Now, after my touring twenties, I’ve finally come to a place in my career that I feel happy.
My job is flexible, technical, creative and fun. I love what I do. I make patterns and prototypes and I manage the sewing production for AlonTree- a company based out of Asheville NC. While Asheville is not a big city, in terms of Art, Science, and innovation, it is by no means small. However, when you live in such a place where the housing market is on the rise and the overall wages are low, making ends meet can be a real struggle.
There are hundreds of local businesses here, and more than a few breweries. There are breweries and restaurants, fashion boutiques and breweries, breweries and art galleries, music venues and breweries. The River Arts district is a hip section of shops where urban meets industrial with spaces for artists to create and sell. Most of these artists work their fingers to the bone to pay for the awesome space.
I know of a few sewing shops in the River Arts district. They are sweet, small-scale one or two person design studios. Many times in the past I would tell someone I work in a sewing shop and they would say, “like a sweatshop?” I would reply, “No”. But that wasn’t always the case. In the past, when I worked as a contract sewer I felt robbed! Sometimes I’d make only a couple of bucks per hour. I agreed to sew each piece for a certain price and I was handed a giant bundle then sent on my way.
I was young and vulnerable, but one thing for sure: I knew how to sew.
Another time, I finished a few hundred pieces brought it to them and a “sustainable” company said they would send me a check. The check didn’t come for months. I called several times a week, went to the shop to collect and was sent away until my third attempt. I finally got paid 3 months after I had completed the work. There is nothing sustainable about a company who treats their skilled labor as disposable.
I believe that happy people are productive people. So now that I am in a position to give some work to a seamstress, I vow to pay them well – better than fair. This way the production will be quality, the designs will keep flowing and the people will be happy.