Claudia; Out With The Old, In With The New

I started and developed my own business, a project very few people have had any luck with. It took more than a couple of years to get it off the ground and eventually profitable, but with perseverance and lots of will power I was able to succeed in the long run. My solution as to what to do to make that possible was to buy older clothes, that were being routinely disposed of at thrift stores and charity shops and remake them into current fashions. I started with male clothes. But found that was not my magical key to success. Men’s fashions do not change that much, so even if the garment was changed from the original design, it still looked somewhat out dated. However, female fashions were a totally different story. Take a full skirt and change the waistband, then recut it to a pencil style skirt after shortening the hem and the once disposable skirt, now a fashion desirable. The main advantage in using older clothes is the fabrics available back then were much higher quality then those in use today.

It took the gals that I hired a few days to catch on to what I wanted, but they were soon evaluating the incoming goods and turning it into modern fashionable designs that were sought after and desired by the bargain conscious female shopper. I purchased a warehouse, where the ladies could perform the work. Then stuck my neck out and bought new sewing machines and laundry equipment for the ladies to use. The warehouse was fair sized, but was kind of out of the way, hence the selling price was reasonable. It had a lot of skylights, so additional lighting was not necessary for the ladies to do the work, other than what was on the sewing machines.

At first, I only had a corner of the building I had purchased for the sale of the garments. As we produced more unique garments and word of mouth spread I decided to open a stand alone store specifically for selling of the goodies we were producing. It took about two weeks for our customers to find the new store, since I was doing all of this without advertising what we were doing. Let’s face it money was tight, with the wages I was paying, two payments on property I was purchasing, and now more help to run the store.

Things progressed so at the end of the sixth month we now had five stores and word of mouth was spreading about what we offered and our reasonable prices. I now have two females out doing the buying, shopping all of the thrift stores within a hundred miles looking for goods we could redo. I had done the initial buying of clothes, but the gals did so much better at picking what could be transformed into something salable.

We had branched out to every type of female garment, including dresses, blouses, skirts, shorts and even some evening wear. In a couple of instances the places we shopped out would set aside incoming donations till we had a chance to go through them, they still got their desired price for the items but did not have to clean, hang and pay someone to sell the item.

My ladies doing the renovations on the garments now numbered fifty doing the cutting and sewing, along with twenty ladies manning the stores and selling the merchandise. The gals doing the renovations were accomplished seamstresses, taking an old garment and making it desirable, in most cases, in less than an hour. That along with the two ladies doing the purchasing left me with quite a payroll. The first year I had reasonable success with selling the goods, but paying on the properties I was buying and the initial cost of the sewing machines and laundry equipment left very little for me after payroll was deducted from the quote unquote profit. There was a light at the end of the tunnel though, as I now owned most of the equipment used in the production of the garments and had paid down considerable on the warehouse and stores I was purchasing that were used in making and selling the finished designs.

I found out from the two buyers that extra items were being added to their selections, the stores adding in things they could not sell rather than have to pay to dispose of said items. The girls had started marking their purchases with a colored plastic strip, barely visible but proof of what items they had indeed paid for. The ladies doing the cutting and sewing went through everything, if they could do something with the item it was handled whether it was a purchased item or not.

One of my first hires, a lady by the name of Florence did the sorting of each completed item, looking for the small plastic strip as she sorted the items to be sent to the stores. She quickly learned the wants of each stores clientele, sending the appropriate item to the store most likely to be able to sell that item. Things she was in doubt about were stored in the part of the warehouse where we first had set up a place to sell our products. Now that area was becoming full, but the ladies were doing such a good job in redesigning the clothes that I didn’t want to complain or in anyway make a fuss about what they chose to make out of the used clothes.

In a way we were like a big family, several of the ladies husbands drove their trucks and vans to pickup the clothes, with me paying them a fee for their efforts. One of the gals older daughters did the cleaning around the warehouse, then one day a week made a trip to each store to handle anything that needed to be done there. Every couple of weeks she would clean my apartment, I paid her a salary, her gratitude shown to me often quite visible. I was always hugged and received many cheek kisses, her little way to show me how much she appreciated the job. In fact, over the last two years most of my employees greeted me with hugs and kisses. I presume this treatment was since I did not tell them exactly what to do, just let them loose to do what they thought appropriate. I knew everybody by name and asked about their families as I made my rounds. Even though I had stopped to talk to them they never stopped sewing or working on their project.

My lease on my apartment was up for renewal in a month, the landlord seeing a way to squeeze more rent out of me, so I decided to convert the old store in the warehouse into an apartment for me. A couple of the gals husbands were contractors so Florence arranged to have them do the work, saving me quite a chunk of money. I had already seen some of their work at the stores as they remodeled a bathroom or built a service counter. Somehow, Florence made all the garments that were stored in the unused store disappear and the work began, I had told them what I desired, but left it up to them how it would be completed. I was forbidden to look at the work being done, Florence said it would be a nicer surprise when the job was completed. Eight weeks later they finished their work, at only a fraction of the estimated cost.

A grand unveiling was planned for this Friday, all of the employees invited to see what had been done and whether I liked it or not. We even closed the stores early so those ladies could attend. Florence arranged for everyone to make a dish to bring to the unveiling, tables being set up in the warehouse so everyone could partake of all of the goodies. I suggested that their families be included too, that suggestion getting me more than a little heartfelt attention and thanks from the ladies.

We ate first then the apartment doors were opened and everyone toured my new abode. I had tears in my eyes as I made my way through the place, everything I had desired and so much more. There were curtains over each window, recognizing a lot of the material used, then on the beds were matching bedspreads to coordinate with the curtains. Then I took in a deep breath, realizing that the place was fully furnished, not a stitch of my old worn out furniture from the old apartment visible. The furniture was all second hand some of it from the frequently visited thrift stores, but refinished or re-upholstered as needed. I looked at Florence, who nodded and came to hug me, whispering that all of this was a gift from the girls for what I have done for them. She took hold of my arm and showed me the rest of the place, it was truly phenomenal what they had accomplished.

Florence announced the showing was over, pushing everybody out of the apartment. Once everybody but a few of the girls and her were remaining I was told that the next part of my surprise is non negotiable. Carmelita the gal who cleans my apartment and the rest of the facilities is mainly responsible for this next part. She discovered a hidden stash of clothing at your apartment, along with a wig, some cosmetics and a few other sundries. Your dressing secrets have been talked about for a long time, but know we have proof of our suspensions. So we have decided this has went on long enough. She reached over to me and started unbuttoning my shirt, while one of the others undid my belt and let my pants drop to the floor. As the other gals left the apartment with a piece of my male clothing in their hands, wide spread giggling could be heard.

That left me with Florence who stepped over to one of the closets and swung the door open revealing an awesome array of feminine clothing. At the end of the closet was shelves with underwear neatly stacked on each shelf. The gals had sewn each and every piece selecting their material from all of the free goods that accompanied the items we purchased. Then I was taken by the hand to the second bedroom where an even larger closet was loaded with more feminine finery, racks of shoes lining the floor under the dresses.

On a vanity table near this closet set all of my makeup and two wigs, each on their styrofoam heads. Florence turned me so I had to look at her, you are to dress as a female now, the gals insist, nothing else is acceptable to them. I was pulled tighter to her and hugged tightly, then she suggested it was such a waste standing there nude when so many beautiful feminine clothes were available for wearing.

“The girls have one more surprise for you. Tomorrow at nine A.M. you have an appointment at the Turnabout Gurl salon to convert that male figure into something more appropriate for all of these nice clothes.”

“Once the salon learned what the girls wanted and checked into what we did, the services to correct your figure deficiencies will be no charge to you, since the salon has a favor or two they would like to trade for. In fact, they want to sell some of your items in their salon, a contract to supply them is awaiting for your perusal in your office. I don’t think you will have to worry about selling the goods in the future. Now get dressed, I am tired of looking at that male figure, we need something more colorful and feminine to grace our owner. Something to reflect her true nature in life.”

“Now get some clothes on, the gals are waiting in the warehouse to see you in your new persona, so lets not disappoint them.”

Just like in my business, out with the old Claude and in with the new Claudia,

Story Incomplete At Present

© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker

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