Rightfully Sewn, Kansas City’s leading non-profit seamstress training and apparel manufacturer, has signed leases on second and third spaces and is expanding its staff to increase its educational and production capabilities on the heels of securing two new large contracts.
Rightfully Sewn was acquired by non-profit Alphapointe in October 2020 and operates as a subsidiary. Since then, the core administrative services, staff benefits and business development efforts of the organizations have blended. Alphapointe, a leading manufacturer of plastics, micro-molding, office supplies, janitorial products, and apparel that has been in operation for over a hundred years, has also bestowed manufacturing best practices upon five-year-old Rightfully Sewn.
“The Rightfully Sewn team has had access to our factory engineer, who helped them streamline their sewing line layout; our operations vice president, who has trained them on efficiencies; and our sales team, who have connected them to a significant sewing contract,” said Alphapointe President and CEO Reinhard Mabry. “This young organization was in a position for growth, so it has been rewarding and exhilarating for us to share our industry expertise and see an immediate impact.”
The sewing contract is from Marlow White Uniforms, a dress uniform company based in Leavenworth, Kan. that has been in existence since 1879. “Most of our manufacturing is in the South and on the Coasts, so we are excited to have a production source just down the road in our community; plus, we fully support the value they place on fair wages, quality, and domestic manufacturing,” said Marlow White Partner Tim Cahill.
The Marlow White contract includes the manufacturing of high-end, long-sleeve and short-sleeve men’s shirts to be sold by Marlow White as part of its line of dress uniforms for the U.S. Army. A second contract was secured to manufacture approximately 1,000 leg warmers and rompers per month for Boston-based dancewear company RubiaWear. These are the largest contracts in Rightfully Sewn’s history to date.
With its monthly production capacity quadrupling, Rightfully Sewn is moving their Seamstress Training Program and public class offerings to a street-level suite in their current building. Rightfully Sewn is building out a third space kitty-corner to their current building, which will house its patterning and cutting department. New sewing machines and other production equipment are either on their way or will need to be purchased to achieve this new level of production. Many private donors and Kansas City-based foundations, including the Sunderland Foundation and Hallmark Corporate Foundation, have supported Rightfully Sewn’s fundraising campaign for build-out costs and equipment thus far.
“I could not be prouder of our core team, which has been moving simultaneously through a pandemic, merger, and major expansion with grace and efficiency,” said Rightfully Sewn Founder and President Jennifer Lapka. “We are excited about our new clients and capabilities, and for our new production team members who have joined us over the past month, some of whom graduated from our Seamstress Training Program.”
With the necessary increases in production due to the new agreements, Rightfully Sewn has hired 12 seamstresses recently and is looking to hire 10 more. Details can be found at rightfullysewn.org/applynow.