Our cotton is in the hands of the very qualified staff at N.C. State in Raleigh, North Carolina. After a mad cross-country dash in my trusty old Ford pickup truck with four bales (2,000 lbs.) of our family's cotton, we delivered it to some very enthusiastic spirits who will begin the spinning and weaving process.
In the above photo, Jennie is standing with Dr. Jon Rust, Director of the Zeis Textiles Extension Education at N.C. State and his predecessor, Jim Watson. Together, the two men have almost 100 years of textile manufacturing experience.
WE are grateful the university chose to take us on as such a small project is difficult to get off the ground within the United States these days. As most people know, the textile industry is dominated by large corporations who manufacture extremely high numbers of jeans, shirts, shoes, etc. We are not one of those companies. We will produce less than 1,000 shirts in our first year. But from those shirts, we are determined to build something magical.
While many textile mills shut their doors in the 1990s after NAFTA and GAAT were passed through legislation, a small percentage of the textile industry is hanging on strong. At Allred Farms, we are determined to continue manufacturing within the U.S. and strengthening our commitment to more jobs and commerce within the States.
The U.S. currently ranks fourth in global export value behind China, India and Germany. Once, we were a strong leader. While we may never get their soon, more small, independent companies are taking matters into their own hands to ensure we don't continue to sink in the standings.
While our clothing will be more expensive, we hope you find it is worth the quality and hard work we put into it from seed to shirt. It is long and arduous process to get a piece of clothing from a tiny seed into something you can actually put on your body. In our "farm to body experience," we're hoping to educate others of the entire process.
We are very excited to get to this point, although we have a very long row to hoe still. Stay tuned. Much more to come.