Obligatory 2017 New Year’s Post

I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’m facing 2017 with trepidation, mostly due to the uncertainty of our political and social climate. On one hand, a proposal for the elimination or renegotiation of international trade agreements can ostensibly benefit domestic producers -but at the expense of consumers who will then have less to spend on our stuff. Imagine the specter of increased tariffs; the dramatic cost increases for everything from phones to fabric, may well evaporate any opportunities a domestic manufacturer may have. Who can say what will happen?

I have resolved to make our social contributions more visible in hopes of inspiring you to do the same. Resolve to do something to make someone’s life better every week. Hitting “Like” on Facebook doesn’t cut it, please get out into your community and do something at least one hour each week. And if you’re not a joiner or lack a plan, you could do something as simple as picking up trash around your neighborhood. I admit you might feel silly or exposed but soon enough, your strength of purpose will over come any reticence you might feel.

Every week, we spend one day in the factory, sewing for the public good. Since last year, that means that we are making TNR trap covers. TNR stands for Trap, Neuter & Release. It is a process of stabilizing feral cat colonies. Volunteers trap cats and then have them neutered (usually with donated funds). Once this is done, the cats are released to their original location. The cumulative effect is that feral colonies stop growing and eventually become smaller through attrition. But I’ve gotten off track; we open the factory every Saturday and volunteers learn to use the sewing machines to make the trap covers. You can read more about that here. And yes, I have my own feral cat colony at the factory. I had them all fixed last January. This year, we made them a nice house out of the buttonholer shipping crate. It even has a windbreak, yay me. Recently, I officially adopted another colony I found. Once one of the cats weans her kittens, I’ll get them all fixed. For now, we just visit when I stop to feed them everyday. My husband said we’ll never be able to take another vacation again.

Moving on. The factory is doing well enough that we haven’t needed to institute a minimum and continue to get opportunities to bid on new jobs -that could include you, don’t be shy. As ever, we provide pattern and sampling services and of course, training for entrepreneurs and technical people. Increasingly, we’re having more people who want to come to visit our model factory as they’re interested in starting their own sewing factory. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

A mention about our apparel manufacturing boot camps -the S2017 event (March 2017) filled quickly. If you want to be included for next Fall, I recommend getting on that site’s mailing list because I am not posting that opportunity here in a timely way.

I’m sure there is something else I meant to tell you but don’t remember that now. I’ll leave you with this thought: our path in the new year may be challenging with some of our citizens more disadvantaged and being maligned -we must act with compassion and dignity. Resolve to do something every week to make your community better and stronger.




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  1. Lynette Elliott says:

    Kathleen, I love evrything about you, what you stand for and what you’re doing. You are a good human and you just earned a special place in my heart for your TNR efforts. My husband and I don’t go on vacation, either. We have five dogs and one kitty, all special needs (except the kitty), all rescued. They are our family and at any given time you will find at least three of them supervising me in the sewing room. Happy New Year and may the next 365 days bring you many more adventures and successes.

  2. Terry Perusse says:

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge. We in Canada hope for the best for all of our neighbours. May your work be an inspiration. Worst case, move here! Don’t give up hope. We survived ten years with Stephen Harper. Trudeau isn’t perfect but he’s a heck of an improvement.

    • Avatar photo

      Some years ago I fantasized about moving to Canada but today, I am thinking that moving is an easy way out. That one could move presupposes they have the resources to do so -what is to become of those who cannot? Who will stay behind to keep watch? I know you’re halfway kidding but it brings to mind my choice to remain here in New Mexico. My business would have more advantages elsewhere but again, then who is to remain to make life better in New Mexico? Since our state is dead last in every economic indicator, I’m not so crazy to think that I’d have any kind of impact to change things but still, I’m stubborn. Maybe we can inspire one person who will then inspire another -and so on.

      Terry, I can’t tell you how much pleasure I got from this. Thank you.

  3. Kristin says:

    ““Like” on Facebook doesn’t cut it, please get out into your community and do something at least one hour each week” Absolutely Kathleen, absolutely! DO something. Attend city council events, community meetings- a lot goes on there that people don’t know about. Things that make changes in your city, county, neighborhood. People complain about changes, but don’t really do much to do a thing about it. I did the TNR thing, my two cats are the only two out of nine my husband WANTED to keep. I had about 11 cats in traps in a 1 bedroom apartment in the wrong side of town. Every one in my complex complained about all the cats, yet not one single person even offered to do ONE trap, except me. What a shame.
    Good for you Kathleen. You encouraging others to “do something” is really a work in itself that IS worth doing. In WWII days the word was “Do Your Bit” and there were posters put up in the cities, community events and many methods were utilized to urge the public to get involved. You are doing the same thing!

  4. What a wonderful post! I long for the day when I can afford your book, and hoping that it becomes available as an e-book as my hands will no longer hold even a small paperback for long. My husband and I are both on disability pensions, but in June of last year, I had the idea to start a clothing company tailored to people living with chronic pain. The story and links can be found here –> https://themighty.com/2016/11/woman-starts-clothing-company-for-people-with-chronic-pain/
    Although I still need to launch a crowd funding campaign, it looks as though the company has an excellent chance, and will be able to help the millions who suffer in silence.
    I wanted to thank you for the help that you’ve given me so far, and invite you to follow along via the company Facebook page since you have helped a great deal already by teaching me just the basics! Cheers for everything that you do, and wishing you a happy and bountiful new year. Pam

  5. Paterson says:

    I was so impressed by this, the first encounter I have had with your project/website/business/plans/thoughts. Thank you: very, very inspirational! Having been owned by many formerly feral cats in my life, I have one question: how do you trap a cat?? I can’t even get one to stay inside a box or travel cage long enough to shut the lid/door. I will look the answer up online, so don’t worry about providing me with a detailed answer :) Keep up the great work.

  6. Gisela Diaz says:

    Hey Kathleen!

    So stoked to be back reading your blog post! It’s been a while and I have to catch up and read your archives :).

    I love that cat program you volunteer for. I remember in Miami the old neighborhood I use to live in, we had a crazy amount of feral cats. Their was an organization that would come and do just that, pick them up, nueter them and clip their ears. It really is a great program. I actually ended up adopting two of those kitties outside of my home and my last baby passed away last year at the age of 17!

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog post this coming 2017! I’m finally going to put your book to use and design my first line this year! I definitely will be looking into your boot camp and services as well.

    Two things, I know your book concentrates on whole sale mostly….I want to sell direct to consumer route, I recall you writing an article about this if I’m not wrong. Can you please direct me to it? Do you think I can still glean most of the information from your book on how to directly sell as well?

    And two, are you still doing memberships?



    • Avatar photo

      Hi Gisela, most of the content on selling consumer direct is written by others in the forum as I am not qualified to address it beyond broad strokes.

      Yes we still have memberships. You can email me privately for the payment link. We’d be delighted to have you rejoin us.

  7. Leigh says:

    That is the exact configuration of the doghouses that we built. Our lid was slanted to shed rain/snow. We also covered the opening with an old mudflap to further keep in heat. There was insulation in the sides as well. They were heavy as all get-out. :)

    Thanks for all you do.

  8. Ianna Cruz says:

    Hi, Kathleen!-

    Would you be able to help me get an all American manufacturing gig quote? I was looking of going into the Dominican Republic free zones at first, but read your posts and would love to get some advise. Please let me know if you can get in touch with me and I will explain futher. Thank you.

  9. Hi Kathleen!
    Your website was introduced to me by a friend who s a fashion design. I am setting up a clothing factory in the Philippines and have been looking for people like yourself kathleen who I can draw knowledge and inspiration from. I do hope to keep in touch with you for some advice. Thank you

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