Custom made in Hoi An, Vietnam

After our day out with Mr Trung, we cycled back to Hoi An and dabbled with the idea of getting something custom made. Kyle was thinking about suit and I was considering getting a pair of sandals made. We decided to check out our hotel’s sister’s shop to get a quote for a suit. At this point we were only CONSIDERING getting anything made…

We went into T&C Tailors (our hotel’s sister’s tailor) and were given a Next (!) catalogue to get an idea of the type of suit we wanted. We flicked through the catalogue but found it difficult to decide just by looking at pictures of men posing in suits. The owner didn’t have the right colour fabric that we were looking for and was trying to push us to buy a suit in another colour for $150. We told the woman that it was way too high and she dropped her price to $130. Kyle told her that he wanted to pay $100 max and the woman said no, so I walked out the shop. The woman by this point was being VERY pushy. As soon as I walked out the shop, the woman agreed to do it for $100, but by that point we weren’t interested in having a suit made by T&C Tailors.

We then went on the search for a good shoemaker and found one with an excellent reputation on tripadvisor. We went to the Thien Friendly Shoe Shop and it was absolutely packed with people trying on shoes that they had custom made. An assistant told me to look around the shop at the shoes they’d previously made, flick through their catalogues, or show them a picture of what you’re looking for. You could even have a shoe you already own ‘copied’. I’d been looking for a Tropezienne style sandal since we arrived in Thailand but with no luck. I found a picture on the internet of what I wanted and she printed it, and then asked me what colour I wanted. She gave me several huge wheels of various red leathers… several wheels just of red leathers! It was hard to choose… but I finally found a red leather that I liked, my foot measurements were taken and I was told to come back tomorrow for a fitting.

The picture of the sandal I wanted

The picture of the sandal I wanted

The following day at breakfast we felt the repercussions of saying no to a suit by T&C Tailors, our hotel’s sister’s shop. One of the members of staff rudely interrupted our breakfast to ask us why we didn’t buy a suit at her sister’s shop. We told her that we weren’t interested and she kept telling us that we MUST buy one and that we should go there right now. We couldn’t quite believe that she had the audacity to bother us while we were eating breakfast about a suit. That was T&C Tailor and Nhi Trung Hotel’s last chance… they definitely lost our business!

After spending the day walking around Hoi An, we went back to Thien Friendly Shoe Shop for my sandal fitting. On first try they were absolutely perfect, and exactly what I was looking for. For 20 pounds I chose every little detail of the shoe from the finish to the buckle. Pretty good price really!

The shoe shop told us there was a tailor across the road that was number 1 on tripadvisor. We went to Hoa Nang Sunny Cloth Shop to have a browse and a chat, and the owner was very professional and didn’t push us to buy anything at all. Her policy is if you don’t like the finished product, don’t pay. While Kyle talked suits with the owner, I looked around the shop at the different styles of dresses they’d previously made. I saw a plain cotton dress that I liked and I tried it on for size. Within five minutes of walking into the shop I’d already had my measurements taken, chosen a fabric, pattern, neckline, the length, and told to come back tomorrow for a fitting. I entered the shop with no intention of buying anything!

A rubbish picture of me at my dress fitting!

A rubbish picture of me at my dress fitting!

Kyle trying on his suit!

Kyle trying on his suit!

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One comment

  1. Ah, a tricky situation. When I go out shopping with my husband, he’ll translate for me if the vendors are getting tetchy, and it doesn’t take much. They don’t understand our enjoyment of browsing or our wish to shop around. They think that if you’ve touched their wares, you’re interested and should buy them. So, don’t take it personally or think that those shop assistants/owners in particular were no good, it’s just a cultural difference. I’m pleased though, that you found a tailor that you liked. 🙂

    Even if you can get a suit from home for a comparable price, it’s likely to be made by one of those awful garment factories around the world that don’t pay their staff enough and have terrible conditions for their workers. At least in Viet Nam, if you are paying a reasonable price, know that you’re supporting a small business.

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