The Tailor's Guide to Success in Phuket.

Phuket Travel Blog

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Tailor shop in Phuket. That's Chris in the doorway, coming out to sell me a gown.
Bear with me as I poke fun at the overtly aggressive selling efforts of the tailors on Phuket. No matter we went in Phuket, someone tried to sell Steve  a suit and me a gown. There was a tailor on every block! It got to be a bit much, and we went from politely declining, to ignoring them, to trying to avoid them altogether.

I present to you a page from the book…

The Tailor's Handbook to SUCCESS in Phuket.
Follow these tips to make your tailor shop a blazing success!

It’s all in the name: Festoon your storefront with logos of well-known, expensive brands such as Armani, Versace, and Hugo Boss.
Everyone ignored the sign, so I did too!
You may also consider adapting one of the names for the store itself. This will bring the tourists in droves! The name “Armani” on your store will undoubtedly establish you as a reputable authority in the business of creating clothes. People will always pay more for Armani (or something pretty close)! Tip: the more logos, the better.  

Show off your work, but not too much: It is important that you display some of your work in the display window of your store, even though it will most likely be obscured by the logos and stickers recommended above. This is NOT the time to be creative! You want your work to appeal to the general masses, so choose to display generic styles and colors… preferably “proven” styles and colors that were popular several years ago.
Fellow swimmers at Kata Beach.

Be slick: You are the representative of your store, and you must sell, sell, sell… and look the part of a salesman, too! 1) No matter how warm it is, always wear nicely tailored (but generic) long pants and a crisp, long-sleeved shirt. This is the type of clothing the overheated beach-going tourists passing your store are most likely to buy. It also serves to offer them pleasant memories of the business meetings back at home, which they always miss terribly when they are on vacation. 2) You must always be clean-shaven, and wear lots of cologne. You might consider applying gel to your hair, for a slick look. Potential buyers appreciate and trust a slick-looking salesman!

Lie in wait, then pounce! For morning to night, lurk just under the eve of your shop. When an unsuspecting tourist happens by, lunge out quickly, saying, “Hello! My Friend!” Extend your hand to further establish your professionalism and trustworthiness. If you are met with resistance, or if your target is so rude as to ignore you, it’s a good idea to position your body (and your smiling face!) directly in his path. Remember: PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF! If this technique does not result in success the first time, remember they have to pass you going back the other way, so: try, try again. And again, if necessary.  

A final word of advice: if the recommendations above do not result in a sale, try your best to look hurt and offended.  If you can make your target feel bad or guilty, you are one step closer to a sale! Remember, sell, sell, sell… and never give up!


Today Steve was working, so I went on my own in the sweltering heat. I returned the rental car, and walked slowly back to the apartment. So hot! On my way, I saw the tailor who has been haunting us the past two weeks. No matter how many times we passed and said “no thank you,” he would still optimistically try to sell us clothes. The man is indefatigable.

I had time to kill so I stopped to chat. His name was Chris.  “Where are you from?” he asked. “Chicago?! Great! I love your drink! Red Bull! So good!”  The man had confused his sports teams with his energy drinks! I tried to set him straight, telling him that the Bulls basketball team is from Chicago, but Red Bull is from the Netherlands (I looked it up later. Oops, it’s Austria.) I asked where he was from. “Burma! I am Burmese. Nice people!” I asked about his family, and he said he was from the north and everyone was unaffected by the cyclone. We talked a bit about how nice Burma is, then the topic moved back to the cyclone and the foreign aid situation. He ranted a bit about the corrupt government. “They just steal. Everything!” He told me his friend back home had just purchased a very fine, “very expensive” (about $10) bed covering at a market in Burma. When the friend got home, he found a tag hidden in the blanket that said, “Donated by the people of Japan.” Chris insisted that the government sold the bedspread intended for the cyclone victims.

We spoke for about 30 minutes. Chris speaks several languages, but English is his “worst,” so it was a slow conversation. During our talk, he didn't try to sell me any clothes at all. He was actually a really nice guy.

Sometimes, when you’re pestered and annoyed by a slick-looking salesman (or a pushy lady with jewelry and rain ponchos), it’s so hard to remember that behind every tailor shop and souvenir stand is just a regular person, trying to make a living.


Later that afternoon, after Steve and I had lunch (again) at Thai Food Restaurant, I decided to go to the beach. Two weeks here, and I hadn’t yet been sun worshipping OR swimming! (Steve stayed behind. He hates sand :^)

I laid out my towel on Kata Beach at 2:20 with the goal to spend 30 minutes basking in the sun. Tick tock tick tock. BORING! I can’t do this. About 5 minutes later I headed to the water … and the crazy crashing surf that I’ve been admiring and fearing these last two weeks. 

I don’t have a lot of experience swimming in the ocean other than when I have been scuba diving (a completely different thing), and there was a Rip Tide Warning sign posted(!), so I made sure I was around other people and within sight of the lifeguard when I went into the water.  I went out a little bit,  then a little bit further, and…wham! Slammed by one wave, and then another. It took me a while to figure out the best way to meet the waves (jump up over it as best you can, twisting to let it hit your back), but I had an absolute blast getting completely pummeled by the waves! The whole time my swimsuit kept trying to swim off with out me! (Everyone else seemed to be having the same problem.) I did this for about an hour. It was fantastic fun and a good work out … too bad I waited until the last day to give swimming a shot!
stabber911 says:
red bull reference can be found in
Posted on: May 17, 2008
stabber911 says:
Amazingly accurate marketing strategy!! luckily I am a local when I walk pass these tailer shop! :) However, I must tell you original 'Red Bull' Drink is more than 30 years and from Thailand!!! The Thai 'Red Bull' sale the name and formula to Austria the right to sale red bull outside Thailand.. If you go to Thai's 7/11 you will still find original red bull in small brown bottle and the taste is a little difference than the red bull in can.
Posted on: May 17, 2008
sandra-kids says:
Ahh that guide was so funny! What a great lesson to share -- those sales people are really just trying to make a living. Swimming sounds fun, maybe you will find another beach at your next destination.
Posted on: May 17, 2008
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Tailor shop in Phuket. Thats Chri…
Tailor shop in Phuket. That's Chr…
Everyone ignored the sign, so I di…
Everyone ignored the sign, so I d…
Fellow swimmers at Kata Beach.
Fellow swimmers at Kata Beach.
photo by: Aclay01