Focusing on People | The Top Behind the Seams Stories of 2021

Each month, Behind the Seams explores a different aspect of the sewn products industry with an editorial/introduction from the SPESA team called SPESA Speaks (which is only slightly confusing that it's also the name of our blog). This is the December 2021 SPESA Speaks.

It’s that time again! We are taking a look back at the most popular articles and topics in Behind the Seams over the past year.

When it comes to industry news, we know our readers want to read about supply chains (especially in 2021 as we deal with the new challenges they bring, and the products they don’t...), reshoring/Made in America manufacturing, and technology/automation. These topics give readers insight into opportunities for their own businesses and help them keep a pulse on what their competitors are doing.

However, when we break down the data on thought leadership, member news, and original SPESA articles, something else takes center stage: people.

The #1 most-read Behind the Seams article of 2021 was the Rising Star profile on Xochil Herrera Scheer. In fact, all four of our rising star profiles broke the top 10 of most-read 2021 articles (including both industry news and original SPESA content). Linked here in case you missed them:

Also at the top of the list were our SPESA Board member profiles:

Those of you who were able to join us in Boston not long ago for the 2021 SPESA Executive Conference were privy to a wonderful conversation about why putting people first in your business is key to success. People are what drive innovation and creativity in this industry. And, as it turns out, they make for an interesting read!

It has been an honor getting to know you — our members and readers — better this year through Behind the Seams. We look forward to the opportunity to share more of your stories in 2022.

Here are the rest of the most-read original Behind the Seams articles of 2021*:

When Sewn Products Meet Silicon Valley
SPESA and Shimmy Technologies discuss the XPrize competition and answer the question: “What does a Silicon Valley-based innovation competition have to do with the U.S. sewn product industry's talent shortages?”

Merrow & Superior: The Inside Scoop Behind One of the Industry's Most Talked About Acquisitions
In May, Merrow Group announced it was acquiring the assets and business operations of Superior Sewing Machine & Supply, LLC. We connected with Charlie Merrow, CEO at the Merrow Group Companies, and Lonny Schwartz, the prior owner of Superior, to discuss the exciting news and learn more about its impact on the sewn products industry. (Note: the original announcement was the #2 most-read article of 2021, but since it wasn’t an original Behind the Seams piece, it doesn’t make the list.)

Passion and Perseverance: Gathering Insights from the Women of the Sewn Products Industry
This was an incredibly fun interview to conduct in March as Behind the Seams focused on women in the sewn products industry. We spoke with Shoshana Burgett, Owner & Explorer, Colorkarma, Pink Elephant Productions; Koskia Bello, Design Director Retail Markets, Greg Norman; and Kristen Dettoni, Founder, Design Pool LLC, to learn more about their experiences working in the sewn products and textiles industries.

Nike’s Latest Creation Highlights the Societal and Business Benefits of Inclusive Design
In February, we looked at diversity and inclusivity in the sewn products industry. This article highlights a particular product, Nike’s hands-free Go FlyEase sneaker, and, more importantly, the value of adaptive products in helping make fashion accessible to all communities.

Trivia not Trivial: Women in the Sewn Products Industry
Two of the SPESA team’s favorite topics: Jeopardy! and feminism. If nothing else, this article is a great example of our general nerdiness. Who is ready for another SPESA trivia night?

Where We Go From Here | An Advancements Conference Recap
SPESA hosted its 10th Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference in August. It was the first time SPESA had gathered for an in-person event in eighteen months and we had a lot of feelings to share.

Chatting Workforce Development with Molly Rammel-Puckett (Video)
For this two-part series, SPESA President Michael McDonald sat down (virtually) with Molly Rammel-Puckett, Vice President, PMO & Consulting at SPESA member CGS, to discuss workforce development, employee retention, and the role of consultants in the sewn products industry.

Made in America
The July SPESA Speaks examined how the Covid-19 pandemic — and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) — catapulted the reshoring trend into new territory.

*Weirdly, the #6 most-read article of 2021 was one we wrote in our very first issue of the re-launched Behind the Seams in July 2020: USMCA Takes Effect - What It Means For Textiles and Apparel.

Thank you to all of our loyal readers and a big thank you to our 2021 advertisers for helping keep us going!