Believe it or not, Cincinnati has been making its mark as an area powerhouse when it comes to fashion. And as the industry grows in the Queen City, it opens new doors for exciting creations and advancements.
Take recently launched Sew Valley, for example.
Rosie Kovacs and Shailah Maynard saw a gap in regional resources when it comes to helping designers and entrepreneurs in the fashion industry build a brand for a sewn product or fashion line.
That’s when they opened Sew Valley, which Maynard describes as a “community of designs and entrepreneurs where they can learn the process of building a brand for a sewn product and/or fashion line.”
Sew Valley features a physical facility where sewn goods are designed, prototyped, and produced, giving members access to the space as well as providing them with discounts on contract services, workshops, and access to machines and tools they may not otherwise have.
Maynard says that the purpose of Sew Valley is not to reinvent the wheel, but to fill a need in the community, similarly to how The Haile Foundation got its start.
“After months of national research, it was determined that there is a lot of potential in the ‘emerging fashion designer’ space,” says Maynard.
Maynard says that with independent labels popping up and online products, it’s not hard to enter the fashion market or directly sell to an audience. However, the trouble for these new fashion-focused businesses lies within developing that brand and producing the items for a line.
Sew Valley hopes to change that by providing a variety of services that fill the need of each business. “We take our clients and members through the research and development phase of beginning a line through small batch production,” says Maynard. “Pattern makers, sample houses, and factories are typically spread apart geographically speaking, and there are none in the Cincinnati area. By putting it all under one roof, the goal is to accelerate businesses and help them keep costs down but having quick access and nimble production capabilities.”
The production facility of Sew Valley can be hired for contract services that include pattern marking, sourcing, prototyping, sample making, and small batch production for runs under 100.
“We will hold our first workshop in April where anyone in the community can become certified to use our equipment and rent our space by the hour to work on their own projects,” adds Maynard.
Currently, there are three members of Sew Valley, all of whom are graduates from the University of Cincinnati. They are Tessa Clark of Grind and Glaze, Calle Evans of Calle Evans, and Lindsey Zinno of Northern Market. With four more spaces available, Maynard says memberships for Sew Valley start at $150 per month.
Maynard adds that she and Kovacs hope that Sew Valley will become a one-stop-shop for new businesses to grow their brand and product offering.
“Big picture, we want a space large enough to house photographers, brand strategists, e-commerce specialists, and so on,” she says. “We are a community, which means it’s an open door to collaborate, share resources, and educate one another, all with the goal to create more jobs for the local creative class, retain talent, and to hire skilled and unskilled workers to produce goods.”
Sew Valley will be hosting its first party/fundraiser called SV18 on May 11 from 7-9:30. There, Maynard says, they will showcase their current members and open Sew Valley’s doors to the public so they can get a better understanding of what the facility has to offer.
If you’re looking to become involved with Sew Valley, Maynard says that you can apply as a contract sew and pattern makers on the website.