There are a lot of challenges to starting a niche-size clothing manufacturing company in the United States, and I’ve managed to weather all of them so far. My latest challenge is a biggie, however, and since my last business briefing was over a year ago, I thought I’d give you an update today.

My sewing contractor is breaking up with me. It’s not me, and it’s not them–our business models are just too different. They need 3000+ orders at a time for it to be worth their while, and I need single orders cut as I receive them on my website.

It was good while it lasted. Even though their specialty is men’s shirts, they really worked with me to create a product that I’m proud of and that my customers love. For example, they couldn’t stand working on the deep and complicated bust darts for my largest bust sizes, but they went through three samples with me until they finally got rid of any bubbling near the apex.  They also hate working with stretch fabric, but they’ve managed to do that for me as well.

I’m not quite at square one like I was in 2010. They’ve given me the name of someone who may know someone, and a friend of mine has put me in touch with her own amazing sewing contractor. Yesterday I even met with a master tailor who has offered to teach me how to sew my own shirts. I’m definitely taking him up on that offer (leaning in!), but I sure wish he would sew them for me.