A New Stitch In Time

Express India,

An uncommon practice in the tailor community, Rajesh Valse, a Camp-based tailor, reaches out to customers through his website

In a corner in the basement of Wonderland, Camp, is the blink-and-you-miss-it tailoring shop owned by Rajesh Valse. Called Rajesh Tailors, this shop is where Valse has conducted his business for the last 30 years. There are other tailoring shops adjacent to his, but none have as yet taken the initiative that Valse has. He has not only set up a website http://www.dollarfashion.in to expand his alteration business, but is also training his workers to become, as he terms it, “masters of their own fate”.

“My father began this business in 1981, and then after him and my brother, I took over. Even though it was a very small enterprise, we were doing very well – financially as well as in expanding the business. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to expand further,” says Valse, as he takes a break from putting a rivet on a pair of denims. After having taken over the business in the late 90s, Valse has expanded to three service centres within the same building complex in Camp and one in Pimpri-Chinchwad. He started the website in 2009. “Once a customer becomes a member by paying Rs 2000, he or she gets a unique dollar I-card. Under the membership, the customer receives a five per cent discount on alteration and a 20-30 per cent discount on stitching of new clothes,” he says.

But that is just one of the benefits of the website, Valse points out. His basic aim is to create a direct line between the customer and the labourer, so that even the workers that he is training now can later become self-employed. “In addition, we also offer insurance for clothes, where dollar club customers can pay Rs 1000 and get any of their clothes, which are expensive or have a sentimental value attached to them, insured. Under this scheme, we also check the clothes for signs of damage, wear and tear and repair them for free for customers four times a year,” he adds.

Valse’s enterprise had even won him a nomination at the Indiamart.com 2010 Leaders of Tomorrow awards. “Even getting a nomination for me was a big deal. It showed that even smaller entrepreneurs have a chance to make it big in this world,” he says. His ideas are exhaustive. “If an existing member of the Dollar Club brings me a new customer, then we pay him/her Rs 500 for the effort. For every new customer, we pay them. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties. My business expands and the customer earns a little bit of money for his or her effort,” he says as he gets back to completing his alterations in time.