Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

A network of American sewers create these one-of-a-kind dresses.

Sara Campbell is built on a philosophy of giving back to the community while creating uniquely beautiful Made in USA clothing. The company is dedicated to delivering a memorable shopping experience by helping customers find their perfect pick through a unique one on one experience. Their timeless as well as trendy silhouettes are sold around the country and well loved by women around the world.

We were able to ask Sara Campbell herself a few questions about her clothes and company.

The designer herself, Sara Campbell.

AAM: How did the company begin?

Campbell: I have always loved to sew, and I have always had my own little businesses. From lemonade stands, to a summer sewing school, to a catering business, it was a natural progression for me to end up with my own business. My father always challenged his children on long family trips, to think of some new million [dollar], fabulous business idea. I began my own textile/apparel business in 1983 after I graduated from Lesley College, and Mass. College of Art. During this period I partnered with Corita Kent, and other women artists and started a mail order company, called "Sisters, A gallery without walls". At this point, I was making all one-of-a-kind wearable art, which then lead into a cottage industry doing limited edition clothing.  As reality taught me, I had to figure out a new plan where I was not paid on commission, but paid on the front end. Hence, I began a small line of dresses and nightgowns, and hit the pavement selling to local boutiques, and attending artist trade shows.  By 1985, Sara Campbell began to have some wholesale legs and we incorporated that December. Sara Campbell Ltd. was official.  

AAM: Why do you choose to make your products in America instead of outsourcing?

Campbell: From day one, I wanted to do something good with my work, and I wanted to help people and create jobs.  I started using cottage sewing workers out of Vermont, but as I needed larger scale, went to Fall River and New Bedford and began working with local talent. It made sense.  It was close, we could keep our eyes on the quality, we could be a part of the process, and we had relationships with the folks actually sewing our garments.  As the company grew and evolved making huge lots of dresses, the jobs did too.  It was very rewarding and exciting. We also had the advantage of problem solving right on sight. Timely deliveries were critical, and there was no room for inefficiencies. When really tricky situations evolved, our head pattern maker could get involved as well, and we were able to work through these problems and still make deliveries. I was not motivated by price, oddly enough. I was single, the company was profitable, and we were growing, while still creating jobs and touching peoples lives. This became about feeding families as well as making a beautiful product.

I started using cottage sewing workers out of Vermont, but as I needed larger scale, went to Fall River and New Bedford and began working with local talent. It made sense.

AAM: What is your favorite thing about being a Made in the USA company?

Campbell: My favorite thing about being Made in the USA is the feeling of being proud to be able [to] create jobs for fellow Americans.  Is there really anything better than caring and investing in each other? I always say, "it takes a village to make a dress"! The village includes our local factories. I also love the advantage of having a wonderful idea, procuring the fabric, and being able to transfer that to a finished product in our stores in as fast as four weeks, sometimes. Now that is exciting! To be able to keep creating in the season and being able to chase business or a new trend, is exhilarating. And, if there is a problem that was not noticed on the factory floor and discovered upon arrival to the warehouse. We can FIX IT before it gets to our stores. That is priceless. For me, it's the quality of the experience of making product in our neighborhoods, inspecting it all the way through, from cutting to final inspection, and being so proud of the quality of craftsmanship that comes through the needle. This is what we deliver to our customer, a product that we truly made with tender care.

You can find a Sara Campbell location close to you here. The company is proud to offer a personal shopper contact with whom you can call and speak with. They can offer assistance in purchasing items from their collections. You can find the number here