Get To Know The Faces Behind Red Land Cotton
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!