We’ve been a bit quiet over the last month or two because of some big changes taking place. On June 1st, our director officially became the director of Make Welcome Refugee Sewing School (makewelcome.org) in east Charlotte. We’ve been using that studio space, and the sewing school is a part of the larger Project 658 Refugee Ministry.

This brings our social enterprise full circle! We were originally launched from the sewing class as a way for our students to earn some extra income from the rice bag totes they were sewing. As the both the sewing school and the social enterprise grew, they became very much their own entities, yet were often collaborating.

Refugee women in Charlotte, upcycling used rice bags into totes and purses.

Going forward, we’ve decided to go back to those original roots with a few twists:

  • Make Welcome Refugee Sewing School is going to become a full vocational training program, where refugee women have the opportunity to learn to sew AND be prepared for production level sewing with a track that extends from the beginner class to the final production class.
  • Persona Grata Goods will become the product brand for purses and kitchen linens that are sewn through that vocational program. Purchases will support the vocational sewing students as they earn while they learn.
  • Make Welcome Made will be a cut and sew sewing program for North Carolina small businesses or fashion brands to have very small to small batch sewing work done by our upper level students.

We’ll be sharing much more in the days ahead but here’s something to jump on soon! As we make the business transition, we’re clearing out older inventory. Pre-Covid, business was steady and going, so we ramped up production accordingly. But as many small businesses like ours experienced, the last year saw a steep decline in sales and orders (though y’all kept us CRAZY during the holiday season!).

Please take advantage of these sales! We want to clear this stuff out. Shop our current clearance priced items below, and check back often to see the latest deals. And for quite of few of these styles, once they’re gone, they’re gone.


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