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Events, Travel, and Scheduling Acrobatics

Updated: Jan 10, 2023


We’ve been saying it for months now: live events are back! But the deluge didn’t really hit us until a little over a month ago; and then it hit like a truck. Over the course of six weeks, the SPESA team traveled to multiple industry events and meetings (and a couple long-awaited vacations) across just as many countries. It was exhausting. But we wouldn’t want it any other way.

The most exciting of these many activities was, of course, our SPESA Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference, hosted in Detroit for the first time. Because of Covid, the current SPESA team has only been able to host three of these events, but this was definitely the best one yet. The short conference included a full day of education featuring 5 panels of 22 speakers; tours of the ISAIC facility at Carhartt and the soon-to-be revamped Michigan Central Station; and access to the North American International Auto Show.

Although, to us, the best part of any SPESA event is the people with whom we get to experience it. Almost 70% of our Detroit attendees were first-timers at a SPESA conference, representing a diverse swath of the sewn products industry.

We have a short reprieve at home this week before heading out again (Charlotte, North Carolina, for the IFAI Expo and then a quick dash to Philadelphia to lay the groundwork for an exciting TBA SPESA event). And then the real ninja-level calendar juggling begins. Between now and Texprocess Americas in May 2023 — which is kind of like our prom, graduation, and end of the year exams all wrapped up in one — there seems to be some pivotal industry event happening every few days. There’s even a week in November during which our three-person team somehow needs to be in Bangladesh, Belgium, Mexico, and New Jersey all at the same time.

As we recently told Sourcing Journal, we are thrilled to see industry events happening again in abundance. However, it has definitely made scheduling more challenging. So, while we were in Detroit enjoying the success of one event, we made the difficult decision to postpone another. Our 2022 Executive Conference, originally scheduled for November, will now be held in the spring of 2023.

We know things don’t always go as planned (that Detroit conference was originally scheduled for April 2020…) and we are wrecked at the thought of possibly letting down our members, but we know this is the right move to ensure SPESA members and other attendees can get the most value out of the event and put their time and resources to the best use. We can’t wait to reconnect with all of you in San Juan and will announce the new conference dates as soon as we iron out the final details.

With all of this in mind, we have a request for our Behind the Seams readers this month. If your company is hosting a public event or you know of a sewn products industry event that you think we (the SPESA team/our members/everyone in the industry) should know about too, please shoot a short message to or so that we can add it to the Behind the Seams calendar. With all of the postponements and cancellations caused by you-know-what, we know there are a lot of new events to be added. With your help, we will all become scheduling black belts in no time.

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