Hunger (yet another lousy title)

I had to leave early yesterday to get ready for our semi-annual meeting of the advisory committee meeting of the El Paso Community College Apparel Industry program. I don’t know if you’ll ever have the opportunity to serve your community in this way but I’d encourage it.

The impression I get from these meetings, is that everyone is hungry. They -we- hunger for connection. I don’t know about your area but there aren’t any opportunities for garmentos in the hinterlands to get together. Anyway, every fall meeting opens with the nomination and voting for the committee chairman. I’ve never volunteered but this time on the hour long drive there, I decided to take some initiative. So, as soon as the meeting opened and the matter came up, I -rather comically- waved both arms in the air and said “I nominate me”! There were several laughs, “that’s a good idea”s and three voices in unison seconding the motion. It was a slam dunk. I annihilated the non-existent competition winning the election handily, no need to go into my rehearsed stump speech. Yeah me!

As with any politician, I have my own agenda. I’ll share the outlines of my nefarious plot with the hope it will spread insidiously elsewhere. The goal is to create some semblance of community outside of the college which would ultimately benefit the entire chain from entrepreneurs to students (everything is circuitous). The problem with a lot of people who are likewise hungry for real life peer connection, is that they (we) don’t feel it’s our place to step out and do something. Who are we? We’re not leaders of anything or experts or own the biggest company in town or nothing. Well, a process of elimination shows that owing to the solidity of my nebulous position as committee chair, I just happen to be the only duly elected head of anything apparel industry related in the area. In keeping with the dignity vapor of my new position, I plan to springboard that into a position in the community and collect as many names of contractors, service providers, manufacturers and suppliers in the area as is possible. Then we’ll schedule a casual social event. Maybe no one will come? It won’t kill me. If no one’s there, I won’t lose face in front of anyone.

One of the key goals -which anyone can do- is to put up a web page of local sewing related businesses. There’s tons of people who do contract sewing around here and none of you know about them. Frankly, I wouldn’t make jeans anywhere but here. People are doing it in LA at twice or three times the price. There probably are people in your area too. I don’t see why someone with a bit of initiative couldn’t put up some kind of bare bones page and list resources useful to entrepreneurs and contractors alike for their areas. It seems like the only people motivated to put up resource sites do it as a business. And not that there’s a problem with that, not at all, but anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to be a complex time consuming affair. I may charge ten or twenty dollars to cover the admin cost of adding someone’s contact info to the site but I intend it to be bare bones which is better than what we have now. If it goes somewhere and somebody wants to better it, I’ll be delighted to pass it off into more capable hands.

The issue is, most of the good contractors I know don’t have web pages. There’s no way for the new generation of entrepreneurs to find them. Long story short, that’s what I did most of today.

If you decide to take up a similar project in your area, I’ll be happy to link to it and I’ll be sure to notify you when the El Paso & New Mexico Garment Manufacturing & Apparel Industry Resource directory is ready.

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