Cupid Intimates Rolls Out the Fabric for Oklahoma CareerTech Students - Future Designers
More than five and a half miles of donated fabric rolled out across Oklahoma to CareerTech and university apparel design and manufacturing courses thanks to Southwest Cupid Intimates Distribution Center located in Blackwell, Okla.
A total of 10,000 yards of spandex, rochelle knit, nylon fabrics and polyester fiber fill was distributed to 427 high school Family and Consumer Sciences Education programs and Oklahoma State University Design, Housing and Merchandising; Theater; and Opera departments.
“To help make the impact of this generous donation more understandable, the 7,000 yards donated to FACSED will provide about 7,000 student projects,” said Terri Hollarn. Hollarn is the state FACSED program administrator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in Stillwater.
In a first-ever donation of its kind, the New York City-based company President and Chief Executive Officer David Welsch credits the Blackwell plant’s new product and process designer, Marcy Montgomery Jones, with the concept.
“Marcy was the driver for the donation of the fabric,” Welsch said. “We have never made a material donation this large and not in this way. We have given garments and fabric in much smaller quantities to Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City and area elementary and high schools. Most donations we make are monetary”
During the past several years Cupid Intimates executives have been building a relationship with OSU.
“OSU is a resource for us and we can be a resource for them, as well,” Welsch said. “We have hired a number of OSU graduates at the Blackwell plant and had our first student internship this summer.”
However, students’ career interests often start during junior and senior high school.
“We are hoping to grow a future workforce in Oklahoma and are recruiting,” Welsch said. “With the average employee age of 44, we want to connect with schools and the university. There is a lot to learn in working with our fabrics which are specialized for functional garments constructed of manmade fibers, not like a lot of other apparel.”
Jones’s own career interest in apparel design and manufacturing started as a Family and Consumer Science student at Broken Arrow High School. In 2004, she graduated from OSU’s College of Human Environmental Sciences with a degree in Design Housing and Merchandising.
“Family and Consumer Sciences is a positive program for high school students,” Jones said. “Students learn practical skills and can develop a creative outlet they can enjoy an entire lifetime. It can also lead to a career in the industry, as it did for me.”
Cupid Intimates’ corporate headquarters and showroom, located in New York City since 1942, is a family-owned business known for its shape (girdles) and intimate wear products since World War II.
“About 50 years ago, we were a small New York City company, selling regionally and gradually expanding into Pennsylvania – then to Oklahoma,” Welsch said.
The Blackwell facility opened in 1972 as a sewing facility with five employees.
Since then, Cupid Intimates of Blackwell has evolved from a manufacturing plant to the operations headquarters for their privately owned offshore factories in Mexico and Nicaragua. In addition the Blackwell facility has sales analysts, a research and development department, and a distribution center with more than 175 employees. Employees are now primarily executives or in the shipping department living in the Kay County area with a few commuters from Wichita, Perry and Edmond.
Today, the company grosses $70 million a year selling TC Fine Shapewear, Cupid, Naomi & Nicole and Miraclesuit Shapewear products worldwide through stores such as Dillards, Bloomingdale, Nordstroms, Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Figleaves, Bare Necessities and WalMart.
Welsch’s own love for the industry is in his blood.
“My father started the business and I have worked in the company my whole adult life,” Welsch said. My wife, Marilyn, is corporate secretary-treasurer and our son, Adam, also works for the company. We live in New Jersey, but have probably spent more nights in Blackwell Oklahoma than any non-resident.”
And, the company promotes from within. An example is Tony Angelino, executive vice president and chief operations officer of the company, who has been with company since 1972 in Pennsylvania.
“The business has changed and grown significantly because of the people who work there,” Welsch said.
For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech system visit www.okcareertech.org. For more information Cupid Intimates visit http://www.cupidintimates.com or about Southwest Cupid Distribution Center in Blackwell call 1-580-363-1935.
Standing left to right, Marilyn Welsch, Cupid Intimants secretary-treasurer, David Welsch CEO and president, Terri Hollarn, CareerTech FACSED administrator, and Marcy Montgomery Jones New product and process designer.
Written By: Ann Houston
Publish Date: August 7, 2009