Of Scoundrels, Fried Herrings, and Transforming Your Business and Your Life

I called up a bespoke tailor in the UK yesterday.

Let me tell you, I was pretty hot dang nervous.

Strange, because we’ve been in touch before – a few years ago, when I was an active moderator on a professional tailor’s forum.

(How you doin’ there, KG?)

Not that we had ever spoken on the phone or met, but it wasn’t exactly a cold call.

Turned out, she’s a real nice and very smart gal, and we had a fun little chat.

But despite my fears, I had to do it.

I’d had enough of my own hypocrisy – telling you all that you need to get yourself out there, that people are looking for you – but not making much of an effort to eat my own medicine.

It was the first time that I stepped out and admitted to someone in the industry (aside from a personal friend and a mad Scotsman) that I’ve closed shop and switched careers.

For years, I’ve carefully kept my real identity hidden, working under a doing-business-as, a pen name.

All that time, I told myself that it was to protect my reputation – because while I’m not the world’s best tailor, I did build up a bit of standing among my peers.

Funny, actually, because my suits were actually a whole lot better than most of what I saw on Savile Row – widely considered home of the world’s best tailoring.

Both in terms of cut and make, I’ve seen with my own eyes garments that were touted as the finest, sir,  – and some of those couldn’t hold a candle against some of my work.

The thought that I would be ‘found out’, that someone would say: “Ooh look at that Martin, he went bankrupt! Must have been not much of a tailor, he”, it petrified me.

I was a good tailor, but I was a terrible businessman, back then.

Which is why I spent the last few years studying my head off, pouring countless hours of research and learning in ye olde stellar noggin.

If I’d want to, I could restart my old website, which is still alive, and turn it into a thriving little shop, with all that I’ve learned since letting the site go into hybernation.

Not that I want to – I’m having much more fun teaching and helping people grow their business, these days.

Anyway, I’m just telling you this because I want to show you that even someone with as many hangups and insecurities as I do can get over himself and make the call.

Get himself out there. Show up. Like I constantly implore you guys to do.

It felt good.

Yes I was nervous, but in the end I enjoyed it.

The point is, I believe in my work.

I know that what I do helps, works, ‘turns’ people.

And the remarkable things was that it all clicked, it was right.

But most importantly, it proved to me that yes indeed, I – just like you – have a duty to show up, to get out there and tell people about solutions and methods that work.

Beautiful to see her reaction, too: Told me she’s adding an optin form to her site (good!), but, she wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the list she’d be building.

Obviously I told her to send a daily email, explained how it worked, and I could almost hear the lightbulbs go on.

“But, what do I write about?”

Dude… anything!

How this needle has too thick a point and the other brand just glides through the cloth.

How a client came in asking for a funky outfit.

Why you do like working with woolens, but not with silks.

The sheer joy of walking into your new, spacious, well-lit studio and having all tools and materials at the ready instead of tucked away in boxes.

Just tell stories, that’s all you need to do.

Include a little pitch, send.

Talk about the fact that if a gentleman wants a suit that fits, he should leave his wife at home.

Funny story about that, too: On Savile Row, a wealthy gentleman once came in for a fitting.

He’d brought his wife along, and she wanted to be helpful.

She kept telling the tailor where to pinch the cloth, how long the sleeves should be, that there was a bulge on the back…

Because of the interference, the tailor (one of the real master tailors of the day) was unable to do his work.

Fed up and frustrated, he walked up to the lady, slung the tape measure around her neck, and admonished a severe ‘good luck madam’ to her, before steaming out of the fitting-room.

Yeah us tailors, we’re  funny bunch.

Like, don’t even get me started on why the ladies who do finishing work, like buttonholes, are called ‘kippers’ in the UK.

Ok then, fine: Kippers is the name for the two fried herrings that come with a traditional English breakfast.

Now, finishers used to work at home: the tailor would take the nearly finished suit to her house and leave it for her to do her work.

But tailors tend to be notorious scoundrels (not me, of course ;) and had a bad reputation for trying to come on to the poor girls.

So, they took up the practice of working in pairs, so as to be safe from undue advances, and over time they started to get called kippers.

“‘Ere boy, take this two-piece to the kippers, there’s a good lad”.

Must say, there are times I do miss the tailoring world, but then again: I’m much more use doing what I do these days.

Like, calling up people and telling them: “You can charge much more than you do now, and earn a good living, sell as much as you can handle, if you just send your people a fun, friendly, useful and entertaining email each day.

KG got it – and I hope she’ll start.

If she starts, and keeps it up, her life will transform.

And so will yours, provided you do it.

The 30-day challenge.

Do it.

It works.

And if you want to learn how it works?

Then repair to this here explicatory page and see how writing mentorship can help you –> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/



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