How We Pivoted During the Pandemic: A Case Study

COVID-19 has transformed global trade flows, affecting employees, home-based workers, local crafts-based communities, and artisan groups. In fact, many major fashion brands and retailers have ceased business operations in response to the pandemic.

However, many other companies have used COVID-19 as an opportunity to serve people’s needs during a crisis. At Lefty Production Co., we became an essential business by mass-producing masks, personal protective equipment, and gowns.

“One of my 2020 highlights was having the honor to speak with Kai Ryssdal from Marketplace on how Lefty Production Co. pivoted during the pandemic,” says Martha Miller, the CEO of Lefty Production Co.

She recently sat down with Ryssdal to talk about the company’s pivot in March 2020. Here are some of the salient points of their discussion.

The Importance Of Masks

Martha describes the beginning of the pandemic as the “craziest time” for business ever, as clients began canceling orders en masse. She explained how it was a challenge to maintain social distancing in a manufacturing company, among countless other concerns.

As Martha and her husband contemplated how to overcome order cancellations, they realized they could use the existing production line to sew masks. The company then started sewing face masks to help other businesses and individuals adhere to social distancing guidelines.

We even eventually began mass production for healthcare workers.

a woman wearing a face mask

The Emergence Of New Fashion Entrepreneurs

“...retail has changed”, says Martha when asked about how American manufacturing is evolving. She explains how big stores and fashion brands have begun catering to clients’ needs by placing orders in small volumes for smaller inventories. She believes this has paved the way for new, smaller, and more unique fashion brands.

According to her, social media has had a fundamental role in helping small fashion brands thrive.

“People love to buy a jogger from the girl that’s tie-dyeing it out of her garage,” she explains as she discusses how Lefty Production Co. continues to receive smaller inventory orders from people with an engaged social media following.

Fashion’s Comeback In America

“It’s so nice being able to develop something in our backyard,” says Martha when asked about what the company’s future will look like.

She expressed her initial disappointment in American manufacturing when hospitals ran out of face masks and personal protective equipment. However, she admitted that this is changing as people are now creating and distributing “millions and millions of gowns and face masks.”

Martha conveyed her pride in how Lefty Production Co. was one of the first fashion businesses that fearlessly took on the challenge of defeating the pandemic.

If you’re running an emerging fashion brand and are looking for a reliable men’s or womenswear manufacturer, reach out to our experts for help at every step of your journey. Schedule a consultation here.

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