The Gifted Company is a North Carolina-based subsidiary of a non-profit organization dedicated to training and employing individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty to work in the textile industry in commercial sewing roles. Based in the historical heart of America’s textile industry, this organization works to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness and hopelessness by working directly with local homeless populations to provide much-needed training, interviewing and business skills. Their efforts allow trainees to transition back into the work world, to support themselves long-term and to regain confidence.
Through the relationship, Milliken Specialty Interiors will donate fabric remnants and overstock items to The Gifted Company for use in their products. From these remnants, The Gifted Company’s workers sew and produce apparel, accessories, home decor items and other goods, which are sold at www.thegiftedco.com. Proceeds from the sale of these items are used to pay the salaries of workers and to support additional training initiatives, bringing new trainees into the system.
The Gifted Company has helped people from those experiencing homelessness or long-term unemployment to those working to overcome addiction or single mothers working to unify their families and rediscover their personal worth through gaining new skills and permanent employment. While their names are different, many of their stories are similar. According to Executive Director Sally Randall, “Our first trainee had been struggling to find work for a long time. A quick learner and an incredibly hard worker, she completed her training with us and was easily placed in a full-time position with a commercial sewing operation, giving her freedom and a sense of purpose, while benefitting our community and the textile industry by filling a position that could have remained vacant.”
The effort also aligns well with Milliken’s commitment to purposeful and intentional design by working to eliminate waste and excess and supporting the circular economy through the reuse and upcycling of fabric samples that might otherwise have been sent to a landfill.
“We are so pleased to lend our support to an organization right in our own back yard that shares our commitment to social responsibility and protecting our environment,” said Milliken Specialty Interiors Vice President Jennifer K. Harmon. “More importantly, our partnership with The Gifted Company allows Milliken Specialty Interiors to work toward rebuilding lives and strengthening the American textile industry, one stitch and one person at a time.”
After years of textile jobs going overseas, the industry has begun to rebuild. However, many former workers have either retired or moved on to other careers, leaving a critical need for experienced commercial sewing operators. The Gifted Company is helping to fill that training void, playing an important role in the industry’s repatriation efforts.
“Milliken is one of the most well-respected American textile manufacturers known for its quality, integrity and generosity,” said Randall. “We are so proud to partner with them to change lives and ensure that this industry will continue to thrive here in the Carolinas, by empowering and lending a hand up to those in our community experiencing homelessness and poverty."
For more information about The Gifted Company, visit www.thegiftedco.com.