I know you have not heard from me in a few weeks. I realized I needed to slow down a bit so I took a few weeks hiatus from the weekly letter, but I’ve missed writing. A few weeks ago I met an extremely kind, welcoming and talented sewer, Lisa Lambert, owner of Common Thread based in Princeton, West Virginia, who also happens to be a sewing teacher at the vocational school in Princeton.

Ms. Lambert has extensive experience producing high quality sewn products. She also has a network of sewers who can help us with our made to measure blouse project so that we can experiment with using made to measure women’s professional clothing to create high quality sewing jobs in the area.

I will be honest and say that I am overwhelmed by all the help that has appear just when we needed it- the people who hear our mission and are willing to make the time to help us. To turn away other work, to work weekends, to take valuable resources to support our effort. I struggle to find more time to keep pace with all the help I’m getting. Today I have too little time to say something eloquent. In spite of feeling overwhelmed by the pace of mounting assistance and progress with our work I feel so wildly grateful for where I am, even though I know I’m right at my edge.

So all I want to say is that I am so grateful.

I am grateful for the friend, Alex Dadok who told me about an acquaintance he met at a conference on rural development. I am grateful that that acquaintance, a fellow designer and rural entrepreneurship enthusiast, Jag Ashcraft heard my mission and thought to connect me with a woman named Crystal Cook Marshall, who specializes in supporting job creating businesses in rural places. I am grateful that she had the faith after a few phone conversations to open her network to me and organize a tour of West Virginia so we could see if that was where my business needed to be.

I am grateful that on that trip I met a woman named Lori McKinney, who led a revival of her community Princeton, WV, that began with a music school. I am grateful that with the Riff Raff Arts Collective she showed us that it is possible for one creative effort to beat back cynicism, apathy and poverty and attract businesses from grocers to coffee shops, artists and breweries (and a womenswear maker!) all because Lori had the energy and courage to pursue her dream.

I am grateful all the people who extended their hands to help, from Reverend Travis Lowe to Anne Barth, the executive director of TechConnect West Virginia.
I am grateful for the West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust for being the first group of venture capitalists to understand the job and prosperity creating value of made to measure womenswear.

I am grateful to Bruce Mutter, Heather Williams and John Browning for providing resources and support to make sure there was no delay to test out our made to measure womenswear production process to see if it could provide a worthy business model to create jobs and prosperity in WV.

I am grateful for my teacher Kristine Gloviak at PAD Systems for truly being on my team to make sure that I learn what I need to make my blouse dream happen.

I am grateful to my family, Drew, the German Shepherds, my parents and sister for supporting me and my crazy dream.

I am grateful for my women’s group for reminding me, no matter how overwhelmed I feel, that everything is exactly how it should be.

I am grateful for this beautiful universe/God for sending me signs every day to encourage me to keep going, when I’m certain I couldn’t possibly be capable of more.

I am grateful to you my readers, friends, supporters near and far, for being my community of crazy dreamers who encourage me to keep going, who send notes to tell me they’re listening and that they believe in me. I am so grateful for you.

Go fight win.

Love,

Reid

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Reid, I'm listening, supporting you, and love what your write. Your writing reminds me to look around and to appreciate all the people who enrich my life daily. Warmly, Brenda

  2. I am so, so inspired by what you are doing. I'm from rural eastern North Carolina and I dream of bringing jobs back to that community. It's wonderful to be along for your ride and to hear a genuine telling of all the steps you're taking to get there. I love hearing about the emotional steps you walk as much as the physical. Thank you again. I'm rooting for you.

    Best,
    Julia Parker

    PS. I learned about you through Maria Brubeck. <3

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