Presented for your enjoyment.
I found this paragraph especially funny:
It would be an equivalent to me saying to a baker: ‘Here are 3 eggs and some icing sugar, you provide the rest and I want you to make me a 3 tier wedding cake, please’. Nobody does that, so why people assume costumiers ( or jewellers, corsetieres or generally small businesses) are any different?
because in wedding cake decorating circles, the opposite POV is often used: "People don't say to their dressmakers that it's just fabric and cotton, why does it cost so much - but they say to us, 'It's just flour and eggs, why does it cost so much'?"
Actually, I spent three years *auditing* a mailing list for sewing professionals - as I was considering starting a sewing business "soon". I wanted to find out how to write a proper contract and know what kind of things might come up.
And there were a lot of comments about seamstresses being handed "some" fabric and maybe a zipper then being told that they wanted a garment like this (ripped out from a catalog or magazine). No thread, no pattern, no buttons, and none of the various bits & pieces (lining fabric, hooks & eyes, interfacing, petersham to support a waistband)....and usually the piece of fabric was too short for the garment in question, too. Then the customer would scream because the cost for thread, labor to hand draft a pattern, fittings, more fabric, the bits & bobs, and then the time spent doing the cutting & sewing...
After the first three months, I was pretty sure that I was *not* going into business with my first idea, because I already knew that the prices the target audience was looking at as "right for them" wouldn't cover fabric & the small fee to the pattern maker ($1 garment) for the right to use the pattern as a business. Much less buttons, zippers, thread, interfacing, electricity for the sewing machine & iron, and everything else involved in turning a yard or three of fabric into a blouse, dress, or whatever else they ordered. In fact, I would have had to find fabric on sale for about $1 yard (not easy twenty years ago and even less likely today) and buy cheap thread in bulk - no buttons, no zippers, and no interfacing or pressing for shaping.
I forget where I saw this anecdote - but it is supposed to date to 100 years ago (or so - at any rate, a time when a well dressed woman didn't step out of her house to go somewhere without a hat on her head).
A younger woman whose husband was applying for an important or promotion needed a hat to go to dinner with the boss and his wife (job entailed some evening duties and she was being looked at as she would be the "hostess" for her husband). She needed to look well dressed, serious, in touch with fashion but not dressed in a way that looked either too fashionable or unfashionable, and so forth & so on. Her husband had impressed on her that getting the right hat might easily double his current paycheck (or more) and that it was his first step on the ladder to a lot of promotions that might end up with him being quite high up in the "firm" (lawyer, banker, or some other *large* business).
She went to the hat maker's shop and tried on every hat in the window, every hat in the store, and started crying because none of them were *the hat*. She was going to cost her husband his chance at this worked for and hoped for promotion....
The hat maker came out, listened to her story, and asked to borrow a small diamond stick pin that she was wearing, picked up a scrap bit of leftover black velvet from the table at the client's elbow, and proceeded to pleat, twist, and pin the bit of velvet into a hat with the diamond stick pin to keep it in shape. On the client's head it was clearly the *perfect* hat for that event, that woman, and might get her asked the name of the shop where she'd gotten it by the boss's wife.
She asked the price. It was high. She gasped and insisted that it was "only a bit of velvet and her own stickpin". The hat was removed, shaken out to flatten the twists & pleats, folded & rolled into a ball and handed her with the stickpin.
"The velvet is a gift - but the hat is still *high price*" - it wasn't the velvet or the stickpin - it was the creativity of the hat maker and the training that let her turn the bits & bobs around her into a hat that were what the customer was paying for.
And that holds true for so many crafts and skilled workers (plumbers, electricians, and more jobs than I want to list - not just hat makers, seamstresses, and bakers) - it's the materials, the time, and knowing how to turn the materials into the desired commodity that costs money. And *you get what you pay for* - which so many people seem to have forgotten....