Govanhill voice spoke to local business owner Olivia of ‘Olivia’s Alterations‘ about her experience of running a shop in the Southside.
Hi Olivia your shop has been open for a while now. How long have you been open and how do you find running your own shop?
Been open just over six years and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard work and very stressful at times, but positives overweight negatives overall. Started training as sewing machinist age of sixteen and worked why way up to management position in factory by age 26 , then been looking myself for few years , came to Glasgow eleven years ago and worked for others until came to idea to have my own little business
Olivia outside her shop on Victoria Road, and how it looked in the 1930’s.
What services do you offer from the shop?
All ladies and gents alterations and repairs from just little repairs, shortening lengths , zip replacements to total makeover for garments. Covering also bridal wear, leather, suede alterations and curtain alterations. Made to measure curtains, roman blinds, pelmets, cushion covers is also big part of the business, made mostly from customer chosen materials and they individual needs and taste. Home consultation given also when required. Also providing a quality dry cleaning service.
What do you like about the area the shop is based in?
It’s very nice community feel in the area, locals are overall friendly and supportive towards local businesses and fellow residents. People are very interested what’s going on locally positive or negative, it’s often subject in conversation with my customers . I have to say I was a bit worried when I first opened my business … How will locals accept me and my services, but feedback is being very positive and welcoming. So therefore big thanks for everyone’s support!
Because of the variety of services you do offer, you must get a chance to work on some fairly interesting things. What is your favourite thing to make or work on?
Yeah, variety is what I love about my job most . I like a challenge now and again .Can’t really bring out anything special at this point . Refit or reshape of any garment for a customers size and shape is very rewarding sometimes, the difference between before and after is huge. In the other hand I enjoy making curtains, roman blinds and other soft furnishings.
Some of Olivia’s blinds and curtains in customers homes.
If you could work on any job project in the world with regards to fitting, altering clothes. Or upholstery and window dressings; what would your dream project be?
Interior design is on my list of things to learn more about and attach to existing business, so far I haven’t had many opportunities to be involved to design full room, but I plan to move to that direction.
You must also get some fairly strange requests. I know that I’ve personally asked you to rivet a deer skin and sew a leather scabbard for a sword before I went up to Shetland for Up Helly Ah. But what are the weirdest jobs or even some of the funny ones maybe?
Ha ha! Now you’re asking! Repaired old teddy bears and some other soft toys, fixed truck and boat covers, bags, dog coats and motor bike gear of any kind . Refurbished whole caravans with full seating re-upholstery…Irish dance dress alterations are becoming popular, people are traveling a long distance to me now, word travels I guess . I even have customers who live as far away as London and Manchester. They wait until they are visiting home and bring all the items they need altered with them.
My Deer skin cloak and sword scabbard for Up Helly Ah in Shetland was one of my stranger requests for Olivia. A dog jacket designed by Olivia.
You’re doing something right with your customer base then and they are obviously very happy with the work, but tell us this; As a seamstress / tailor / maker and mender of all things, is there anything that really rips your knitting? Excuse the pun, lol. Like for example people looking for quotes on the phone or asking you to mend things that are so far gone it’s impossible, because after all you are actually a magician also.
Ooh yes , all the time… Can you sew button?? Can you shorten trousers? Really? How much is to alter a dress? Can you do it now? It’s going on endlessly… I have to bring out here that “covering all aspects in ladies and gents alterations and repairs ” IS including button sewing and trouser shortening service . And altering a dress can include very many different jobs from shortening length to reshaping complete shape of it to suit individual shape and size . So given such wide range options and many different shapes and designs out there, the price can only be given on actual fitting in the shop.
What are the shop opening and closing times?
Olivia’s alterations is open Tuesday 9-5 Wednesday 9-5 Thursday 9-7 Friday 9-5 Saturday 9-4
phone 0141 4232 625 based at 535 Victoria Road.
When you have a question, bring your problem garment in and see what can be done, rather than trying to solve it over the phone .. Check our competitive prices and ‘Like’ Olivia’s Alterations @ Facebook or look up our website oliviasalterations.co.uk
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