It seems unbelievable that our company, Haralee.Com Sleepwear has been in business for 10 years but it is true!
It took me 18 months to research, source and start the company. We launched at the Susan G Komen for the Cure Health Fair in 2004 on September 17th!
Here is our original photo group. 3 of these women are cancer survivors; all have been touched first hand with cancer. Of the 7 styles we made then we still make 6 although in different fabrics and colors.
Our first manufacturer was the Washington state women’s correctional penitentiary. This group of women sewed clothing for big name companies and I was happy to do business with them too. Never having been in a maximum-security prison it was an eye opening experience. This was way before Orange is the New Black. Doing business with in this facility was also a very different kind of business relationship. I of course had to be checked out more than just my financials. Fabric had to be searched, appointments could not easily be changed and rush orders were never considered.
It was an earned privilege for the women who worked in the sewing plant. They could earn money, use their brain, skills and get a glimpse of the outside world. Most of the women were murderers. They killed their abusive husbands, boyfriends or pimps. Most of the women were mothers. The woman who cut out all my fabric was a bank robber. She was really good with numbers and I had very little waste. I was able to talk with the women, get their input on sewing and pattern compatibility and after my first production run was ready they gave me a fashion show. As far as I was concerned it was a win-win partnership. It only lasted 2 years for our company before the state of Washington shut down the sewing plant.
We went through 3 other manufactures before we found our current excellent manufacturing company. We are using now our 5th photographer for our model shoots.We had 2 other pattern makers before we found our current one. We really had challenges in buying fabric and now we think we have found the perfect source. We’ve had 3 different looks to the web site in our 10 years. We remained vigilant to our values to keep the company as local as possible, and made in the USA. Shipping has remained true to be efficient and fast and now even free! Our models have always been friends, their daughters, and sisters who are also cancer survivors or touched first hand by the disease.
It doesn’t seem possible that 10 years has passed! This summer I was approached to sell the company. I said no. Not never, just not now. We are only 10 years old!