|Ding Baoming in 1986 [Beijing Evening News]|
A physically-impaired tailor from Beijing has developed her sewing store into a clothing company by virtue of craftsmanship and high-quality service over the past 35 years, according to a recent profile.
Ding Baoming, 56, was one of the first batch of self-employed people in the capital city of the country. Over the past three decades, she has made exquisite clothes for numerous physically-impaired people, ordinary citizens, stars, statesmen and even astronauts.
Ding always wears a big smile on her face, despite the many mishaps she has gone through in the past.
As a baby, she caught polio. At 18, she was told that physically-impaired people were not allowed to take China's college entrance exam, just several days before the test.
At 20, she thought she would take over her mother's stable job, but her application was rejected because of her physical disability.
Luckily, she is endowed with deft hands. Taking a keen interest in needlework, she thought it might be a good choice for her to make clothes.
In 1983, she applied for a business license and embarked on setting up a clothing business in her bedroom the size of 10 square meters. Gradually, her business picked up, so she rented a nearby bungalow and put up a shop sign which read Baoming Clothing Store.
In late 80s and early 90s, more and more people went to her store as it grew in reputation. Some of the customers were dignitaries who needed to wear business suit during their working trip abroad.
The first person who asked her to make a business suit was a plump lady in her neighborhood. And yet, she failed to fulfill this order due to a problem in the armholes.
Not knowing where the problem came from, she consulted an experienced tailor, who told her that she had used a formula set for standard figures rather than plump people.
The lady was thoughtful. She comforted Ding and told her that she would not make similar mistakes again in the future as she has drawn lessons from her failure. From then on, Ding aspired to treat each of her works more meticulously and make the best clothes that fit her customers.
In 1992, Ding closed her store to take a three-year course in clothing design at the Teachers' College of Beijing Union University.
Never was she absent from a single class, be it rain or shine. Three years later, she graduated with outstanding performance, and resumed her previous work.
Her degree earned at university seemed to add wings to her clothing store and enabled it to fly higher.
Soon afterwards, she made her name as a careful tailor good at making comfortable clothes. More and more customers came to place orders at her store, and it was so popular that there were no seats available for the expectant customers. Sometimes, they needed to place an order three months in advance.
At that time, the clothing industry witnessed big changes. Lots of tailors flooded from southern China, making the competition in this industry all the more fierce. In spite of the situation, Ding said she could attract customers with craftsmanship and credit.
In 2000, she expanded her store to a clothing design studio specializing in haute couture. She even founded a clothing company and employed over 100 workers to made clothes for big companies, institutes and schools.
On the strength of her high skills, she won many awards, such as the first place in National Skills Contest for the Disabled and Beijing Role Model.
In 2012, her exquisite craftsmanship helped her get an order from Beijing Aerospace Control Center — to make suits for the staff serving Chang'e-3 probe, which later carried the first Chinese lunar rover on the moon in December 2013.
For confidentiality reasons, she had no idea who would wear the suits, just knowing that she must put forward a design scheme in 48 hours and then make the clothes accordingly.
Her thriving business has improved her life to a large extent. What remains unchanged is her care for the physically-impaired, as she knows how difficult it is to buy clothes that fit them.
Recently, she has made clothes for Qi Kaili, a physically-impaired fencer.
Ding's experiences have also reflected the big changes in people's lives and clothing industry since reform and opening-up.
|Ding Baoming measures a customer. [Beijing Evening News]|
(Source: Beijing Evening News/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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