The day before our flight, I picked up the production patterns for my shirt from my pattern maker and mailed them to one sewing contractor in Massachusetts and another in New Jersey. While I’m in Vietnam, they’re (hopefully) completing the production samples that will allow me to decide which contractor to use.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation is sponsoring the business plan competition that I’m in, so I’m also looking for a sewing contractor in Queens, which led me to this place in Long Island City last Monday.

The man with whom I met is actually a middle man between designers and sewers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t guarantee that Queens sewers would make my product or that sweatshop workers would not make my product, so I’m still looking.

I’m also looking in Vietnam, as I mentioned last December. Other than taking Vietnamese lessons, I’d done nothing to prepare for the search, but my dad did. He contacted John and Arlita Fast, a couple who runs Organik, a company that supplies organic fruits and vegetables to individuals and hotels in Vietnam. The Fasts contacted a pastor whose wife has a sewing shop, and the morning after we arrived in Vietnam, we drove to her shop with another set of production patterns and fabric. I post pictures after the jump.

Here are the Fasts and my niece in back of the van. It was humbling that six other people (Mom, Dad, Mr. Campbell, my niece and the Fasts) were willing to spend their entire morning with me this way.
We arrived after an hour of Saigon traffic. We’ll never find the place again without the Fasts!

They served us dragon fruit, pomelo, mangos and hot tea. The electricity was out, so I don’t think any of us drank the tea.
My mom, dad and Mrs. Fast all helped translate as I explained the reason for each seam and dart to the pastor’s wife and daughter. His daughter said, “I know they are very picky in the U.S. We will do a very good job. We will be very careful.”

They’ll bring the samples to our hotel the day before Mr. Campbell and I leave for the States. I hope they’re good. I don’t expect them to be perfect, but I feel that with the right technical person explaining things from my end, and the right Vietnamese translator on their end, we have a good chance of working together. Now to research shipping and customs costs.