How to fail in
The Seamstress can't make dog muzzles?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Chinese translation: Toh Wan-ting
Mrs Fleming's Golden Retriever turned his head up, put his two front
paws to scratch away the size "XL" pink muzzle covering his nose and
mouth frantically. It was an attractive muzzle, made from a
top quality fabric recommended by Mrs Fleming. Mrs Fleming had
asked her seamstress to make the muzzle based on samples (yellow
muzzle in picture) given by me.
Her seamstress had frequently phoned her for more orders to make
blouses as the workers in her Chinatown shop were not gainfully
employed. "My seamstress was willing to lower her prices for making
more blouses for me. I am a Buddhist and I don't press her
prices down to the lowest." Mrs Fleming said.
She was one of those kind business women who would not maximise
profitability, taking advantage of the desperation of the seamstress
so that she would barely earn a profit. She believed in a
"I don't think the Buddha taught that" I replied. "Your seamstress
would have charged a higher price if her services are in great
Now, I wanted the muzzles made as I found them useful when I handle
fierce dogs. In kennel cough vaccination of the nervous stray
dogs at animal shelters, this muzzle type worked very well as I
don't get bitten while I squeezed the vaccine directly into the
I had given samples to at least 5 Singaporean home-makers and none
of them came back to me or returned the muzzles. There was a
business man who offered to make the muzzles in China at $0.80 per
muzzle, but he had no track record of making dog muzzles.
The muzzles I have prevent the dog biting as there is no open "hole"
in front of the muzzle. I could muzzle the dog faster
just by knotting up the two loose ends. This was
time saving when I handle nervous cross-bred dogs for vaccination.
The ones on sale at most pet shops have a big open front and some
dogs are known to bite through this hole.
In addition, the locking clip needed time to adjust. Big
strong fierce dogs don't give the vet much time to fiddle and
tighten the muzzle. There may be a market to supply all the
200 pet shops in Singapore and the world a well designed and
attractive muzzle at an affordable price. My problem was to
find a seamstress willing and able to make dog muzzles in Singapore.
So, I asked Mrs Fleming who designs and sells blouses to boutiques,
to ask her seamstress to make muzzles when I did a house call to
treat the Golden Retriever's ears.
"The new muzzle failed the
test." I laughed as I took the muzzle off the dog that always barked
ferociously at me whenever I made a house call. "Look, it is
narrower and more pointed than the one I asked the seamstress to
make. Your dog has a broad muzzle. He can't pant as his nostrils and
mouth are squeezed by its constricted design." The dog
was now happy after the muzzle was slipped off. He had
not objected to the "cheaper fabric" muzzle I had used on him as he
had room to breathe.
"The seamstress can't
make dog muzzles, only human clothing." Mrs Fleming pursed her lips
and looked at me across her long dining table: "And she had
cut many muzzle copies of the expensive fabric I gave to her when I
had asked her to do just one copy of each of the sizes given to
her." The cloth material was expensive and the muzzle
prototypes were useless.
"It is not her lack of skill," I commented. She did
not unstitch the whole
muzzle to make the mold. She unstitched half of the bigger muzzle
and the other sizes were left alone."
Not listening to and giving what the customer wants
will make any service provider to lose the business to competitors
and even face bankrutcy. A rental realtor who shows the
expatriate housing above his budget will have wasted his time and
money showing beautiful dream houses but earning zero commission.
The expatriate will ring up another housing agent to get what he
wants. A dog groomer who insists on leaving the hairs on the
head and feet when asked to clip the whole dog bald will lose his
customer sooner or later.
In this case, the seamstress ought to unstitch all muzzles and study
how they were made. If she could improve on the model, I would be
most happy and definitely make use of her services, as seamstresses
who make muzzles are a rare breed in Singapore. She would have
all my business and referrals. An a new source of revenue to keep
her workers gainfully employed if I make it big globally as a
supplier of dog muzzles.
To give what the customer (your boss or your cliente) wants is only
possible if you are passionate about your occupation or
business. The seamstress would need to be interested in
checking out how other dog muzzles are made by visiting pet shops,
read up books and surf the internet to check out other models.
If there is no passion as judged by her disinterest in doing
research (unstitching the muzzles) or reading up to gain specific
knowledge, it was not surprising that she had to look for more
business to make ends meet.
TIPS FOR A LONGER LIFE FOR YOUR PETS
is a Community Education project
using narrative stories. It is sponsored by
Asia USA Realty (Singapore)
asiahomes.com Pte Ltd
Seamstress can't make dog muzzles?
is extracted from the book "Have
Puppy Will Travel".
This article is published in Sin Pet
magazine July 2004. Pictures and the article are
USA Realty (Singapore) asiahomes.com Pte Ltd.
Website: asiahomes.com. Focus:
We find affordable homes for expats. Update:
06 Jul 2004