A couple weeks ago, I ventured off to North Carolina to meet the duo behind Wildly Co. and see the behind the scenes of how their clothes are manufactured. Wildly Co. is the fifth child of Mike and Hayley Morgan; their first four children are all boys. Insane, right?! Their boys are similar in ages to my girls, so I can (and can’t) imagine what their world is like. Anyhow, I had the privilege of seeing where and how they clothes are manufactured.
They work with Opportunity Threads in Morganton, North Carolina, and I was just blown away by Opportunity Threads. They are a worker-owned company, and they have worker ownership model to build up the company; they pair fair wages, and do things to give back and grow the local community, which was once a bustling place to manufacture clothing. Companies like Levi’s, Hanes, and many others used to manufacture their items in this textile town before they all took off overseas for lower costs. We met Molly and she introduced us to the other employees and owners of the company, saw the factory where all the cutting and sewing goes on, and got to hear her heart for the community and bringing the textile industry back to North Carolina. She explained how all employees potentially have an opportunity to become owners in the company, and it’s not just one person at the top making all the dollars, and all owners gets paid the same (there are now 6 owners in the company). We also got to have lunch (I had sweet tea for the first time!) with the folks over at the Carolina Textile District, and learned more about the ins and outs of the textile industry. I was so intrigued by it all and the hows of getting a textile product manufactured, especially because I love to sew and make clothes. Several years ago, I had an idea for a product, but didn’t know how or where to start to make it happen. Had I known about the Carolina Textile Industry at the time, I might have pursued it. If you ever have a textile product idea, keep Carolina Textile District and Opportunity Threads in your back pocket.
Back to Wildly Co., I’m always interested in couples that go the entrepreneurial route together to pursue a dream because Ben and I always talk about various business dreams and ideas, but we are way too conservative to leave the comforts of the corporate world. Thus, I was eager to learn how Mike and Hayley make it work with 4 kids in tow. Hayley and Mike make such a good team and you could feel their passion for their product, but most importantly they love the people they work with to bring their product to life. It brings them joy to be able to work with a manufacturer that really compensates their employees well, so that these people can earn a living wage for their specialized skill.
The essence of Wildly Co. is to provide ethically made children’s clothing, and they want you to know about the people they partner with to help sew their clothes. They say it perfectly on their site, “We’re not perfect people and Wildly Co. will not always be perfect. We’re working in an industry that has historically been all about the bottom line, at the expense of laborers… we’re working upstream and it’s not always easy. But we want you to hear the heartbeat of this business will go beyond profits and losses, it will always be about people and families.” I love that it’s not about making the buck for them, but mainly about being able to also partner with a company that pays craftsman fairly in their trade, so that those people can also support their families. I think of them like an Everlane (if you don’t know about Everlane, read their “about page”, their bottom line is awesome), but for kids. Wildly Co. providing a quality product at a fair cost for all those involved, from the first person that creates that first pattern, to the person who cuts, then sews, and then to the Morgans who get it packaged off and sent to your door (their kids are involved in helping package things up!).
Besides, having a great heart for their business, their clothes are really cute and well-made too! I even got to see their shirts being sewn, and for this girl who loves sewing, that was so exciting to me. Currently, Wildly Co. has a special “Campfire Collection” going on with some cool goods to get your kids ready for summer (I’d wear that sweatshirt if it came in my size). It definitely looks like the outfit to wear for those lovely summer days of endless play. Also, don’t forget to check out their site for some of the other Wildly Co. staples.
It was only 3 short days in North Carolina, but I left so inspired and my mind spinning with ideas. Not only that, it was so great to get to know others who came along for the Wildly Co. tour, and I was blessed by hearing about their different stories too! I loved hearing the heart of Mike and Hayley’s business, but also was so encouraged by the women at the Influence Creative Women’s Summit. The whole plane ride home I was doodling ideas that were popping up in my head, and then when Ben picked me up from the airport, I word vomited all my ideas on him. HA! When I’m ready to share, I’m sure I’ll word vomit some of those ideas here.