Student takes her pasttime and stitches together tailoring business
Published: Monday, October 19, 2009
Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009 23:10
This year, store-bought Halloween costumes are likely to run upwards of $50. But to save her wallet from damage — and to make a little pocket change — one student is teaming up with her sewing machine to create custom designs for a reasonable price.
Junior Amanda Taylor started Taylor's Tailoring as a project for her economics of entrepreneurship class. The assignment was to start up a business of any kind, and a tailoring service made sense because she already knew how to sew, Taylor says.
The business has proved profitable, she says, earning her about $60 dollars per weekend. She has found that she is profiting more often than breaking even.
"I didn't spend much at all because I already have a sewing machine and thread since I've been sewing for a long time," Taylor says. "Some of my clients bring their own fabrics, so that helps a lot. I made a ninja costume out of two shirts that cost only $7, and I charged the client $30."
To figure out how much to charge her clients, Taylor says she looks up pricing at local tailors and cuts the price in half. A flare-to- skinny jean transformation costs $10, custom Halloween designs range from $20 to $30, and alterations cost between $5 and $10.
Taylor, who has been sewing clothes and costumes since she was 10 years old, credits her aunts for teaching her how to sew.
"I used to go to their house and they'd teach me little things," she says. "I got really interested so I just kept going with it."
When Taylor was younger, she says she would help her mother create Halloween costumes, ranging from spiders to pumpkins. Later, she altered clothes for herself.
"I would usually buy lots of stuff that's too big and then sew it to fit me," Taylor says. "I'll change necklines and take sleeves off, depending on what I want it to look like."
Taylor advertised her business by posting fliers in residence halls and creating a Facebook page. She invited her friends to become fans of the business, who then told others about it. She says word spread successfully, and the ads and fan page have garnered her 15 clients.
After receiving invitations for the Taylor's Tailoring Facebook page, juniors Samantha Penta and Karen Benavidez came to Taylor for costumes for Swing UD's annual Halloween dance. The girls wanted period piece ghost costumes, complete with corsets and dramatic sleeves. Penta and Benavidez provided the materials, which included yards of gray fabric and lace.
"We had an idea about what kind of costumes we wanted, but we didn't think we'd find them in stores," Penta says. "So we came to Amanda."
Benavidez has never bought a Halloween costume, always opting to make it herself or to have it made, she says.
"Halloween stores are expensive, and this is really reasonably priced," Benavidez says. "$30 for an entire costume — custom made — is pretty good."
Sophomore Laura Sears turned to Taylor's Tailoring for her costume after seeing a flier for the business in her residence hall. Taylor created a ninja costume for Sears, who says she was satisfied with the way it turned out. The costume only cost Sears $30.
"It's half the price it would have been if I'd ordered it online, so I was really excited about it," Sears says.
Sears says she may enlist Taylor's help in the future if she needs an original design for a costume for events hosted by the Anime Club.
Junior Melanie Walter has known Taylor since the fourth grade, when they attended elementary school together, but says she had no idea Taylor could sew. When Walter received the invitation to the Facebook page, she contacted Taylor about a pair of pants that needed mending. It cost only $4 to fix the pants, and the finished product turned out very well, she say.
"I would recommend Amanda because she is as good as she says," Walter says. "She sewed a pair of pants that had holes in the seams of the leg and it turned out great. Her business is a good resource if I ever need any altering in the future."
Taylor, who is majoring in marketing, recently picked up a minor in entrepreneurial studies because she wants to eventually open her own business.
"I've always thought about doing something like this and just jumpstart it with a project," Taylor says. "I'm not sure exactly what it would be yet, because I like to cook a lot too, so probably something along those lines."
While she has made several costumes for herself in the past, Taylor's focus for the month of October is designing custom made Halloween costumes for her clients.
"So far everyone's loved what I've made for them," she says.