立即打开
从制作舞会礼服到生产个人防护用品,服装设计师助力抗疫

从制作舞会礼服到生产个人防护用品,服装设计师助力抗疫

Rachel King 2020年08月13日
疫情促进一家服装设计公司改变商业模式。

今年3月,新冠疫情在美国爆发,从酒品生产商到汽车制造商等私营企业都纷纷行动起来,生产洗手液、呼吸机等基本用品。零售商和时装设计师也被征召加入到这次现代战争式的抗疫行动中来,将生产线从服饰生产过渡到口罩和医疗服等个人防护装备(PPE)生产。

FABRIC是一家时尚孵化器,由安吉拉·约翰逊和和谢莉·巴里于2016年共同创立,旨在帮助服装制造业回流美国,同时帮助服装企业家设计和制造小批量的小众缝制产品,让他们不必在海外过度生产。

约翰逊说:“随着时尚产业从量贩品牌转向直接面向消费者的细分市场在线品牌,我们的公司针对其背后日趋严重的现代问题提出了一个可持续性的解决方案。”她本人也是一位时装设计师,她同名品牌的产品系列中包括非常富有想象力的西装外套以及采用回收T恤制作的舞会礼服等产品。

据约翰逊介绍,FABRIC的总部位于亚利桑那州坦佩市。在过去的四年中,FABRIC与450家新兴服装品牌展开了合作,提供咨询、设计开发、无最低限度生产制造、品牌推广、市场营销、办公空间和活动空间等不同方面的服务,所有这些服务均由FABRIC公司一力完成,而且收费价格也低于市场价。

疫情爆发后,个人防护用品的短缺成为了热点新闻。约翰逊说,FABRIC公司当时收到了大量请求,要求该公司帮助制造个人防护用品,因为他们“是当地唯一一家拥有相应的专业知识、设备并可以设计和制造任何类型的缝纫产品的企业。”因此,他们清理了T台,迅速将整个服装展厅彻底地改造成为一座隔离服生产间,制造由美国食品与药品监督管理局(FDA)批准的、可重复使用的医疗机构专用隔离服。截至7月的第一周,FABRIC的裁缝已经制造了8万多件可持续医疗服——这种医疗服可以清洗100次左右,相当于生产出了800万件一次性医疗服。

近期,约翰逊接受了《财富》杂志的采访,谈到了彻底转变公司商业模式的感受、外人可能很难意识到的种种挑战,以及在此次公共卫生危机期间开发全新的收入来源于她而言是怎样的一种体验。

为简明起见,以下访谈经过缩编。

FABRIC时尚孵化器的联合创始人安吉拉·约翰逊。图片来源:Courtesy of FABRIC

《财富》杂志:您是在什么时候开始意识到新冠疫情大流行会影响到您公司的业务的?最早请您帮助生产个人防护用品的是哪家机构?

约翰逊:3月中旬,新冠疫情开始成为头条新闻,许多企业都倒闭了,个人防护用品的短缺很快就成为了美国最严峻的问题。

作为一家曾经帮助过数百名时尚行业创业者的孵化器,FABRIC是亚利桑那州唯一一家拥有所需的技术、设备、经验以及人力的企业,能够设计并制造几乎所有种类的缝纫产品。为帮助初创品牌,我们生产各种产品,从紧身裤、泳衣、牛仔裤,到连衣裙、包袋甚至缝纫产品的发明等等,而且没有最低产量要求。作为一家创新型孵化器,我们通过自身的影响力建立起了一个意义深远的时尚社区,也获得了一些很关键的奖项,同时还在本州的公共部门和私营企业等机构中建立了一些很重要的人脉。

随着小型医疗机构纷纷开始焦急地询问我们是否能够生产个人防护用品,亚利桑那州商务管理局(Arizona Commerce Authority)等州政府、市政府部门也将我们推荐给了一些规模更大的机构。最早联系到我们的大型医疗机构是Banner Health和Dignity Health。

FABRIC从为数百个小型时尚品牌提供制造服务转而为医疗机构生产数万件经过FDA批准的、可重复使用的医疗服。图片来源:Courtesy of FABRIC

你们的生产线是什么样的?有多少人在参与这个项目?你们生产的大部分个人防护用品都被哪些机构使用了?亚利桑那、得克萨斯、佛罗里达和加利福尼亚等州出现新增病例激增后,情况有没有发生变化?

我们当时是想制造经过FDA批准的个人防护装备,保护医护人员。而由于N95口罩不是缝纫产品,所以我们决定专注于生产经过FDA批准的二级和三级可重复使用隔离服。这类服装的需求量与口罩的需求量一样大,而且由于任何人都可以在家里缝制公众用的布制口罩,医疗保健机构最需要的产品其实是隔离服。

在公司的另一位联合创始人谢莉·巴里的领导下,我们由六名女性成员组成的小型管理团队创建了一个疫情特别工作组。我们把自己关在我们现在称之为“作战室”的房间里面,开了大概18个小时的会,集思广益,讨论如何调整经营模式,能够在这场健康危机中帮助我们的医疗英雄,同时维持原来的业务,继续为数百个依赖于我们的品牌提供服务。我们与我们的非营利组织亚利桑那服装基金会(AZ Apparel Foundation)展开合作,筹集了足够的资金来购买所需的设备,将我们的时装T台改造成个人防护设备工厂,并在创纪录式的短时间内获得了FDA的认证。

我们采购了供应紧张的、美国医疗器械检测协会(AAMI)认证的原材料,还与每家医疗机构的医生合作设计他们需要的特制医疗服;同时从亚利桑达州商务管理局了解到了精益生产方面的内容,另外雇佣了50名工作人员并在我们原来的T台区域建立了四条生产线。每台机器摆放的位置都经过了仔细研究,保证每个缝纫技术员之间都留有6英尺(约1.8米)的距离,而且他们都是背对着其他工作人员的。建立了每条生产线并为其配备了足够的工作人员后,我们很快就开始为Banner Health和Dignity Health生产大量的订单。

约翰逊说:“即便将洗涤价格考虑在内,可清洗医疗服的单次使用价格也比一次性医疗服更低。医院可以根据自身的需要设计并定制医疗服,他们很喜欢这些医疗服。”图片来源:Courtesy of FABRIC

此外我们还认为,公司需要担负起相应的社会责任来满足一些规模较小的医疗机构以及纳瓦霍保留地的需要。纳瓦霍保留地是美国新冠病毒感染率最高的地区之一。我们还创建了一个名为“100万件医疗服挑战赛”(1 Million Gown Challenge)的开源项目,与社区成员分享了我们的设计规格、说明、图案以及在哪里可以获得基本相同的原材料的信息,这样他们就可以在当地生产制作类似的医疗服来满足这类急切的需求。我们还培训并承包了更多的工厂来帮助完成这些大订单。

截至7月中旬,我们已经制造了8万件可重复使用的隔离服,每件都可以清洗100次。这相当于生产了800万件一次性隔离服,所以它也是一个可持续性的解决方案,如果考虑到包括洗涤成本在内的单次使用价格,它们也比一次性隔离服更划算。随着亚利桑那州新冠肺炎病例的增加,个人防护用品的需求也在持续增长,我们也迫切地需要提高生产效率。我们将开始增加夜班制并努力引进更多的工厂。

约翰逊表示:“以前的时尚T台现在变成了个人防护用品工厂,但我们知道公司具备拯救生命所需的技能和资源,我们不能坐视不管。”图片来源:Courtesy of FABRIC

这本应是疫情期间的一种暂时性的商业模式转变,但它现在已经成为永久性的了,或者说至少在新冠疫情大流行期间是这样的。促成这种转变的原因是什么?商业模式的转变带来了哪些挑战?

在新冠疫情大流行之前,我们帮助过的许多品牌都在成长,需要更高的生产能力,因此,为这些品牌提供本地化解决方案本来就已经是我们在讨论的一项议题。当新冠疫情来袭时,我们转而开始在这场紧急危机中帮助我们的社区和医护工作人员。

当我们充满干劲地将时装T台改造成个人防护用品工厂时,我们知道,这些额外的生产机械最终也能够提高我们的生产能力,服务于我们的设计师/品牌群体,但我们当时并没有足够的精力去考虑物流方面问题或预测疫情过后的情况。如今在这场疫情大流行中,我们接到的个人防护用品订单接连不断,而且自从3月以来一直待在家里的新时尚创业者们已经准备就绪,渴望创立自己的时尚品牌。因此,我们收到的常规时尚孵化器服务咨询比以往任何时候都要多。

我们在努力适应生产个人防护用品的同时,还在同一栋办公楼内提供常规孵化器服务的这种新常态。我们目前正在解决如何推进这两种不同商业模式的物流问题。我们不能永远在我们现有的孵化器办公楼中继续生产个人防护用品。这座办公楼并不是为这个目的而建造的。我们需要一个有装卸码头、空间也更大一些的场地,这样才能继续购买更多的机械并雇佣更多的人手。我们也希望FABRIC孵化器有一天能回到原来的模式。为了解决这些问题,我们决定正式为个人防护用品制造业务成立一个实体,叫做Reusa。我们正在努力为Reusa收购一个单独的生产场所。

截至7月9日,FABRIC已经制造了8万多件可持续性医疗服,这些医疗服可以清洗100次。图片来源:Courtesy of FABRIC

从个人的角度来说,无论我们是想称之为“新常态”还是“这段令人焦虑的时期”,您在这次疫情期间过得怎么样?

谢谢你问我这个问题。这场疫情大流行对世界上的每个人来说都是一次严峻的考验,我们的团队绝对不能幸免。互相关心是很重要的。大多数人都在应对与世隔绝、孤独、经济困难、无聊以及其他与社会疏远和企业倒闭相关的问题,但我们的团队一直在应对相反的问题,这也是一个挑战。我们的工作时间比以往任何时候都更长,我们必须在业务呈指数级增长的同时,在新冠疫情大流行期间保护主要员工的安全。缺乏睡眠以及在如此高的压力水平下工作也带来了一定的挑战。

老实说,我不得不承认,有时候我也很嫉妒我的朋友和家人,因为他们能跟家人一起居家隔离。然而,人总是会不满足于自己的现状。在过去的20年里,我一直在创建我梦想中的企业,但最终在2016年,我的态度发生了转变,才扭转了整个局面。我学会了用乐观的视角来看待事物,相信感恩的力量。这种新的态度对建立我梦想中的企业产生了重要的影响,我也在用这种态度来应对现在生产模式转型期间的焦虑情绪。我一点儿也不后悔自己做出了这个选择。我很累,也很焦虑,但我很感激这次经历,也很感激能有机会去学习新的东西并扩大自己的舒适圈,同时去做一些有助于拯救人们的生命并造福我的社区的事情。(财富中文网)

译者:Shog

今年3月,新冠疫情在美国爆发,从酒品生产商到汽车制造商等私营企业都纷纷行动起来,生产洗手液、呼吸机等基本用品。零售商和时装设计师也被征召加入到这次现代战争式的抗疫行动中来,将生产线从服饰生产过渡到口罩和医疗服等个人防护装备(PPE)生产。

FABRIC是一家时尚孵化器,由安吉拉·约翰逊和和谢莉·巴里于2016年共同创立,旨在帮助服装制造业回流美国,同时帮助服装企业家设计和制造小批量的小众缝制产品,让他们不必在海外过度生产。

约翰逊说:“随着时尚产业从量贩品牌转向直接面向消费者的细分市场在线品牌,我们的公司针对其背后日趋严重的现代问题提出了一个可持续性的解决方案。”她本人也是一位时装设计师,她同名品牌的产品系列中包括非常富有想象力的西装外套以及采用回收T恤制作的舞会礼服等产品。

据约翰逊介绍,FABRIC的总部位于亚利桑那州坦佩市。在过去的四年中,FABRIC与450家新兴服装品牌展开了合作,提供咨询、设计开发、无最低限度生产制造、品牌推广、市场营销、办公空间和活动空间等不同方面的服务,所有这些服务均由FABRIC公司一力完成,而且收费价格也低于市场价。

疫情爆发后,个人防护用品的短缺成为了热点新闻。约翰逊说,FABRIC公司当时收到了大量请求,要求该公司帮助制造个人防护用品,因为他们“是当地唯一一家拥有相应的专业知识、设备并可以设计和制造任何类型的缝纫产品的企业。”因此,他们清理了T台,迅速将整个服装展厅彻底地改造成为一座隔离服生产间,制造由美国食品与药品监督管理局(FDA)批准的、可重复使用的医疗机构专用隔离服。截至7月的第一周,FABRIC的裁缝已经制造了8万多件可持续医疗服——这种医疗服可以清洗100次左右,相当于生产出了800万件一次性医疗服。

近期,约翰逊接受了《财富》杂志的采访,谈到了彻底转变公司商业模式的感受、外人可能很难意识到的种种挑战,以及在此次公共卫生危机期间开发全新的收入来源于她而言是怎样的一种体验。

为简明起见,以下访谈经过缩编。

《财富》杂志:您是在什么时候开始意识到新冠疫情大流行会影响到您公司的业务的?最早请您帮助生产个人防护用品的是哪家机构?

约翰逊:3月中旬,新冠疫情开始成为头条新闻,许多企业都倒闭了,个人防护用品的短缺很快就成为了美国最严峻的问题。

作为一家曾经帮助过数百名时尚行业创业者的孵化器,FABRIC是亚利桑那州唯一一家拥有所需的技术、设备、经验以及人力的企业,能够设计并制造几乎所有种类的缝纫产品。为帮助初创品牌,我们生产各种产品,从紧身裤、泳衣、牛仔裤,到连衣裙、包袋甚至缝纫产品的发明等等,而且没有最低产量要求。作为一家创新型孵化器,我们通过自身的影响力建立起了一个意义深远的时尚社区,也获得了一些很关键的奖项,同时还在本州的公共部门和私营企业等机构中建立了一些很重要的人脉。

随着小型医疗机构纷纷开始焦急地询问我们是否能够生产个人防护用品,亚利桑那州商务管理局(Arizona Commerce Authority)等州政府、市政府部门也将我们推荐给了一些规模更大的机构。最早联系到我们的大型医疗机构是Banner Health和Dignity Health。

你们的生产线是什么样的?有多少人在参与这个项目?你们生产的大部分个人防护用品都被哪些机构使用了?亚利桑那、得克萨斯、佛罗里达和加利福尼亚等州出现新增病例激增后,情况有没有发生变化?

我们当时是想制造经过FDA批准的个人防护装备,保护医护人员。而由于N95口罩不是缝纫产品,所以我们决定专注于生产经过FDA批准的二级和三级可重复使用隔离服。这类服装的需求量与口罩的需求量一样大,而且由于任何人都可以在家里缝制公众用的布制口罩,医疗保健机构最需要的产品其实是隔离服。

在公司的另一位联合创始人谢莉·巴里的领导下,我们由六名女性成员组成的小型管理团队创建了一个疫情特别工作组。我们把自己关在我们现在称之为“作战室”的房间里面,开了大概18个小时的会,集思广益,讨论如何调整经营模式,能够在这场健康危机中帮助我们的医疗英雄,同时维持原来的业务,继续为数百个依赖于我们的品牌提供服务。我们与我们的非营利组织亚利桑那服装基金会(AZ Apparel Foundation)展开合作,筹集了足够的资金来购买所需的设备,将我们的时装T台改造成个人防护设备工厂,并在创纪录式的短时间内获得了FDA的认证。

我们采购了供应紧张的、美国医疗器械检测协会(AAMI)认证的原材料,还与每家医疗机构的医生合作设计他们需要的特制医疗服;同时从亚利桑达州商务管理局了解到了精益生产方面的内容,另外雇佣了50名工作人员并在我们原来的T台区域建立了四条生产线。每台机器摆放的位置都经过了仔细研究,保证每个缝纫技术员之间都留有6英尺(约1.8米)的距离,而且他们都是背对着其他工作人员的。建立了每条生产线并为其配备了足够的工作人员后,我们很快就开始为Banner Health和Dignity Health生产大量的订单。

此外我们还认为,公司需要担负起相应的社会责任来满足一些规模较小的医疗机构以及纳瓦霍保留地的需要。纳瓦霍保留地是美国新冠病毒感染率最高的地区之一。我们还创建了一个名为“100万件医疗服挑战赛”(1 Million Gown Challenge)的开源项目,与社区成员分享了我们的设计规格、说明、图案以及在哪里可以获得基本相同的原材料的信息,这样他们就可以在当地生产制作类似的医疗服来满足这类急切的需求。我们还培训并承包了更多的工厂来帮助完成这些大订单。

截至7月中旬,我们已经制造了8万件可重复使用的隔离服,每件都可以清洗100次。这相当于生产了800万件一次性隔离服,所以它也是一个可持续性的解决方案,如果考虑到包括洗涤成本在内的单次使用价格,它们也比一次性隔离服更划算。随着亚利桑那州新冠肺炎病例的增加,个人防护用品的需求也在持续增长,我们也迫切地需要提高生产效率。我们将开始增加夜班制并努力引进更多的工厂。

这本应是疫情期间的一种暂时性的商业模式转变,但它现在已经成为永久性的了,或者说至少在新冠疫情大流行期间是这样的。促成这种转变的原因是什么?商业模式的转变带来了哪些挑战?

在新冠疫情大流行之前,我们帮助过的许多品牌都在成长,需要更高的生产能力,因此,为这些品牌提供本地化解决方案本来就已经是我们在讨论的一项议题。当新冠疫情来袭时,我们转而开始在这场紧急危机中帮助我们的社区和医护工作人员。

当我们充满干劲地将时装T台改造成个人防护用品工厂时,我们知道,这些额外的生产机械最终也能够提高我们的生产能力,服务于我们的设计师/品牌群体,但我们当时并没有足够的精力去考虑物流方面问题或预测疫情过后的情况。如今在这场疫情大流行中,我们接到的个人防护用品订单接连不断,而且自从3月以来一直待在家里的新时尚创业者们已经准备就绪,渴望创立自己的时尚品牌。因此,我们收到的常规时尚孵化器服务咨询比以往任何时候都要多。

我们在努力适应生产个人防护用品的同时,还在同一栋办公楼内提供常规孵化器服务的这种新常态。我们目前正在解决如何推进这两种不同商业模式的物流问题。我们不能永远在我们现有的孵化器办公楼中继续生产个人防护用品。这座办公楼并不是为这个目的而建造的。我们需要一个有装卸码头、空间也更大一些的场地,这样才能继续购买更多的机械并雇佣更多的人手。我们也希望FABRIC孵化器有一天能回到原来的模式。为了解决这些问题,我们决定正式为个人防护用品制造业务成立一个实体,叫做Reusa。我们正在努力为Reusa收购一个单独的生产场所。

从个人的角度来说,无论我们是想称之为“新常态”还是“这段令人焦虑的时期”,您在这次疫情期间过得怎么样?

谢谢你问我这个问题。这场疫情大流行对世界上的每个人来说都是一次严峻的考验,我们的团队绝对不能幸免。互相关心是很重要的。大多数人都在应对与世隔绝、孤独、经济困难、无聊以及其他与社会疏远和企业倒闭相关的问题,但我们的团队一直在应对相反的问题,这也是一个挑战。我们的工作时间比以往任何时候都更长,我们必须在业务呈指数级增长的同时,在新冠疫情大流行期间保护主要员工的安全。缺乏睡眠以及在如此高的压力水平下工作也带来了一定的挑战。

老实说,我不得不承认,有时候我也很嫉妒我的朋友和家人,因为他们能跟家人一起居家隔离。然而,人总是会不满足于自己的现状。在过去的20年里,我一直在创建我梦想中的企业,但最终在2016年,我的态度发生了转变,才扭转了整个局面。我学会了用乐观的视角来看待事物,相信感恩的力量。这种新的态度对建立我梦想中的企业产生了重要的影响,我也在用这种态度来应对现在生产模式转型期间的焦虑情绪。我一点儿也不后悔自己做出了这个选择。我很累,也很焦虑,但我很感激这次经历,也很感激能有机会去学习新的东西并扩大自己的舒适圈,同时去做一些有助于拯救人们的生命并造福我的社区的事情。(财富中文网)

译者:Shog

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the United States in March, private businesses from liquor producers to automakers mobilized to help produce essential supplies, from hand sanitizer to ventilators. Retailers and fashion designers were also conscripted into the modern wartime-esque effort, transitioning their production lines from apparel to personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and medical gowns.

FABRIC is a fashion incubator cofounded in 2016 by Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry, with the intent of re-shoring apparel manufacturing while helping apparel entrepreneurs design and manufacture niche sewn products in smaller quantities so they don't have to over produce overseas.

"It’s a sustainable solution to a modern problem that has been growing as the fashion industry has shifted from big box brands to niche, direct-to-consumer, online fashion brands," says Johnson, who is also a fashion designer of her eponymous collection of imaginative blazers and ball gowns made from upcycled t-shirts.

Based in Tempe, Ariz., FABRIC has worked with 450 emerging apparel brands in the last four years, offering services in consulting, design development, no-minimum manufacturing, branding, marketing, office space, event space, and more all under one roof and at below market rates, according to Johnson.

But when the pandemic hit and PPE shortages made headlines, Johnson says the incubator was bombarded with requests for help to make PPE because they "were the only local resource with the expertise, equipment, and experience to design and manufacture almost any sewn product." So they cleared the runway—literally—immediately turning the entire showroom into a facility for producing FDA-approved reusable isolation gowns for healthcare facilities. As of the first week of July, tailors at FABRIC have made more than 80,000 of these sustainable medical gowns, which can be washed 100 times—the equivalent to 8,000,000 disposable gowns.

Fortune recently spoke with Johnson about what it was like to upend her entire business model, the challenges that might not be so obvious from the outside, and what it was like to develop an entirely new revenue stream during a public health crisis.

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Fortune: When did you first realize the COVID-19 pandemic would affect your business? Who first reached out for help with producing PPE?

Johnson: In mid-March, as COVID was really starting to make headlines, many businesses began to shut down and the PPE shortage quickly became the nation’s biggest concern.

As a fashion incubator helping hundreds of apparel entrepreneurs, FABRIC was the only resource in Arizona with the skills, equipment, experience, and personnel to design and manufacture almost any sewn product. We were making everything from leggings, bathing suits, and jeans, to dresses, bags, and even sewn product inventions at no-minimums to help startup brands. We had built a significant fashion community, been recognized with some exciting awards, and had made some awesome connections in our state’s public and private sector for the impact that our innovative incubator was making.

As desperate inquires for PPE naturally came flooding in from smaller healthcare facilities, we were also connected to larger facilities by various city and state officials, including the Arizona Commerce Authority and others. The first of the larger facilities to connect with us were Banner Health and Dignity Health.

What does the production line look like? How many people are working on this project? And where are the bulk of your PPE supplies going? Has that changed at all with the explosion of new COVID cases in Arizona as well as other states such as Texas, Florida, and California?

We wanted to make FDA-approved PPE that would protect health care workers, and since N95 masks were not a sewn product, we decided to focus on making FDA-approved, level two and level three reusable isolation gowns instead. These were in just as much demand as masks, and since cloth masks for the public could be made by anyone who could sew from home, the isolation gowns were proving to be the biggest need for the health care facilities.

Our small managerial team of six women, led by my co-founder Sherri Barry, created a pandemic task force. We locked ourselves in what we now call our War Room for about 18 hours to brainstorm how to pivot our model to help our healthcare heroes in this emergency crisis and simultaneously stay in business for the hundreds of brands who were counting on us. In collaboration with our non-profit, the AZ Apparel Foundation, we raised enough funds to obtain the equipment needed to transform our fashion runway into a PPE factory and acquire FDA certification in record time.

While simultaneously sourcing the scarce AAMI-approved materials and working with the doctors from each facility to design their own unique, ideal gown, we learned about lean manufacturing from the AZ Commerce Authority, hired about 50 more employees, and set up four production lines on our former runway. Each machine is placed strategically so that each sewing technician is six feet from the next, and they are all facing away from each other. As we built each line and filled them with employees, we immediately started filling very large orders for Banner and Dignity.

However, we also felt a social justice responsibility to address the needs of the smaller facilities as well as the Navajo Nation, who were seeing some of the highest rates of COVID cases in the country. We also created an open source project we called the 1 Million Gown Challenge in which we shared our design specs, instructions, pattern, and information on where to obtain a substantially equivalent material with the community so they could help create substantially equivalent gowns at home to fill these emergency needs. We’ve also trained and contracted out additional factories to help fill these large orders.

As of mid-July, we have made 80,000 reusable isolation gowns and each of these can be washed 100 times. This is equivalent to 8,000,000 disposable gowns so this is also a sustainable solution and if you factor in the per-use-price including the wash, they are also more affordable than disposable gowns. As COVID cases rise in Arizona and PPE demand keeps growing, we are faced with a sense of urgency to become more and more efficient and are adding overnight shifts and working on bringing on even more factories.

This was originally supposed to be a temporary turnaround for your business model, but it has since become permanent, at least for the duration of the pandemic. What motivated that shift? And what challenges has that shift presented?

Prior to the pandemic, many of the brands we have helped were growing and needed higher capacity manufacturing, so providing a local solution for these brands was already a topic of conversation. When the pandemic hit, we pivoted to help our community and our healthcare workers in this emergency crisis.

As we feverishly converted our fashion runway into a PPE factory, we knew that the additional machinery would allow us to eventually serve our community of designers/brands with higher capacity manufacturing, but we didn’t have the bandwidth to consider the logistics and think much beyond the pandemic at that time. Now well into the pandemic, not only is there no end in sight to filling PPE orders, but new apparel entrepreneurs who have been stuck at home since March are ready and eager to start their fashion brands so we are getting more inquiries for our regular fashion incubator services than ever.

While we are still trying to settle in to the new normal of manufacturing PPE while also offering our regular incubator services in one building, we are now tackling the logistics of how to move forward with these two different business models. We cannot continue to manufacture PPE in our current incubator building forever. The building isn’t set up for that, and we need a space with loading docks and much more square footage so that we can continue to add more machinery and staff. We also would like our FABRIC incubator to return to its original model one day. As a result of all of this, we’ve decided to officially establish the PPE manufacturing as its own entity called Reusa. We are also actively in the middle of acquiring a separate facility for Reusa.

On a personal note, whether we want to call it the New Normal or these anxious times, how have you been faring amid all this?

Thank you for asking this question. The pandemic has been hard on everyone in the world, and our team is definitely not immune. Checking in on each other is so important. While most people are dealing with isolation, loneliness, financial hardships, boredom, and other issues related to social distancing and business closures, our team has been dealing with the polar opposite, and this has also been challenging. We’ve worked more hours than ever before, and we’ve had to navigate exponential business growth while keeping our essential workers safe during a pandemic. Deprived of sleep and working at such a high stress level has come with its consequences.

Honestly, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been times that I’ve personally been envious of my friends and family who are isolated at home with their families. However, the grass is always greener on the other side. I’ve spent the past two decades of my life creating the business of my dreams but it took an attitude shift to finally turn a corner with it in 2016. I had learned to be a “glass half full” person who believes in the power of gratitude. This new attitude had a powerful result in building my dream business and now its also helping me deal with anxieties of this pivot. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m tired and anxious, but I’m grateful for the experience and for the opportunity to learn and push my own comfort level while doing something that is helping to save lives and benefit my community.

最新:
  • 热读文章
  • 热门视频
活动
扫码打开财富Plus App