The Hardest Part of Managing Good Threads

For me the hardest part of managing Good Threads has been deciding who does and does not get needlepoint work on a given day, week or month. I go out to the foundation at lunch time to eat and play with the kids. Some Good Threads stitchers live on the street I use and so when they see me they call other stitchers or send their kids to tell them to come to the JRF land to turn in and get work. This is efficient for me as it makes my schedule super flexible. The downside is that I do not control who shows up for work, so I consistently have to tell people there is not needlepoint work for them. To them this often means that they will see their kids cry of hunger pangs or living some other indignity and it is not rare that they cry as they leave or tear up when they realize they will not get work that day, week or month. I have learned that when you have dozens of people desperate and hopeful for work the only way to deny them is to be clear and cold. We now have plenty of work for our core families. They sometimes get a bit less needlepoint work than normal but they have not gone more than a few days without having work for many years. 

I take solace in the fact that we have been able to expand our employment to the extent we have. In our last payday we paid 278 different individuals and that does not count the people who help our stitchers and will get paid on the side by our stitchers. We started out with 4 needlepoint stitchers in 2013 and so 278 is solid growth. All of our needlepoint stitchers would be forced to endure significant indignities, like hunger, inability to pay for necessary medical treatment, pay rent or pay for their kids to go to school.  Their job with us eliminates those indignities from their lives. I try to keep the good we do in perspective but another part of me does still think things like, “if you were doing a better job selling and growing the business those individuals would not have to suffer as they are now.” This is a true statement but is also an unhealthy thought process and unfair as one can always do more and the things you are not able to achieve do not diminish the things you are able to achieve. My goal for years has been to have 1000 employees at Good Threads. It will not be easy but I continue to be confident that we will get this done inside the next 5 years.

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