Custom made

Custom made: 5 useful tips

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5 useful tips when shopping for custom made in Hoi An

1- Time!

The typical response that you will receive from a tailor or shoe shop is that your order will be ready “tomorrow”; that might be right during the low seaon but not at pick time. Plus there will always be some readjustments to made on your order. Allow 2 days if possible otherwise try asking them to send your order to your destination. Most professional tailors / shoe shops would do that for you.

2 – Chose the materials carefully

There is leather… and then there is fake leather. If the price is too good to be true then probably too good to be true! If the leather is extremely soft to touch then its probably fake.

Another thing to watch out for is painted leather. You ask a color that the shop doesn’t have… spray paint on the leather and job done. Only problem is that that paint will eventually peel off from the leather.

3 – Bargain

Its part of the culture everything has a price and a negotiated price. In small establishments where the ladies where pajamas then its always a give away that you will need to bargain BUT when it comes to leather shoes or bags if you bargain too much so will the quality.

They will go as far as using fake leather instead of genuine leather to make up for the ‘loss’. But generally, they will cut costs on things such as zippers – they will use plastic instead of metal, no eyelet for shoes, glue for soles etc…

Most of the shops will charge you 3% of their Vietnamese bank fees to you while you will still have the additional fees from your bank. That should be covered by the shop not the client again stand your ground!

4 – Shortcuts

On topic with #3, its all great making custom made clothes, shoes or bags but the point behind that is that you will be able to use your purchases for some time and not just a couple of times.

Things to watch for:

1# Glue

Most shoe shops don’t actually do any stitching around the soles so that means your shoe will most likely fall apart conveniently while being out and about.  You must ask for stitching otherwise they may not do it, it will cost nothing to them and should be free.

2# Plastic Zippers

For travel bags, not a good idea. Ask for metal zippers, these will last a lot longer but because keep in mind that replacing a zipper will cost around the same as the bag.

3 # Fake leather

Although well explained above, nothing feels more cheap to wear than a pair of fake leather shoes. You came to a shoe shops to get leather shoes made, stick to the plan and check the materials very carefully

5 – Commission

Check blogs, guides or travel websites but don’t go through a kind recommendation from your hotel or tour guide they are promoting a certain shop not because of the quality of the products but because they have an agreed commission deal. That will be unknowingly out of your own pocket, they charge up to 40% commission!


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