Mrs. Wang was a bit doubtful seeing Su Tang’s age, but then the little girl also seemed very confident, so she said “Miss Tang, you should know that if the distinguished customer is unhappy, you probably won’t be able to make any money. Let me ask first, did you make those clothes you’re wearing?”
Although Su Tang’s clothes were made from coarse cloth, Mrs. Wang had run a fabric store for a long time and she could see at a glance that their craftsmanship was excellent. It was only because she saw how finely made Su Tang’s clothes were that she dared to bring up the request from her distinguished customer at all.
If Su Tang had the courage to work with the rare fabric called satin, and she could showcase the same level of craftsmanship as was on the clothes she was wearing, then the noble young master’s order could probably be fulfilled.
Su Tang nodded, “Of course, I made my clothes myself. Mrs. Wang, you can see my craftsmanship yourself, I think it should be up to the task. My embroidery skills are not quite as good, but I do have some skill with drawing patterns and, if the client can tell me what they want, I guarantee that I will be able to satisfy them. However, first, could you tell me how much the client plans to pay to have the clothes made?”
Pei Xuan, who was standing outside, couldn’t help but sniff in his heart when he heard the little girl ask how much she would be paid for her work twice in as many minutes. Sure enough, she was really a little money-grubber.
Su Tang naturally did not know that someone had thoughts about her continuous inquires about payment, but even if she did know she wouldn’t care. After all, this was business. While it was true that she had some passion for making clothes, it was all dependant on whether there was an appropriate amount of money involved. Only once the money was in place would things run smoothly.
Who would forget to ask clearly about the money? At any rate, she certainly wouldn’t.
Mrs. Wang didn’t feel anything off when Su Tang asked about how much she would be paid. They were all people living in ordinary families, so who wouldn’t make this point clear? But when she heard Su Tang say that she could do the embroidery herself she was pleasantly surprised. “Miss Tang*, you can do the embroidery?”
Su Tang nodded. “Yes, so…”
Mrs. Wang saw Su Tang’s expression and understood what she wanted to know, so she said, “Well, that noble young master only came here yesterday. I told him I needed to talk to my embroiderer first, so the price hasn’t been completely settled yet.”
“The price he offered for making a set of clothes was five taels of silver, and he also said that he wants two sets. If Miss Tang can really make the clothes then I will only charge two taels for being your intermediary. However, if the clothes aren’t made to the customer’s satisfaction then it’s uncertain what will happen. You should know that enough of this fabric called satin to make two sets of clothes will probably cost at least thirty taels. Miss Tang, you should think carefully, whether you want to take this job is up to you.”
Su Tang was really tempted when she heard that she could make so many taels of silver just for making two sets of clothes, it would clearly be more profitable than her businesses of fish balls or soap.
However, this work would require Su Tang to really do it herself. It wasn’t like the fish balls which could be processed and taken out directly from the space, or the soap which only took the effort of taking two things and then heating and mixing them together.
If she agreed to make these clothes then she would be personally responsible for every stitch, but she would also earn eight taels of silver. From what she knew of her own speed, the two sets of clothes wouldn’t take her more than half a month to make. If she could really earn eight taels of silver in half a month then she would have enough money to buy a mu of fertile land that could be worked immediately.
“It shouldn’t be a big problem. I can accept that price. However, if the client wants me to tailor the embroidery to them individually, there will be an added cost for that. Also, I’ll have to look at the material myself before I can be sure.”
Su Tang had come into contact with every kind of fabric under the sun in her previous life so she was very confident in her abilities but, after all, these were the ancient times, so she needed to be cautious. Moreover, Su Tang knew that while Mrs. Wang said that the customer had offered five taels of silver per set of clothing, in fact, that was not necessarily the case.
She didn’t like being cheated but, on the other hand, if it wasn’t for Mrs. Wang she wouldn’t have even had the chance to get in touch with the customer in the first place, and just forget about anything else. However, at least by doing things the way she had just said, she would be able to charge her own separate fee for the embroidery and Mrs. Wang wouldn’t be able to say anything about it.
As expected, when Mrs. Wang heard Su Tang say that she wanted to charge a separate fee for the embroidery, she didn’t say anything, she just smiled and nodded. “If Miss Tang is going to personally tailor the embroidery with your own patterns then it’s only right to ask for a fee. Anyway, I have specially left the fabric aside here, Miss Tang why don’t you take look?”
*im tired of awkwardly trying to shove ‘tang girl’ or ‘girl tang’ or w/e in these so I think I’m just gonna go with ‘Miss’. The dictionary tells me ‘Miss’ means an unmarried woman or girl under 30 years old so I think it’s the best word to use. (EDIT: I think I walk this decision back in the future sorry folks)
tl note: If you’re confused about what they’re talking about wrt the embroidery, well, I think it’s like this: Presumably there would be a flat price to hire someone to embroider your clothes for you in whatever standard patterns they use in the shop. But Su Tang is saying she had her own patterns (from her time as a fashion major presumably) so there will be an extra fee for that.
4 thoughts on “PFGS – Chapter 55 – Here Comes a Big Job”
I don’t get how much they’re selling the clothes for. It says the customer is offering 5 taels for one set, meaning 10 taels for two. But in that same paragraph it also says that, in order to buy enough satin for two sets of clothes that it will cost 30 taels. She’s losing 20 taels, how exactly is this a good deal?
Thanks for the chapter.
I think that’s the labor fee excluding fabric
The customer already provided the satin, they’re just asking for it to be made into clothes. The shopkeeper is mentioning the price because if Su Tang ruins the materials she’ll probably have to reimburse the customer, so the shopkeeper is warning her that taking this job is risky if she doesn’t do well.
Embroidery patterns were valued as private property, almost like copyright in modern times on artistic works. Reputable embroidery houses had set patterns that customers could choose from, or they could request custom patterns that would be created specifically for them. If the customer wanted that pattern reserved for their clothing and no one else, they paid a high fee for that right, otherwise, that new pattern could be added to the embroidery house stock of patters. Embroidery houses had women that were servants trained to do embroidery work, but also hired skilled women outside to embroider individual pieces they commissioned for customers, like a brokerage house for needlework.