She Threds Story
For as long as I can remember I’ve absolutely adored tanks and camisoles. My drawers have always been full of these multi-purpose sleeveless staples. One of my earliest memories are excursions with my mom to a sock store in Santa Monica called Footsie. It was run by a woman who I affectionately called “The Sock Lady.” I loved the feel of cotton, and it was such a treat to comb through her gloriously vibrant and delectably soft socks.
Also on the edges of my memory are stories from my father.
Each summer, he traveled down from New York to help his grandparents in their cotton fields. It appears my love of cotton is multi-generational 😉 Like so many small farmers that are land-rich and cash-poor, Grandma Beulah and her family worked the fields from planting to harvesting. Today, while some of the original farm acreage remains an open, undeveloped land, much of it has been replaced with housing subdividisons. Sadly this not a unique tale. U.S. cotton farmers continue to struggle. More on that later.
Now for the kicker. In June 2021 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. If you haven’t gone through the ordeal of healing from surgery and rounds of targeted radiation, let me share a bit of that experience. You’re supposed to wear loose 100% cotton clothing next to your skin. In addition to soothing salves, your rawly sensitive skin needs soft and breathable layers of protection. The good news is that I had a bunch of tanks and camis already, but they didn’t quite work. Who knew it was so hard to find tanks made from 100% cotton grown and sewn in the U.S.? In my quest, I discovered the tank and camisole market was limited to just a few brands selling poorly made products. Really? A quality cotton tank isn’t that complicated. Use good materials and sew it like you care so it’ll last beyond a few washings.
So, that’s how I began my journey on becoming The Tank & Camisole Lady. Why, you ask?
First, because I love them so much. One could call it an obsession, really. I currently have dozens in my dresser. Each one has a story. Each one is loved.
Second, because I literally live in the heart of Georgia’s cotton growing region. I discovered that the most (and best) of America’s cotton is actually exported. 98% of the clothing we buy is made overseas. So, I have the unique opportunity of living near those people and businesses involved in growing, milling, and sewing the tanks and camis of my dreams.
Lastly, because I believe you can make a difference by what and how you buy. Grandma Beulah was one of 13 children and growing up their clothes were made out of cotton feedbags. While I love this story of my family’s scrappiness, I’m not suggesting we make that fashion statement. Similar to the farm-to-table slow food movement, I believe we have the opportunity to buy apparel made from locally-grown cotton, milled by nearby businesses, and sewn with craftsmanship and care. That’s my vision behind She Threds.
So, that’s how my story began. Now, let me tell you where I’m going and what’s on the horizon.
Throughout the surrealness of the Covid pandemic and my radiation recovery, I participated in Eric Henry’s 10,000 pounds of cotton project. It sparked something deep within me… maybe reactivating those cotton farming roots? It was transforming to be part of something so positive during a challenging time.
In 2021, I committed to developing She Threds and creating 100% cotton tanks and camisoles made from locally grown cotton that’s spun into yarn, knitted and sewn by U.S manufacturers. My first cotton products are on track for a Spring 2023 release.
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