One woman, for example, was a massage therapist who had zero demand for her services. Another lost her job in hospitality.
Some had sewing experience, but others did not — so Street created a remote learning module to teach them how to make her quality-controlled products. She even went shopping to help one woman find the right kind of sewing machine.
“Now she has the opportunity to fire it up and do what she wants creatively, mend clothes and have additional income if she wants,” Street said. “Another woman was a retiree who who was distanced from family and this was an opportunity to stay connected and feel like her work was valuable and meaningful and helping this big, giant problem.”
Regardless of their skill level, Street hired them as paid contractors, and as her remnant fabric depleted, Street began figuring out the aesthetic she wanted Project Sew United to embody.
“I’m very drawn to African prints, Batiks, wax prints and Ankara fabrics,” she said. “I love the vivid colors and I love the idea of being able to tell a story with a piece. Whether its a facemask or a garment, I think that using African prints specifically or tribal inspired prints serves as an opportunity to spark conversation.”
Pandemic pushes creativity to new heights
With the help of the team of contractors, Project Sew United began providing three-layer, CDC-approved facemasks to Summit County Public Health, Masks for Moms, Full Term First Birthday, Greenleaf Family Center, Ohio WIC and Project Ujima, as well as fulfilling private orders.