"When I go into the OCE garment factory, the Inmates are so proud of their work and have so many ideas of what we can change or improve on. These men are very creative and they are now using it in a positive way."
Shawna Pierson - iTySE
Hi, it's me, Shawna ; )
Over 10 years ago, I was at home (actually in bed) with my husband Ed, and I heard a news report out of San Francisco talking about the harm plastic bags were causing the environment.
I looked at Ed and said, “Are you kidding me! How are we going to get our groceries home? Ed said to me..."You'll figure something out." Literally, as my head hit the pillow, I knew I could do better. The bags I was dreaming about had to be strong, washable, and I had to look cute using them.
So a few weeks later, when I told Ed that I wanted to design the best mesh bag on the planet he didn't quite understand (OK, he thought I was totally crazy).
Early on I decided that the bags had to made in the USA and I was going to guarantee my bags for 25 years (yep, now Ed was sure I was crazy).
My initial thoughts for my new business and bags were simple…Stylish, Sustainable, and Socially Minded. Now I just had to find a company to make my bags.
After a few months, I realized that a female business owner, with zero manufacturing experience, was not being taken seriously. Call it a God-thing, but I then learned from a friend that OCE (Oregon Corrections Enterprises) provided sewing services as one of their cottage industries.
So when I told Ed that I would be working with OCE, and inmates were going to be sewing the mesh bags and accessories, he was a little shocked to say the least. I then told him that the money I paid the inmates would help to pay court costs, child support, and victims restitution (I think he started to see the light!)
Once the mesh bags finally came to life, and I made my first few sales, the company name was born thanks to Ed.
iTySE stands for...I-Told-You-So-Ed ; )
If you'd like to contact me directly, click here.
About OCE - Oregon Corrections Enterprises is a vehicle to second chances for people like you and me who have feelings, ambitions, and dreams of a better life. Learn more about OCE.
Shawna and Ed
Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution