At the end of this year, we want to provide an update to everyone who is interested in the ABQFI community and mission.
Our mission is to produce first quality sewn products for donation to charities and underserved communities in New Mexico; these products are made by volunteers during events that we host twice each year. We call these events “Apparel Manufacturing Bootcamps”, during which volunteers may experience everything from design through final inspection in a real factory environment.
To date, here is a list of the bootcamps, the number of volunteers, and a synopsis of the items produced and donated:
|Boot Camp Event||Volunteers|
|Fall 2015||4||35||104 coats|
|Spring 2016||8||30||270 house dresses|
|Fall 2016||5||25||105 coats|
100 cat trap covers*
|Spring 2017||7||22||100 pants|
|Fall 2017||6||29||100 coats|
75 Cat trap covers*
Total: 5 camps including 4 pre-production camps
Including many returning alumni
Earlier this year, we incorporated Albuquerque Fashion Incubator, Inc, (ABQFI) as a non-profit in New Mexico. Our Directors are Dustin Martin, Jamie Hirano, Kathleen Fasanella, and Eric Husman. We have applied for tax exemption, a process that may go on for a while. We expect this change to solve three problems for us:
- Apparel Technical Services will no longer bear the brunt of the tax liability for the money coming in and product going out. ATS will still provide the facility, equipment, skilled labor, and time: we’re down 4-6 weeks per year for pre-production and production bootcamps, we have investments in specialty equipment that serve no other purpose than bootcamp production, and of course Kathleen pours a great deal of time into the planning and sourcing for these events. This change will allow us to cleanly separate the ATS business operations from the ABQFI charity activities.
- We won’t be tied to other 501(c)(3) corporations in our quest to solve our #1 problem: distribution. We lost our first distributor, the Nacimiento Community Foundation, when the state pulled their funding. Fortunately, Wings of America and others have stepped up, but the network does not get us to other under served areas in the state. We can and will still work with them, but will have other options, including direct giving.
- Our donors and volunteers at future bootcamps – at least those with a US tax return to file! – will be able to count most of the expense of the bootcamp as a charitable donation. The catered meals are a quid pro quo expense, but everything else goes towards the donated product. We have been told that this change may open the door for corporate donors who are interested in defraying some of the expenses.
In sum, we hope to announce soon that our application for not for profit status has been granted by the Internal Revenue Service.
Which brings us up to today; our Spring 2018 Apparel Manufacturing Boot Camp filled within a matter of hours. The pre-production event takes place next month during the MLK holiday weekend. The Spring production event (we’re making children’s school pants) takes place March 16-19, 2018.
If you are interested in attending a future event -say, Fall 2018 which takes place over Labor Day weekend, sign up to be notified of new posts to this site as it is announced here first (Fall registration around mid March). Then, be sure to respond immediately. Pre-production for which there are only 6 slots (3 reserved for New Mexico residents) fills in a matter of minutes. Production fills in less than one day. After registering, you’ll get an invoice for a $50 deposit which must be paid within 3 days. We hope to see you soon at an upcoming event to help needy New Mexico residents and to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to gain real factory experience. Our events are open to anyone regardless of experience level.*
*It’s not too difficult to produce world class products in only four days with a crack team of experienced garmentos so we developed a method to train anyone to sew in a single day.