Production Facility Update | Meet our new General ManagerRebecca Miller
May 6, 2020
Our world will see many changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From fashion trends to sanitation guidelines, to the very definition of community, everything around us is shifting. One of the changes happening at GOEX is an expedited completion of a transition plan for our team in Haiti at our apparel manufacturing facility, LIFE. Jeff Blatt has been the General Manager at Life S.A. since we began this initiative more than five years ago. He’s been an incredible asset and we will never be able to thank him enough for shaping GOEX into the quality brand it is today.
After 30+ years in Haiti, he’s been looking to transition back to the states so over the last few years he’s been training our next generation of management. When we reopen the factory (hopefully in mid-May), Jeff will be in an advisory role and Ariane Manuel will transition into the General Manager role. Ariane is an incredible asset to our team. She cares deeply for Haiti, for our employees and for the quality of the products they send to you, our customers.
We wanted to take this opportunity to let Ariane share a little bit about herself and a Haiti update. Enjoy!
“My name is Ariane Manuel and I am a Haitian American living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I was born and raised in the United States by my parents who are Haitian diaspora. Despite living in the states, Haiti has always been a prominent part of my life between the family, language and culture that lived inside of me. I always knew that living here one day would be a part of my path, and now I find myself calling it home.
I’ve been with Life S.A. for a little over three years now. My journey has evolved into something I could have never imagined, and I am grateful for every step of the way. I came on board taking a chance on the unknown, just as a chance was taken on me. I had never had any experience in the apparel industry, but each day that went by I became more and more eager to learn. I was extremely fortunate to have had a mentor in Jeff Blatt, our long time General Manager, who knows this business inside and out. Not only was he adamant about transferring his knowledge to me, it was a joy to learn and work alongside him. In just three years, I am confident in saying I have a strong grasp on what it takes to make a small apparel factory run successfully.
Aside from having a newfound interest in manufacturing, there’s one thing that has always remained a constant. No matter how big or small, making a difference in other peoples’ lives has always been a passion of mine. Not only making a difference, but also seeking to understand and sympathize with others. That is why my position with GOEX and LIFE means so much more to me than just being passionate about production. We care about the people. We care about their families, their children and their well-being. I am grateful for every relationship I have built with each and every one of our team members. It is important to me that everyone knows they are valued and appreciated for their hard work they put in day in and day out. I am proud to be a part of this movement together, even more so at this particular moment in time.
It’s been almost two months since the shutdown of our factory. I’ve continued to practice social distancing the best I can, but as far as the general population goes, this task is close to impossible. Haitians generally make their living on a day to day basis. Meaning, whatever they are able to sell that day allows them to feed their families the next. They have no choice but to continue their daily routines. Yes, I constantly see masks whenever I leave my house, but I don’t see any sense of caution or fear. In my opinion, I believe that they’ve seen so much hardship in their lives that this virus does not scare them.
Small businesses have re-opened with limited hours and new rules they require each customer to abide by. This includes but is not limited to the use of a mask and washing of hands before entering their store. On the other hand, the re-opening of factories is more of a challenge. Naturally, because it is an industry that brings together many people in a closed environment. That being said, there are many additional requirements that all factories have and will be forced to comply with.
These past couple of weeks my main focus has been on acquiring all of the necessary supplies to ensure we are prepared for re-open. We have outsourced non-contact thermometers, free-standing hand washing stations, foot mats and other various supplies. Locally, I was able to purchase a substantial amount of alcohol, chlorine and hand sanitizer. Moving forward, each employee will be responsible for the sanitizing of their workspace as well as their hands on a regular basis throughout the day. Prior to re-open they will each be provided with 10 reusable masks and 2 oz bottles of sanitizer. Systems will be put into place and become a part of their daily routines. A lot of thought has been put into every detail to ensure the safety of us all. I am looking forward to being back up and running!”
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