Sewing up new jobs in Frayser


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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We don't usually think of the Frayser community as a center for garment design and manufacturing, but an announcement today in that neighborhood could change that.

A collaboration between two clothing designers aims to bring jobs and hope to Frayser "one stitch at a time."

"We are Bee Memphis...becoming economically empowered. "

Hopes are high a bumble bee logo will create a "buzz" in the world of clothing design.

"If you can wear it...we can make it."

Richardson's Tailoring and Design, with it's development and design center on Frayser Boulevard, is partnering with Bee Manufacturing of Chicago.

The marriage, named Bee Memphis, will hopefully produce jobs and positive change for Frayser.

"The sewing machine is the most powerful machine ever made. "

Bee Manufacturing President Calvin Jarrett has 50 industrial sewing machines he's ready to move to Memphis once a permanent location is selected.

"And were going to start this off as a training process, but with a mindset of going to major corporations like the NBA. Because we want to do big business. We want these young people to have meaningful work," said Jarrett.

Marcellus Richardson, chief operating officer of Bee Memphis. is putting his 28 years experience in fashion design on the line.

He wants to find enough eager workers to fill three shifts; that's about 50 employees making $10 to $12 an hour.

"We want to use people that are here. We want to train people here. And we want to create a culture of fashion and manufacturing again here in Memphis," said Richardson.

Frayser-grown Mario Cooper has been sewing since he was 9.

Now getting paid for what he loves to do, Cooper believes Bee Memphis will turn Frayser around.

"We're trying to step out of the box. We're trying to change the statistics and what we're going through right now into something positive," said Cooper.

For more information, go to the Bee Manufacturing website at

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