May 6, 2020

Celebrating Leadership & Entrepreneurship: Libby Mattern


When Covid-19 hit, one thing was blatantly clear: the stockpile of PPE (personal protective equipment) was desperately low. My daughter-in-law Libby Mattern, production director at Malia Mills (swimwear and ready-to-wear designer and domestic manufacturer) is also founder of Course of Trade, a registered 501c3 dedicated to providing industrial sewing training to New Yorkers in need — no previous sewing experience necessary.
As the pandemic continued to spread, it was obvious that the time was right to revive the declining garment industry in NYC. The racks of Malia Mills swimsuits and clothing took a back seat so that Course of Trade could shift the company’s focus. They are now producing over 2,800 isolation gowns every week for front-line hospital workers in NYC.
“Coronavirus is an important time for small businesses, large businesses, and the government to band together to help in whatever way we can. This is what makes NYC manufacturing, and people behind sewing machines, so incredible — we can nimbly move to address the supply chain issues and bring goods to market rapidly,” Libby said.
The isolation gowns are level one with very specific specifications and fabric secured by the Mayor’s office. Course of Trade is working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) who works directly with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to distribute the gowns to public hospitals across the five boroughs. Along with Course of Trade, Libby is managing five other garment factories in South Brooklyn. The city is providing the materials and paying the factories for their work.

Mayor DeBlasio and the Course of Trade team

Bill DeBlasio, Mayor of NYC, recently visited Course of Trade, where the sewing machines have been socially-distanced, and reinvigorated workers are hard at work, doing their part, to help protect those who protect others. “Such a short while ago, you were a swimwear factory, right here on this floor, making swimsuits for the summer season. And now you are a war-time factory making isolation gowns to protect health care workers.”
“None of us would’ve imagined that trying to find isolation gowns would be nearly impossible for our front-line workers,” the Mayor continued. “This is an amazing industry — the heart and soul of New York City.”


Truck loaded and ready to deliver 21,700 isolation gowns to our frontline workers

The Course of Trade team 

The total contract with Course of Trade and its cohorts, which expires on July 1, is for 65,000 isolation gowns. 

“We’re moving heaven and earth to get this done,” Libby said.





* Follow @courseoftrade for updates.


1 comment:

Paula Cappa said...

Fabulous! This is really good news.

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