Shirley Prosser

Production manager

Hemingway Apparel, Hemingway, S.C.

When did you start in the textile industry? 1966


What is your background?

In 1966, at the age of 16, my first job was in a local sewing factory. Since then, I have worked for several different manufacturers, performed numerous sewing positions, and have been the production manager for Hemingway Apparel since 1985.


What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are the used in?

Hemingway Apparel produces high-end men’s and women’s underwear, t-shirts, performance wear and thermals. We also produce specialty baby blankets, ear warmers and face masks.


What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?

Our jobs means there is food on our tables. It puts our children through college, roofs over our heads and security in our minds. Our jobs allow our community to thrive and grow HERE, where it is needed the most, close to home.


What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?

I make sure our masks reach quality standards and are available at the demanded rate of need.


Please tell us about how it feels to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic.

When the pandemic hit, there was a sense of uncertainty in our small community. We were honored and relieved to be able to help our country. All of our workers take great pride in their work. You can see it in every stitch. Extra special care and love has gone into the PPE products. We know it is most needed for our country and we are thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of the healing we so desperately need.


Do you think it is important to make textiles in America and, if so, why?

YES!!! American made products strengthen America. They help us remain independent, sustainable and dependable. We are prideful people and the results are quality products!

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Hemingway Apparel's efforts


As early as February, the company began efforts to reevaluate its workload and forecast with its customers. Having secured facemasks for FEMA, the company converted about 1/3 of its capacity in March. The early work of everyone involved allowed Hemingway to remain at full capacity, never missing a day of work and avoiding any layoffs. Since that time, Hemingway Apparel has been operating in full scale overtime to date.


“Between our customer base and the joint efforts of everyone involved in our industry, from trade associations to supply chains collaborating and sharing information, many like Hemingway Apparel were able to continue operations,” said company President Chris Marsh. “We are proud to be a part of this industry and the broader manufacturing base of this country that steps up to the challenge of a global pandemic.”