I’m sure you must have seen “what I ordered vs. what I got” images on social media. You probably laughed your head off at the evidence of a typical Nigerian tailor disappointment either because they are simply hilarious, or you can relate because you have been disappointed too. I was almost disappointed on the eve of my traditional wedding day, so I can tell you firsthand that it’s not a funny situation.
The truth is that Nigerian tailors are part of the most talented in the world. One must look at the outfits they display in their show glasses, magazines, or social media handles to believe that these tailors sabi work. However, some bad eggs pretend they know what they’re doing but don’t. Some of them are good but still disappoint their clients for the reasons you will discover below.
Why do Nigerian tailors disappoint?
Here are five reasons why your Nigerian tailor always disappointments with your outfits:
Some Nigerian tailors are simply greedy. They tell you they know how to sow this complex design. They charge you a high rate and promise that your outfit will make you look like Beyoncé. And then they disappoint because they simply don’t have the expertise. They can’t put their work where their mouth is. See ehn, Nigerian tailors can lie, and it’s mostly because of greed.
2. Lack of planning
Some Nigerian tailors are simply not organised. They simply take your material and tell you to come back next week. Next week comes, and they haven’t even touched your material. Some don’t even know where they dumped it. This is because they have failed to create a calendar and plan accordingly.
3. Lack of electricity
A lot of Nigerian tailors depend on electricity to finish their work. I have personally been disappointed by a tailor because she couldn’t do the final stitching of my outfit on time because there was no electricity in her area and her generator was faulty. Welcome to Nigeria, where electricity is a luxury instead of a right. Many business people, including tailors, depend on their generators to do their business. In many cases, these generators will disappoint, especially in crucial moments.
4. Lack of database
A lot of Nigerian tailors are not computer literate. They can use their smartphones to make calls, snap pictures and browse social media, and that’s it. Keeping a database calendar and planning software that runs on computers is simply beyond them. These are necessary tools to keep customer information so that they can plan and meet deadlines.
5. They’re not well paid for their work
Imagine paying your tailor 1k (one thousand naira) to make you this gorgeous Mercy Aigbe outfit. Really? You dey crase ni? The tailor may agree to do the work and end up producing something that makes you look like a sack of beans. A lot of customers want to look their best, but many are not willing to pay for it. The celebrities you admire at red carpet events pay premium prices for their outfits. If you want to look like them, you must be willing to pay. Start by getting a good fabric, not those N100 per yard fabrics.
How to prevent Nigerian tailor disappointment
If you’re tired of being disappointed by your tailor, here are five guaranteed ways to prevent that from ever happening again:
1. Don’t pay peanuts for their services
Let’s start from there first. If you’re looking forward to wearing a great outfit, you must be willing to pay well for it. Don’t be that customer who wants the best but is too stingy to pay. The desperate tailor will agree to sew for you but will get their pound of flesh by spoiling your material or simply not delivering on time.
2. Find the right tailor
This should be your first consideration before employing the services of a tailor. If you want a first class outfit, go for tailors with portfolios of them. Don’t patronise the poor Iya Basira on your street to give you the outfit that will rival Funke Akindele‘s birthday wear. You’ll just be deceiving yourself.
3. Don’t buy the wrong fabric
You want to look like Ini Edo, and you’re giving your tailor a fabric that a native doctor wears to the shrine. What do you expect the tailor to do with it? Perform magic? Biko buy the right fabric or at least pay for it. Otherwise, see you, see “what I ordered vs what I got.”
4. Have the right body shape
You want to look like Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, but you have the belly of a nine-month pregnant woman. Or you look like a pencil but want an outfit that will make you appear like Mercy Johnson. Haba, zukwanike. It’s impossible. Please stick to outfits that match your body shape and size. It’s not every design you see on social media that you should sew.
5. Don’t tell the tailor the exact date you need the outfit
I know the good book says lying is a sin. In Mummy GO‘s voice, liars will go straight to hell. But it’s necessary when dealing with Nigerian tailors. Unless they think it’s urgent, Nigerian tailors will not deliver on time. The worst part is that they always have excuses for their shortcomings. To avoid wahala, just lie to them. If you need your outfit in three weeks, tell your tailor you will urgently need it in a week. That way, even if they’re late, they will still meet your deadline.
Nigerian tailors are a lot to deal with. Most of us have experienced one or two disappointments from these tailors. Sometimes, it’s not their fault. But most times, it is. If you’re a Nigerian tailor, please try as much as possible not to disappoint your customers. Learn to plan your schedules, keep records of your customers, and create a calendar while noting each outfit’s deadlines. And for God’s sake, don’t take more than you can handle.