Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

El Rosal Sewing co-op blossoms (and begins making money too!)

Posted by sebastianbrown on January 26, 2012

After a year of being together, El Rosal (rose bush) is now stronger than ever and looking toward the future. What started out as an unemployed women’s mutual support circle quickly expanded to offering themselves and other women like them introductory sewing courses. After several months of offering these drop in classes–made possible by Belen Bryant of the Carroll Ave YMCA Community Center who lent us meeting space–the core group had served nearly 40 women in the neighborhood for whom the weekly class was a much needed refuge from the daily  isolation of their lonely apartments.

However, with constant turnover of participants, it was difficult to know if they were really making progress toward their goal of honing their craft of sewing to the point that it could serve as a source of income. Especially when crisis hit several of the core members of the group, they felt added pressure to quickly prove the practical value of their new found hobby. In addition, the original teacher was so bogged down with her work at a sewing studio that her schedule rarely allowed her to join the group.  So, somewhat frustrated with how much energy they had put in and how little they had to show for it, they took a much deserved break over the summer.

Edelsa

Alicia

Yolanda

Victoria

Maria

But, all having kids at the same school and living within blocks of each other, they couldn’t help but stay in close communication. They continued to baby sit each other’s kids, see each other at weekly school-sponsored parent coffees and occasionally run into each other at IMPACT events for which they were paid to cater the meal or watch the participants’ kids. And then Chris Lancette and Won-ok Kim of Orion’s Attic founded the Flower Avenue Holiday Market in mid November and everything started to change…

Chris Lancette hugs Yolanda after delivering HUGE DONATION of 20 boxes/$2200 worth of sewing supplies salvaged from a house cleaning

Two of the members of the original sewing circle first got involved with the weekly market selling Mary Kay products they had lying around their house. After not making any sales the first two weeks, they got in touch with a man–with years of experience as a tailor–they met at an IMPACT Neighbors Exchange who had offered to instruct them on making house hold items. With the County bag tax around the corner, we agreed re-usable bags would be the perfect product to begin with. With his help, they made one in the basement of the Cyber Web Latino–their de facto workshop–and on a whim laid it on their table the following Saturday at the market. When two people saw the bags and liked them and what the group was doing so much that they ordered 8 more, the women knew they were on to something.

Yolanda and Alicia and Darwin and I at Flower Market

They spent the next week pumping out eight more bags, which they brought to the market and were asked to make 10 more. Knowing they needed additional and more experienced hands on machines  if they were to meet the demand, they invited back their original teacher to save the day–who had only weeks before quit her seamstress gig where hours were too long. Over the holidays they spent nearly 8 hours every day in their basement workshop experimenting making different bag designs and improving/organizing the space. They invited one additional neighbor and long time friend who had professional experience sewing in El Salvador and just like that, they were 5! The five women of El Rosal taking Long Branch and Silver Spring by storm!

The women now spend most of their time together in the basement work shop–which they are now paying $500 monthly to the owner of the Cyber Cafe. The other day LEDC even visited the ladies at the work shop to offer a three hour course on how to best strengthen and grow their micro-business.

Lourdes and Emily from LEDC discuss next steps for El Rosal with the ladies

The women are meeting weekly to plan for the upcoming week and divvy up any earnings from the previous week. They even made one loan of $525 to one member who’s husbands’ pay check had been delayed by a week and therefore she was left with no money to pay rent. Just as she said she would (and signed in a hand written agreement with the group), she paid the entire loan back within 10 days. The micro loan was just enough to allow her to avoid paying steep late charges on her rent that she might not have been able to afford.

Edelsa and Alicia presenting Ike his very own bag!

While mostly hard at work in the shop, on occasion they find time to hit the town with their product. Most notably, they showed up in force to Ike’s down-county budget hearing and presented him his very own reusable bag so that he could avoid paying the bag tax that he himself helped get passed.

They are currently looking forward to holding an open house launch party February 18 and then offering night courses the following week. They are always willing to meet and have you custom design your own bag or clothes or drop off an alteration project. Their prices are more than reasonable, their product is as local as you get, and their determination is greater than ever. Join the movement. Go Green. Go Local. GO LONG BRANCH!!!

Check out some of their products and call me at 814-506-4543 if interested in purchasing or with any questions about services offered.

A small, medium and large set--$30

Large grocery bag--$15

Large grocery bag--$15

Plastic bag holder to hang in kitchen--$5

Blender covers!--$10

Girl's summer dress--$25


57 Responses to “El Rosal Sewing co-op blossoms (and begins making money too!)”

  1. what is led strip…

    […]El Rosal Sewing co-op blossoms (and begins making money too!) « Neighborhood Opportunity Network[…]…

  2. Jonathan Bernstein said

    So glad I could make it to the Launch Party on the Saturday before last – it made me so proud of our community.

  3. R.M. said

    Have you checked with the Takoma Park/Silver Spring food co-op to see if you could sell the grocery bags there? It seems like a good match to me. Co-op information: http://tpss.coop/governance_new.html contact board: board(at)tpss.coop

  4. […] miss our non-profit special guests: the ladies of the El Rosal Sewing Cooperative. Come by and pick up one of their handmade shopping bags, schedule a time to get your clothing […]

  5. […] Handcrafted Reusable Grocery Bag by El Rosal Sewing Cooperative […]

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    It is great for a cleaner to remove rust, grease, and other substances
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    Your local DIY store will probably be able to provide a range of budget
    doors but if you require a good quality door then
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  19. I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long process (about 2
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    it off with a few bumps and bruises. According to your choice and needs you can choose among these
    four types of doors. Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be
    recycled at stores offering a plastic bag recycling program (they cannot
    be placed in your recycling bin with other recyclable).

  20. Erika said

    I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long process (about 2 months) to hammer
    out the details, but I was able to pull it off
    with a few bumps and bruises. Ask any professional
    and they will tell you that these two companies have an equal, if
    not better, product than any national brand.

    The collectible is inside that room in front of the
    desk.

  21. It’s important that this be considered considering
    uncertain economic conditions. For instance, some of the doors will open by rolling
    up, while others will swing open like a door. Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be recycled at stores offering a
    plastic bag recycling program (they cannot be placed in
    your recycling bin with other recyclable).

  22. Izetta said

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  23. If you heat your garage or if the rooms adjacent to this part of the house are not heated effectively,
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    These doors just move in two directions that
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  24. Carmine said

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  25. These are stronger when compared to other kinds of doors and can therefore withstand forces.

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  26. These are stronger when compared to other kinds of doors and can therefore withstand forces.
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  27. If you heat your garage or if the rooms adjacent to this part
    of the house are not heated effectively, this type of garage door is ideal.
    The handle that you select for the door and the insulation will all also contribute to the overall cost.
    Your local DIY store will probably be able to provide a range of budget doors but
    if you require a good quality door then a professional garage door retailler will provide the best service.

  28. Generally, steel doors are more inexpensive than wooden doors.
    These doors are manufactured in wide sections that retract or roll up by a pulley system that places the
    door overhead in the garage when fully open. The collectible is inside that room in front of the desk.

  29. Darnell said

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    your choice and needs you can choose among these four types of doors.

    Your local DIY store will probably be able to provide a range of budget doors but if you
    require a good quality door then a professional garage
    door retailler will provide the best service.

  30. Over the past many years, garage doors and repairs have become quite
    essential part of every family in Las Vegas.
    You will want to consider the style of your doors to find
    out which companies carry them. These doors just move in two directions that
    are downward and upward.

  31. I took my time going through every side hallway and exploring everything I could find, so by the time I finished it there was little left for me to do.

    You will want to consider the style of your doors to find out which companies carry them.
    Both of these types can adjust in even the smallest
    of space and they do not require any extra space
    for opening and closing.

  32. When getting estimates to replace your garage door make sure
    you request a locally manufactured product. The handle that you select for
    the door and the insulation will all also contribute to the overall cost.
    Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be recycled at stores offering a plastic bag
    recycling program (they cannot be placed in your recycling bin with
    other recyclable).

  33. Emilio said

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    of the house are not heated effectively, this type of garage door is ideal.
    The handle that you select for the door and the insulation will all also contribute to
    the overall cost. Your local DIY store will probably be able to provide a range of budget doors but
    if you require a good quality door then a professional garage door retailler will provide the
    best service.

  34. When getting estimates to replace your garage door make sure you request a locally manufactured product.
    In searching the perfect and top excellent premium Garage Doors it is vital that the person should
    firstly take help from internet. These doors just move in two directions that
    are downward and upward.

  35. Hulda said

    If you heat your garage or if the rooms adjacent to this part of
    the house are not heated effectively, this type of garage door
    is ideal. In searching the perfect and top excellent premium Garage Doors
    it is vital that the person should firstly take help from internet.

    It may appear stupid to own a machine that only shapes metal into one form.

  36. Shona said

    Over the past many years, garage doors and repairs have become quite essential part of every family in Las Vegas.

    The handle that you select for the door and the insulation will all also contribute to the overall cost.
    Park the buggy and walk in to drop off the supplies with Dan.

  37. Sherryl said

    If you heat your garage or if the rooms adjacent to this part of the house are not heated effectively, this type of garage door
    is ideal. Ask any professional and they will tell you that these two companies have an equal, if
    not better, product than any national brand. Both of these types can adjust in even the
    smallest of space and they do not require any extra
    space for opening and closing.

  38. Kellie said

    When getting estimates to replace your garage door make
    sure you request a locally manufactured product.
    It is great for a cleaner to remove rust, grease, and other substances but if used as a lubricant it will not last and you will
    have to the re-lubricate the door sooner. Use a level to trace the
    location where the new header will go and across the middle section of framing.

  39. If you heat your garage or if the rooms adjacent to this part of the house are not heated effectively, this type of garage door is ideal.
    These doors are manufactured in wide sections that retract or roll up by
    a pulley system that places the door overhead in the garage when fully open.
    Park the buggy and walk in to drop off the supplies with Dan.

  40. These are stronger when compared to other kinds of doors
    and can therefore withstand forces. These doors are manufactured in wide sections that retract or roll up by a
    pulley system that places the door overhead in the garage when fully open.
    These doors just move in two directions that are downward and upward.

  41. Over the past many years, garage doors and repairs have become quite
    essential part of every family in Las Vegas. In searching
    the perfect and top excellent premium Garage Doors
    it is vital that the person should firstly take help
    from internet. Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be recycled at
    stores offering a plastic bag recycling program (they cannot
    be placed in your recycling bin with other recyclable).

  42. Animals playing with objects, animals playing with children or each other and animals dressed in clothing items
    can all make for original, humorous digital images that will brighten anyone’s
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    Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be recycled at stores offering a plastic bag recycling program
    (they cannot be placed in your recycling bin with other recyclable).

  43. Madonna said

    Over the past many years, garage doors and repairs have
    become quite essential part of every family in Las Vegas.
    These doors are manufactured in wide sections that
    retract or roll up by a pulley system that places the door overhead in the garage when fully open.
    In this article we are mentioning some of the prominent method that will eventually assist the person in decorating their Garage Doors in appealing and remarkable approach.

  44. Candace said

    I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long
    process (about 2 months) to hammer out the details, but I was able to pull it off
    with a few bumps and bruises. It is great for a cleaner to remove rust, grease, and other
    substances but if used as a lubricant it will not last and you will have to
    the re-lubricate the door sooner. It may appear stupid to own a machine that only shapes metal
    into one form.

  45. Your friends and neighbors will be impressed by the improvement in
    the appearance of your home. According to your choice and needs you can choose among these four types
    of doors. In this article we are mentioning some
    of the prominent method that will eventually assist the person in decorating their Garage Doors in
    appealing and remarkable approach.

  46. I took my time going through every side
    hallway and exploring everything I could find, so by the time I finished
    it there was little left for me to do. Actually, all of
    them are best choices, but it depends upon the quality of the construction and other accessories that
    are used in making these doors. Ziplocs ‘ Used Ziploc bags can be recycled at stores offering a plastic bag recycling program (they cannot be placed in your recycling bin with other recyclable).

  47. Your friends and neighbors will be impressed by the improvement in the appearance of your home.
    According to your choice and needs you can choose among these
    four types of doors. Both of these types can adjust in even the smallest
    of space and they do not require any extra space for opening and closing.

  48. Animals playing with objects, animals playing with children or each other
    and animals dressed in clothing items can all make
    for original, humorous digital images that will brighten anyone’s day.
    In searching the perfect and top excellent premium Garage Doors it is vital that the person
    should firstly take help from internet. Your local
    DIY store will probably be able to provide a range of
    budget doors but if you require a good quality door then a professional garage door retailler will provide the best
    service.

  49. When getting estimates to replace your garage door make sure you request a locally manufactured product.

    According to your choice and needs you can choose among these four types
    of doors. Your local DIY store will probably be able to provide a range
    of budget doors but if you require a good quality door
    then a professional garage door retailler will provide the best service.

  50. I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long process (about 2 months)
    to hammer out the details, but I was able to pull it off with a few bumps and bruises.
    These doors are manufactured in wide sections that retract or roll up by a pulley system that places the door overhead in the
    garage when fully open. Use a level to trace the location where the new header
    will go and across the middle section of framing.

  51. Dena said

    I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long process (about 2 months) to hammer out the details,
    but I was able to pull it off with a few bumps
    and bruises. These doors are manufactured in wide sections that retract or roll
    up by a pulley system that places the door overhead in the
    garage when fully open. Park the buggy and walk in to drop off the supplies with Dan.

  52. I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty long process (about 2
    months) to hammer out the details, but I was able to pull it
    off with a few bumps and bruises. Ask any professional and they will
    tell you that these two companies have an equal,
    if not better, product than any national brand. Your local DIY store
    will probably be able to provide a range of budget doors but if you require a good
    quality door then a professional garage door retailler will provide the best
    service.

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