Linking your favorite traveling artists across the globe
In 1987, I began "taking in sewing" to suplement my husband's income as he retired. The marriage foundered on the rocks of retirement, and in 1989 I launched the business full time as Ruth's Sewing. I soon also launched Ana's Accoutremonts as a Renaissance costume business to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).
I took any sewing job offered. If I didn't know how to do it, I'd call my girlfriend or my grandmother or figure it out myself. But I made sure that each job was done right. I soon upgraded the name to Ruth's Custom Sewing.
Quality became the watchword of the business. Reliability was a close second. When I booked my first prom dress, I realized that scheduling had just become a serious issue. If I was a week late, for me it was "oops!", but for the client, it was major emotional trauma. I worked out a system to make sure I never overbooked my time. No all-nighters!
To do top quality work, I had to charge more than the local part time seamstresses, which also meant I had to be more aggressive in advertising. Without a second income as a backup, I had to ensure an uninterrupted flow of business. I joined the local Chamber of Commerce and got serious about learning the business side of the job.
With the growth of the World Wide Web in 1994-95, I realized I had several major Renaissance mail order clients who were involved in web development and who used the web. In 1995 I bartered two Elizabethan doublets for my first website. Ana's Accoutremonts was on the Web!
About that time, I became aware that there was a market for men's alterations and custom tailoring. RK Tailoring was born. For over 10 years, I rode the wind horse of three business names and a wide ranging clientele.
I recognized from clients' comments that the personalized service I provide is what every other business talks about, but often fails. I often spend an hour or more with a client on the phone or in person before I book the order. This time is essential for our mutual trust and satisfaction. I get to know my client's preferences, and the client gains confidence that I will deliver what I promise.
Integrity is not just a concept-it is an everyday part of my life. As a practicing Buddhist, Right Livelihood is part of the Eightfold Path. If I ever find that I'm not living up to my own obsessive standards, I'll close up shop.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit SE Louisiana. I was as prepared as you can be for a National Disaster. On high ground, but after 5 days in the midst of devastation, I left for Austin Texas. I moved my household and business to Austin, renaming the business SewFits. A series of personal adventures delayed full time reopening of the business until 2009.
Why I Are Driven To Excellence
You may wonder if I really do what I say I do. So few people these days do.
I do. I do because I are driven, driven to deliver on time, to specifications, as much as is humanly possible, and then some.
Not because anyone will die if their Renaissance Doublet is a week or a month, or even a year late. Nobody's ever died because their wedding dress didn't fit right. It's not like I'm a doctor or police or the military. Nobody dies if I'm late or make a mistake.
Because I do occasionally make mistakes, deliver late and don't do things exactly the way the client wants them. I'm only human.
There is so much in this world that none of us can control. From the little things like software that crashes, to the big things, like cars that crash. So much pain, suffering, and death. But the one thing that I can control is what I personally do.
And that's what drives me.
So that when I walk out the door every night, I know, I did the very best I could.
And then some.