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The biggest disruption, perhaps since the dawn of the American apparel industry, is the return of manufacturing back home. It is not just the creative millennial designer that wants his ideas realized stateside, it is also the big fashion corporations that know it is time to bring their making closer to the customer. At Suuchi inc, we are now developing products for Chinese brands that are catering to the Chinese buyer that wants her products ‘Made in USA’. Talk about a reverse in trend!
All sounds fantastic? Yes, except that the average sewer is in his/her 40s or over*. Find us a qualified 25 year old seamstress, one that wants to spend her career invested in that profession, and we’ll give you a bar of gold. This talent pool scarcity works in inverse proportion to the potential ecstatic future of the American manufacturing industry.
(* averages compiled from Suuchi Inc’s employee base and vast talent pool interviewed).
We think this scarcity is set to change, fast. Where there is opportunity, there is reaction. As a country and an industry, we need to invest in building the team for the future. Here are 5 predictions that will start playing out very soon:
1) Companies should/will invest in training to groom sewers
The Suuchi university trains ladies in the New Jersey community in various sewing and pattern making functions for a period of 3 months. We then absorb these ladies into our employee pool. It’s a win-win for both sides, women with rusty skills have a job and we have built our team for the future.
2) Sewing degrees should/will be taught in school and universities
Not purely in the old fashioned way. And we are not talking fashion design. The art of making, sewing clothes coupled with the use of technology will soon be a coveted focus in colleges
3) Companies should/will pay more for sewing skills
The technical skills of a proficient sewer will be most sought after. The best ones will be leading production teams of the biggest apparel companies of the future. These leaders will have salaries comparable to data scientists and bankers.
4) Sewers should/will be trained in technology
Sewing machines will be built that minimize manual intervention. Knowing and understanding software and technology will separate the doers from the leaders
5) Being a seamstress will soon be the next ‘cool’ thing
Being a statistician or application developer is a pretty cool thing in today’s job market. Add seamstress to that. Getting the 21 year old to dream of dedicating a career in the technical aspects of apparel manufacturing needs to happen, and it will.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Write me, Suuchi Ramesh, at [email protected] or [email protected]
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