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People Of RLC: Shirley Williams

People Of RLC: Shirley Williams

Get To Know The Faces Behind Red Land Cotton

Shirley Williams

Shirley Williams is the plant manager of Red Land Cotton’s 37,000 cut and sew facility in Tylertown, Mississippi. Red Land Cotton opened the plant in 2020 and it currently employs 23 people.

Shirley Williams Red Land Cotton Plant Manager Shirley Williams Plant Manager at Red Land Cotton

 

How we all came together is quite the story.

When Shirley Williams was 23 years old, she got her first sewing job in her hometown of Tylertown, Mississippi. Her boss, Mr. Jack Brownstein, immediately noticed her speed and accuracy and set the rate of sewing expectations based on the work of 23 year old Shirley. Soon she was sent to Pensacola, Florida to learn how to hire, train and maintain production levels.  Her career in textiles had begun.


NAFTA

Before NAFTA, the Brownstein’s manufacturing plant in Tylertown employed over 200 people. After NAFTA, in 2008, the plant in Tylertown closed for good as all of its manufacturing had moved overseas.

Shirley was sent to Haiti to set up and manage a plant for the Brownsteins.  She had no idea where Haiti really was when she boarded the plane that day.  It was a different world to be sure.  The pay for workers in that plant was $42 a week.  No wonder it's hard for American Made goods to compete in the marketplace when overseas workers are making wages like that.

Shirley Williams At Magnolia Garment


World Travel

The career of Shirley Williams was just beginning.  She has set up plants in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Overall, Shirley has set up 11 textile facilities in 8 different countries.

When asked about the greatest challenge she faced, Shirley says it was the food.  With wet markets everywhere, Shirley resorted to only eating whole fish so she could be sure exactly what she was eating. We take so much for granted, don’t we?

Shirley Williams At Magnolia Garment Shirley Williams at Magnolia Garment Shirley Williams at Magnolia Garment

The American Dream

We think Shirley Williams is a prime example of the American Dream.  A 23 year old beginning seamstress with smarts and admirable work ethic turned into a woman who set up and managed textile plants around the world.

Don’t we all just love a “local girl makes good” story?

Red Land Cotton is proud to have Shirley Williams in our corner overseeing the cutting and sewing and packaging of our farm to home products in Tylertown, Mississippi. 

She’s an amazing woman and we are all thankful to know her and work with her!

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14 comments

  • Pam Keaton

    It’s wonderful to see someone put their skills to work and be appreciated for their talent. I’m proud of Shirley and so happy to have Red Land Cotton’s amazing sewing factory in Tylertown, MS.

  • HENRY ARMKNECHT

    Thank you for sharing this. If I was still teaching, I would share her story with my students to show them that no matter where you start, you can go a long ways if you work hard and look for opportunities.

  • Michelle Parsley

    Thank you Shirley’s for all your hard work and keeping beautiful sewing alive. You are an example of the American dream. Thank to Red Land Cotton for your commitment to bringing back American Textiles. I love all my Red Land Cotton items.

  • Susan Thompson

    What a wonderful story. How brave she is to experience all that starting at such a young age. She is an inspiration for sure. You are covered in Gods Grace Shirley 🙏❤️

  • Sabrina Smith

    What an amazing lady and what opportunities she has had due to her hard work! Three cheers for her!!!

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