Atlanta Lingerie Manufacturer Proves "Made In America" Isn't a Cliche

2/16/2015
When you think of luscious silk lingerie, New York or Paris immediately come to mind, but think again: nestled in a calm quite suburb of Atlanta,  an entire house is filled with sensuous chiffons and laces to develop whimsical feminine lingerie for the plus size market.

Long before "Made in America" became a trendy phrase, Sumiyyah Rasheed, owner and CEO of SWH Apparel, the parent company of the Ann Nahari label, and her mom Wala Rasheed were manufacturing plus-size women ready-to-wear and selling to boutiques across America. "We just wanted to stay busy and provide ourselves with a little extra income", says Rasheed the creative force behind the company.  I want to leave a legacy for my family and have a positive impact on society."

With Georgia's unemployment rate currently at 6.9 percent, providing jobs and passing on the skilled craft of pattern making and apparel production are key components of the company.  Currently the company produces French-inspired lace bras in large cups (DD - J) and frilly lingerie in sizes small to 5X.

According to Rasheed, "What prompted me to start producing my own fashion line was the fact that the items we purchased from other wholesalers were often poorly made and ill fitting." 

As a result, Rasheed decided to close her women's boutique and start manufacturing herself.  Because the apparel industry had migrated to Mexico and  Asia,  Rasheed donned a pair of sneakers and a backpack and set off to learn how to manufacture by watching and documenting world-class operations in Mexico, Morocco, India, Pakistan and China.  "I arrived in those countries pretty much unannounced and without any contacts or language skills. I just knew I needed to learn the processes so I asked people to help me and they did. When I returned to Decatur I purchased the equipment I saw in those factories", says Rasheed.

Author of "No Money Start Up:  How To Build An Apparel Manufacturing Company", Rasheed is passionate about helping emerging designers break into the fashion industry but most importantly to help them build a solid business foundation to achieve success by hosting webinars and workshops where she focuses attention on the business aspect of fashion.
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