Jake Jacobson, Colby Jones, Sloane Simmons and Casey Simmons mingle at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon.

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KC's Rightfully Sewn wins in national SBA competition

Kansas City-based Rightfully Sewn is among 12 winning makerspaces that received funding from the U.S. Small Business Association as part of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring Pilot Competition

The SBA awarded a total of $1 million, which was divided into several categories: 

  • Seed — $25,000 awarded to help small workforce development programs
  • Proof of Principle — $100,000 awarded to bolster programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development
  • Scale — up to $200,000 awarded for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development 

Winners hailed from places such as Buffalo, N.Y., San Diego, and Philadelphia, Penn.

Rightfully Sewn received a $25,000 seed prize and will use the funding to support its seamstress training programming for at-risk women and underserved individuals.

Its seamstresses in training have done production runs for area businesses and have hailed from places such as Ethiopia, Syria and Uganda. Not only does the program teach them the basics of seamstress work, it teaches them business skills, such as how to negotiate a salary, develop a proposal and price out projects. It culminates in mock interviews, and it's common for participants to be offered jobs upon completing the program.

The nonprofit also has a two-year residency program for local designers and aims to resurrect the area's fashion scene. To further that mission, Rightfully Sewn hosted a professional development seminar in June at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts for aspiring designers and entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. The keynote speaker was Katie Warner Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Carbon38, a luxury e-commerce fashion brand that's seen its revenue increase more than 100 percent nearly every year and has its sights on becoming a $1 billion company. 

Jennifer Lapka founded Rightfully Sewn in 2015 and later sewed roots in the Crossroads Arts District with the launch of a 2,600-square-foot design and training studio

The organization recently helped former Silpada Designs Inc. co-CEO Kelsey Perry launch duoFIT, a Prairie Village-based performance activewear company geared toward moms and expecting moms. Rightfully Sewn offered its expertise and helped Perry design the line. It also did the first production run.
From KC Business Journal. Original article here: https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2019/08/21/kcs-rightfully-sewn-wins-in-nationalsba.html

Rightfully Sewn

Rightfully Sewn provides seamstress training for at-risk women. Founded by Jennifer Lapka Pfeifer, the organization seeks to teach at-risk women a trade and assist them with job placement as well as cultivate Kansas City fashion designers.