Wednesday 22 October 2014

The story of a tailor

He is operating from a space of around 600 square feet in Pertama Complex. To those who do not know him he is just another person that you can meet on our streets, not the kind of persons who keep on appearing in the media, saying things that they may not mean and for some unknown reasons people would be rushing to kiss their hands.

I can't recall exactly how long I have been his customer. Sufficient to say that I can just walk into his shop, choose the materials that I like, get myself measured and walk of. He will ring me when my shirt or pant is ready for collection, not deposit required.

"You have spoilt me" I told him yesterday. I am satisfied with his work to the extent that I would prefer his masterpiece over branded products. For him, every single work has to be perfect, to make sure his customers are satisfied. As a result, they will return with more orders. He reminded me of a common friend who kept on returning notwithstanding that the person could easily go and shop branded products in London and other similar places.

"I started at a very young age" narrating his story to me. "My father was a tailor himself. He allowed me to study until form five. Initially he thought I would have failed my form three but I surprised him when I passed" he went on in sharing his life experience.

His father then get him to set up his tailoring business at the present premise. "He helped me to set up this shop and told me that it is up to me to determine my future from then onwards. He also told me that if I fail, he will not bail me out" my tailor continuing with his story.

Fast forward today, apart from operating from his old premise he also has another space at the upper floor which he uses as his workshop. He also shared with me that he had acquired another lot, few lots away for RM 1.2 million. "My friends told me that I am crazy but I am collecting RM 8,000 rental a month" explaining his business decision in acquiring that property.

Mind mind was working very fast in figuring out how much assets he has, only at Pertama Complex. Easily he is worth more than RM 3 million!

According to him, by owning these assets he is not worried about being told to move away by the landlord. This also helps him to manage his cost. He shared the experience of his tailor friends who moved to more posh places and eventually pay exorbitant rentals like RM 30 thousand to RM 40 thousand a month. "Easily what I charge you would be doubled if you were to get them in Bangsar" reaffirming me that I was given a great deal.

Suddenly he introduced me to his son who was doing his cutting work, in front of my tailor's wife "He just came back from UK with a masters degree in robotics" explained my tailor. I quickly told his son to design a robot who can replicate his father's skills. The son smiled at me.

On reflection, a simple business could be meaningful and rewarding. Assuming he funded the study of the son from the earnings of the shop, that could have cost him a bomb. Something which some of us may not appreciate as we keep on relying on the government for scholarships or loans.

I suppose his success could be replicated by those who are operating at the nearby MARA building. The location is not far apart and you have this person who only went to school up till form five and seems to be having a wonderful life as a living example.

By the way, my tailor is amongst the highest user of Ermenegilo Zenga materials in town!

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