repair, and they have left deciding not to go through with the work. One customer asked me to fix a sweater for his mother, which would have been less expensive to replace. I questioned whether it was sentimental to the mother or not. When the answer was no, I suggested the customer find a replacement at the local department store.
Another lady had a formal even coming up and was unsure of the dress she had chosen to wear. She and I talked for an hour about what she saw in the mirror, the feedback her husband had given her, and what I saw when she tried on the dress. I offered suggestions for alterations, but in the end said that only SHE could decide whether she felt gorgeous in the dress - alterations or not. She ended up leaving it as-is. I want my customers leaving pleased they spoke with me, and content in their decision to leave their garment with me, or take it home without being modified. It isn't about what I want for you - it's about what YOU want for you.
In life as well as with clothing, only WE can decide what is best for us.