Stitch the Tailor had lived in the land of t’Internet for almost all of his life. He was the finest tailor that t’Internet had ever known and his customers included Lord’s, Lady’s and Prince’s. Everyone who bought a garment from Stitch the Tailor knew that they had the best that money could buy and returned several times each year to purchase even finer garments. In fact, his clothes were so sought after that he had a queue of people waiting for an appointment with him.
Because his business had always been so successful Stitch had paid little attention to why his name was so well known. He had assumed that it was because the signs that pointed to his home and workshop were so clear and easy to read. In fact the reason was that everyone who bought something from him boasted to their friends and family that they had been able to get an appointment. As more and more people saw the fine quality of the dresses and suits he made at the grand balls and occasions hosted in the Castle of Lord Google, more and more people wanted the same for themselves.
His waiting list was growing longer by the day as more people came to his workshop asking for an appointment. His appointment diary was getting so full that he almost didn’t have time to make the clothes that people wanted. It was time to hire an apprentice, someone who would be able to take care of his diary and learn the craft of tailoring to the good folk of t’Internet.
His apprentice was eager to learn all the Stitch could teach him because he knew that if he did so, one day he would be able to make as big a name for himself as Stitch the Tailor had. He worked diligently through the long days, making appointments for those who visited and carefully noting down their measurements and addresses in the book that Stitch provided for this purpose. Each day, he learnt a new element of the tailors’ art, and finally the time came when he was allowed to make a dress for the daughter of Lord Google himself.
He worked through the day and night to finish his first creation in time for the ball she was attending. And when the dress was finished all who saw it were enthralled and beguiled for he had woven magic into each seam and layer.
At the ball the dress was much admired, and the revellers were heard to ask who the tailor was that had created it for they wanted the same for themselves. Soon the apprentice as able to leave the workshop of Stitch the Tailor and set up on his own, providing more wondrous and beautiful clothes than those of his master.
Eventually, Stitch noticed that the people thronging outside his door were not quite as numerous as they had once been and wondered what had happened to his signs. He went in search of them, but found that they were as they had always been, clear and neat. He longed to know why his appointment book was no longer crammed with eager purchasers and it was only when a friendly peasant happened to mention the queues outside his former apprentice’s workshop that the penny finally dropped. He was losing customers because his apprentice was being talked about and visited more than he was.
Stitch decided that he would see what he could do and in disguise visited the fellow’s workshop. Through the windows he could see the fabulous dresses and fantastical suits that were being made. He could see the soft and luscious fabrics, and he could see the rows of sequins and pearls waiting to be added as the finishing touch.
Going home he had much to think about and the next day he set about making new designs for dresses and suits; he made suits for boys as well as men, and dresses for girls as well as women. He expanded the ranges he offered and created more for the commoner as well as the Lord’s and Ladies. Slowly he noticed that his workshop was once again thronged with customers and that his appointment book was nicely full. With that knowledge he was confident that he would never again assume that the signs to his workshop were all he needed to be successful.
This is another of my occasional stories called Tales of t’Internet – a slightly sideways look at the magical world of SEO (search engine optimisation). You can read more of my tales here: fiction-central-and-friday-fictioneers/