Thursday, February 21, 2013

Garment Alteration Making a Come Back

Garment alteration business is making a come back in a big way. There are 4 such setups near the HDB zone I am staying. All of them cluster close to each other within 2 minutes walking distance.  It reflects business is good.

Two weeks before Chinese New Year, I decided to alter 3 of my old blouses. I deposit each blouse with different garment alteration shop. All the 3 shops need 3 to 4 days to complete alternation as they were overloaded with garments.  My requested was simple - to alter long sleeve blouse to short sleeve which cost between $4 to 6.

Around the 9th day of the Chinese New Year (which last for 15 days), I decided to take another blouse for alternation.  To my surprise, their business was even better than before New Year. One of the shop 'rejected' me and told me to bring the blouse back 1 week later. Another shop accepted my blouse but I could collect it only after 9 days. 

All the shops are small setup but they all employed 2 to 3 workers on average. Rental is expensive even in HDB estate. So garment alteration business which at once stage 'disappear' from local scene must be getting popular again.

There is this social enterprise doing garment alternation business making a name for itself. The owner has open 3 outlets within a short span of 2 to 3 years.  The outlets are in high rental area such as Orchard Road and central Business districts.  Well, profit margin must have been very high for it to expand so quickly despite the high overhead cost. Likely the charges will be 3 to 5 times more than what I was charged for a simple alteration.

It is good to see social enterprise doing well as it means it can help more disadvantage folks. However, we know some are social enterprise in 'name' only. In such cases, it is unethical as the business is profiting by taking advantage of kind hearted folks who fork out expensive fee for their service thinking they are supporting a worthy cause.

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