The leading manufacturer in event apparel had an unlikely start to PPE production
but is now full-steam ahead in producing masks for public use.
For Immediate Release: APRIL 16, 2020
“It happened so quickly,” states Leslie, owner and President of Leslie Jordan, Inc. First, a frantic email from a friend: “PLEASE HELP! The hospital where my husband practices is running out of masks!”
The next morning, she received a call from a harried local medical supplier whose customers were desperate for masks; he remembered Leslie as a Tyvek jacket manufacturer from thirty years previous, browsed the Leslie Jordan, Inc. website, and found the Rally Jacket, made of non-woven polypropylene. He suggested that perhaps the factories could use the same fabric to make masks and gowns.
At the same time, Leslie was spending her time and energy desperately trying to figure out how to keep her staff employed and her company of 3.5 decades afloat. “And I thought, here might be the purrfect opportunity to help the medical industry while keeping LJI intact and alive until the event industry comes back running!” Leslie explains.
The next three weeks were a 24/7 crash course in Masks 101. The veteran apparel manufacturer intones, “In all my years of importing apparel and having such extensive success in managing the LJI supply chain, I have never seen such a nightmarish, constantly moving target.” Manufacturers were making false claims and there were millions of defective products returned to China and sitting in their harbors. Companies were pre-paying for masks that were never received. On top of that, the Chinese government was changing the rules of inspections and exports by the minute to slow down the scams and faulty products.
Leslie enlisted her team of logistics experts, her freight forwarder, and her partner factories to help her figure out how best to become a part of the supply chain, and was soon able to start importing masks. “I was so excited that one of my first PPE orders was for a chain of veterinary clinics—my cats brought me luck for that one!” she says.
Today, Leslie Jordan, Inc. has expanded their product line of apparel and accessories to include disposable masks and gowns for both medical and public use, as well as a line of customizable, reusable cloth masks. “It’s a huge sense of accomplishment. Not only have I helped many businesses, but I’ve been able to keep my staff employed. This week, I am going to be officially registered as an FDA-licensed business. And my husband looks at the jigsaw puzzle we took out a month ago and exclaims, ‘Wow- you haven’t even put in one piece!” Leslie laughs.