December 6, 2007
Tailors targeting foreigners get internet savvy
Having clothes tailor made has long been a demand from visitors to Vietnam.
Now they can have a suit shipped to them or ready for them when they get to Vietnam with a click of the mouse.
Location, location, location
“The demand from foreigners for having clothes made is not new. It has been common for over a decade. I used to show many tourists places where they could have their clothes made,” said Mr. Hien, a former receptionist at Novotel Hotel in HCMC.
Ten years back, a tailor shop called Huong’s Tailor on Pasteur Street in District 1 of HCMC was well known for making clothes ready in a day.
Huong’s Tailor had the advantage of being located on the way from the city center to Tan Son Nhat Airport.
In recent years, Miss Ao Dai on Nguyen Trung Ngan Street in District 1 has become well-known as a place to make clothes for foreign customers, with a mostly Japanese clientele.
There are also several shops with fashion designers on hand, such as Minh Hanh, Sy Hoang, Lien Huong and Ngo Nhat Huy.
They often receive orders from international clients.
Other tailor shops on the streets of Mac Thi Buoi, Le Loi and Pasteur tailor clothes for an upscale clientele.
These places are thorough and give detailed advice to customers.
One tailor shop owner said that customers who receive good quality clothes will tell their friends and relatives and spread the word to others, which will increase the business of the shop.
That is a very westernized business sense to go along with the owner’s western clientele.
The tailor shops said that 90% of the foreign customers have their clothes made in Vietnam because they think the prices are low.
An American customer at the Miss Ao Dai shop made the comparison that, “A beautifully-made suit of good quality material is about US$150 while the price is two times that in the US”.
Japanese customers who care about details and can be pretty hard to please, admit that clothes made in Vietnam look good.
Kataniea, a Japanese customer, said, “I like Vietnamese silk products. They are very expensive in Japan. Vietnamese tailors are very skillful.”
Many women from around the world who visit Vietnam like to have a traditional ao dai made to take home and show their friends.
Made with a click of the mouse
Several tailor shops are now offering to have customer’s orders ready in a short amount of time.
In one day customers can have their suits ready, although they may have to pay a bit extra.
For example, it costs $40 to have an ao dai made in three days, yet for a 30 percent surcharge the customer can have it within a few hours.
Some customers are willing to pay the additional price for the convenience.
The newest feature is that some tailors are starting to allow customers to places their orders online.
The customer can fill in information about their measurements, the style and materials.
The shops confirm the details, create the clothes, package the finished product and send it to the customers.
Customers are able to pay by credit card.
Miss Ao Dai and other shops now have this kind of service.
One shop owner who provides this service said, “Although we pro-vide the service via the Internet, we must guarantee the product quality. If customers are not satisfied with something, they can send the products back to us and let us know what is wrong. We will correct it or even make a new one and we will pay for the transport. Customers don’t have to pay any more money.”
December 4, 2007
Vietnamese garment exports rise 30 percent
Hanoi – Vietnam’s garment exports rose 30 per cent to 7.1 billion dollars in the first 11 months of 2007, officials said Monday, as the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization outweighed fears of possible restrictions in the US market. Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, said the country was on target to meet its export goal of 7.8 billion dollars for the year. Vietnam is the world’s tenth-largest garment exporter. “Entry into WTO has also made Vietnam more attractive to foreign investors,” An said. “However, Vietnamese garment exporters still face an obstacle in exporting to the US, which is applying a monitoring mechanism on Vietnamese garment exports.”The US Department of Commerce began monitoring Vietnamese garment exports for dumping at the beginning of 2007. The measure was demanded by legislators from states with significant garment industries, who fear growth in Vietnamese exports will hurt their economies. Early in 2007, Vietnamese garment exporters worried that US importers might choose to source garments from countries which did not face such anti-dumping scrutiny. The US represents 55 percent of Vietnam’s apparel-export market. But such fears lightened in October when the Department of Commerce concluded that Vietnam firms had not engaged in dumping in the first half of 2007. “We feel very comfortable that (the department’s decision) will be continued for the second half of this year and for next year,” said Charles Kim, chief representative in Vietnam for the US department store chain Target. “So the anti-dumping concerns have been dismissed.”An said Vietnam had responded to the US anti-dumping monitoring program by diversifying its markets. “We have been exporting more to South Africa, Australia and African countries,” he said. “Exports to South Africa alone have grown hundreds of per cent in the first 11 months of this year.”