SPESA's State of the Union Address

Updated: Apr 13

By SPESA


Last week, our team sent out its annual State of the Union address. This member correspondence has become somewhat of a tradition over the past few years, and allows us to reflect on the past while also looking ahead to the future. You can find the full address below.


When we talk about the future, we often do so through the lens of improvement. What can we fix? How can we make the industry better than it is today? A big part of that conversation turns to efforts in sustainability. This month's Behind the Seams will aim to explore how the sewn products industry is working towards a more sustainable future. First we hear from WhatTheyThink.com's Cary Sherburne on systemic changes needed in the textile and apparel sector when it comes to sustainability. We'll also look to other industry publications on how they're covering sustainability this month.

This year’s SPESA State of the Union address is coming out a little later than we planned. We normally time it to coincide with the U.S. President’s annual address to the nation, but that hasn’t happened. And maybe that was our mistake, thinking that the words “planned” or “normal” would apply in 2021. While we wholeheartedly believe this year will be better than the last, it would be foolish not to expect additional changes and challenges as our industry continues to cope with the impact of Covid-19.


As is now our tradition, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on our past year and highlight some of the opportunities and challenges we expect to come.


Looking Back at 2020

We spent a lot of time waiting last year: waiting for news; waiting to see if our events would be possible; waiting for a vaccine; waiting for 2020 to be in our rearview mirror. But, somehow, in between all that waiting, we were extremely busy. In the beginning, we focused on helping our members find the resources they needed to keep their businesses up and running. We also highlighted the amazing efforts you all put in to support your communities and protect front-line workers.


With the help of our members and industry partners, we focused on virtual networking and education. We hosted town halls, webinars, happy hours, and even the first-ever Virtual SPESA Executive Conference. We hope to never again be in a situation in which virtual networking is our only option, however, there were some obvious benefits. The online format allowed us to try new things, engage members who don’t usually travel to events, partner