Thursday, April 26, 2012

Charleston Garment Manufactory is a go

More than $15,000 raised for new design studio

Posted by Erica Jackson Curran on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 3:00 PM


Local seamstress Heather Koonse has been busy as a bee at her King Street sewing studio, the Rose Knot, for several years now. When the workload got to be too much, she decided to expand — but she needed help. So she came up with the idea for the Charleston Garment Manufactory, and she posted it on Indiegogo in an attempt to raise enough money to get started. Her fundraising goal was $15,000, and she raised $15,075 in just a few short weeks.

Koonse plans to use the Manufactory to elevate the quality of design in Charleston. Much like at the Rose Knot, Manufactory workers will help local designers bring their sketches to fruition by doing the technical tasks that some designers either don’t know how or don’t have time to do. They’ll consult with designers, help edit their collections, make patterns and samples, and grade multiple sizes. “If you’re an individual designer, you physically cannot do it all yourself and make money,” Koonse says.

Although Koonse will be accepting clients from throughout the Southeast, she thinks that Charleston alone has enough designers to keep her and her future employees busy. Her past clients have included many Charleston Fashion Week alumni.

Koonse is currently searching for a space for the Manufactory as well as experienced employees. The funds raised will go toward industrial machines, professional fabric cutting tools, and a training program for future seamstresses. She also plans to take out a small business loan to cover additional costs. Find out more at

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