Manessah Smith

Production technician

Vapor Apparel, Hanahan, S.C.


When did you start in the textile industry?

About seven years ago.


What is your background?
I went to school for 3D animation & commercial graphics, but I’ve been doing screen printing, and I really enjoy it.


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

We produce shirts, gaiters and masks. They’re used to protect people from harmful sunrays, harsh weather conditions, as well as viruses.


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

I’m able to provide for myself and contribute to the community.


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

To make sure we are producing quality products for consumers.


How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?

It feels great. We did a really good thing to help people during these troublesome times. Essentially, we are helping protect people from COVID-19.


Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?

So we can keep jobs to provide for themselves, their families and the country overall.


Vapor Apparel's efforts


As COVID-19 made the world as a whole face uncertain times, Vapor Apparel pivoted production in the USA and partner mills around the world to focus production and fulfillment on PPE items. Vapor Apparel thrived as an Essential business in recruiting employees for production and continually adding multiple sizes and variations of PPE products.


“2019 has pulled our company together as a very strong group with weeks and months of all hands on deck fulfilling orders,” said Brandon A Barber – vice president of Operations. “It was a pleasure to be part of something that is continuing to keep people safe from this nasty virus.


“This PPE part of the business has exposed us to so many new clients that were not familiar with what all we did,” he added. “That exposure and quick deliveries will benefit us as a whole for years to come.”