Union Stitch: Sew Many Changes

When restaurants shut down, Melissa Gallic made a seamless transition.

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Dark-haired man standing in a workshop wearing a black face mask, camel apron and giving two thumbs up.
Chef Dave Hadley sports gives a thumbs up to Union Stitch's custom work. / Union Stitch & Design

When Melissa Gallic launched Union Stitch & Design in 2015, she just made aprons. To be sure, they were custom aprons with precisely designed and placed pockets for bartenders, chefs, servers, and artisans around Denver, but she didn’t stray from the model that served her so well. She made aprons.

Fast forward to 2020: Restaurants and bars were closed to in-house service for months. How did Gallic, who shares a 6,000 square foot studio space in north Denver with three other makers, keep her business afloat during that time?

DO: What changes to services or operations have you made since March? 

Melissa Gallic: In April we added face masks to our product list to fulfill the need for public health and safety. 

DO: How are your revenues compared to this time last year?

MG: Sales would have been down, with the majority of our sales being to restaurants and their employees. However, due to the need for face masks, sales are up compared to this time last year.

DO: When did Union Stitch and Design start producing face masks? Are you still making aprons for chefs and restaurants or have you moved more towards mask production for the time being? 

MG: We started with the first prototype mask at the end of March, and have been selling them ever since. Once restaurants opened back up, apron sales kicked back up again. Union Stitch & Design is now producing and selling both face masks and aprons. 

Cloth face masks in a variety of colors and prints lying in a fanned out display.
The company also makes face masks in a slew of fun patterns. / Union Stitch & Design

DO: What portion of sales are aprons vs. face masks right now? 

MG: Currently, more of my sales are aprons, but I am still selling masks.

DO: What has it been like to own an independent company in the midst of the pandemic? 

MG: Being an independent company during this time has been a rollercoaster. We are so grateful to have the skills and facility to help our community with face masks! 

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com. 

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