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Introducing: Course of Trade!
Libby here! I'm the production director at Malia Mills and for the past five years I've been working with our pattern makers, cutters, and sewers in our Industry City studio and in our factories in New York, New Jersey and California to create all the kickass Malia Mills swim and ready to wear styles that fill your drawers and closets.
2018 is seeing the launch of a new project for me and a new partnership for Malia Mills. In addition to continuing to work my magic with production, I've started Course of Trade, a registered 501c3 dedicated to providing industrial sewing training to New Yorkers in need -- no previous sewing experience necessary.
Course of Trade was born out of our struggle to set up an in-house factory. We saw the need for jobs in our community but we had a hard time finding sewers. Digging deeper we saw that over half of the garment manufacturing workforce is over the age of 45 and trained talent simply does not exist to step in as master sewers retire.
There is tremendous pride in using hands and heart to make meaningful things and well paying jobs to be had. We are here to help! The beautiful thing about sewing is that not only is it teachable, it's incredibly gratifying. I have worked with our in-house sewers Olga, Elaine and Annie to create a modular learning system designed to minimize the barrier to entry for those new to sewing and industrial machines. The goal is to make the process as stress-free as possible -- I did a test teaching our studio teams to sew and what I saw was that the biggest obstacle to learning a new skill set was anxiety and the fear of not getting it right straight out of the gate. So we broke down the process into easily understood sections (we've got multi-lingual manuals) and paired it with a video to ensure that we are setting up our trainees for success. Thank you Olga for wearing our GoPro harness as a hat!
the first one hundred bags are in works!
for every bag sold, 100% of the $30.12 proceeds funds the training costs and wages for each trainee to learn to sew as a paid student of course of trade.
the design of the bag is the product of speaking to our factory partners and observing the skills used most frequently on the factory floor: darts, merrowed seams, double needle hems, and clean finishing.
darts in the double-lined base of the bag gives shape for all your toting needs.
the wide strap teaches top stitching and creates two side pockets, perfect for stashing your cell phone and beach pass.
reinforced stitching on the body of the bag adds strength and means you can toss a six pack in your bag and be on your way (trust me, i tried).
this is more than a bag. it's an opportunity.
it's a chance for us to teach and those in need to learn new skills.
it's a chance to make a difference, one person and one stitch at a time.
selling one hundred bags means that we can pay the wages for 2 trainees. we can teach them new skills and help with job placement.
we are always looking for more factory partners to hire our amazing graduates, so keep your ear to the ground for us!
learn more here!