I did a post a few weeks back about an effort being undertaken by some intrepid souls in Newnan Georgia to resurrect the apparel industry in that fine town. Well, I have gotten myself on the mailing list for the Newnan “Sewing Project” and here is the latest news. First, Don Chapman and the rest of the project members had their first meeting. The group decided that they needed to decide what product to make, as lots of other decisions will flow from that decision. In typically American fashion, the group is going to ask all sorts of people in Newnan for ideas of what their first project should be. In Don’s words, ” Once we decide on a product we can then estimate our cost in materials, the type of equipment needed, the time it will take to produce the product and the amount of training the sewers will need. Then we can come up with a business plan and then acquired the needed amount of money.” Seems completely sound to me.
Don has reached out to Sharon Tennison, who is the visionary behind the Sewing Project. Sharon had some good thoughts regarding what the first product should be. Sharon urges the Sewing Project to start with something simple, so the sewing trainees can cut their teeth on something fairly basic and then move on to more advanced products as their skills grow. Sharon thinks a lines of children’s pajamas would be a good start. Sharon has other great advice; “In any case, you will learn-in-the-doing. This includes product and everything else. Look at it as a glorious experiment that will continue getting better and better – and more and more needed by the public. Hence more Americans will learn new trades and be able to feed their families! Excuse my getting off into visioning!”
“More Americans will learn new trades and be able to feed their families!” Sharon has stated my central thesis and the reason I am writing my book and writing this blog. We have far too many people in this country who used to make things and were therefore able to feed their families, who today are not in a position to make anything. As a result, they have to rely on someone besides themselves to feed their families. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I think what is going on in Newnan can be a template for communities across this country. But only if we as American consumers respond by buying the pajamas, shirts, cars, tools, and other products that the members of our extended American family are making. Not all the time perhaps, but probably most of the time. Take my word for it, it isn’t that hard. We can do it, I know we can.
On a related note, I would love you to leave a comment if you know of any efforts similar to the Sewing Project in Newnan. Also, what do you think about the Sewing Project and its goals? Realistic? Unrealistic? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks,