Yet Another BIG Workshop Move!

Large workshop space with white walls & floors and a vaulted wooden ceiling. The room is filled with racks of fabric, cutting tables, and industrial sewing machines.

Have you ever been curious what it looks like behind the scenes here at Luckyleo Dancewear? We wanted to give you a tour of our workshop (or as we call it, Leotard Land) where every single Luckyleo is created! We had only been in our old workshop for a little over a year but saw our company growing faster than we could keep up. As the leotards started to pile up in every nook & cranny, we began the hunt for a new location and found a spacious, sunny workshop just a mile away from our old space! We were sad to leave our 3,000 sq. ft. workshop that we had called home, but we’re so excited for our new 15,000 sq. ft. building where we could spread out & get back to work stitching up leotards! We were only in our new space for a few days before Denver went into lockdown & we had to spend a month working from home. We were so grateful for the support of our wonderful customers during that uncertain time! When it was safe to return to our sparkling new workshop, we felt so grateful we had more room to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines.

Rolls of colorful fabric on a shelf.

A sewist wearing a face mask, glasses and a red scarf sits at her sewing machine with fabric in her hands.

We’re thriving in our new space as it has given us an opportunity to organize our production workflow into specific zones. The majority of our leotards are made with a collaborative effort from several small teams of two to four people. Each team receives a specific list, like Express or Best Sellers, where they work together to create each leotard. Our sewists are so skilled & are able to switch between different roles- like cutting, serging, elasticing & topstitching. Each team has their own pod of machines and cutting tables so they are able to complete their leotard batches efficiently. Did you know a single leotard will sometimes pass through the hands of six different people before it’s shipped to you?! Teamwork makes the dream work!

A sewist sits profile to the camera wearing a face mask, glasses and pink headphones as she sews.
 A sewist with curly hair wearing a face mask holds up a leotard.

 

We also have the Maker’s corner, where our most highly skilled sewists work individually on creating leotards entirely from start to finish. Our Makers are responsible for creating all of our custom leotards, so next time you order a custom leotard make sure to check out the unique stamp mark on the back of the brown hang tag to see which Maker created your leotard specially for you! 

A woman in a face mask with red curly hair is visible between racks of hanging patterns as she cuts fabric.

Our production manager, Kathryn, is in charge of ensuring the production floor runs smoothly. Her keen attention to detail is essential when it comes to making sure the workshop is stocked with fabrics, thread & supplies! She helps each team figure out the best workflow to make sure all of our projects are created by their deadline. Our production team is always working on several projects at once, like restocking hand painted Allures, creating Best Sellers, Classics & Customs, and working on new Express releases. It can be a lot to keep track of if it weren’t for Kathryn’s excellent organization and management of the production floor. She is also responsible for making sure the sewing machines are working (they tend to act up from time to time), keeping scissors sharpened & rolling fabric so the team can complete their projects smoothly.  

A woman with long blonde hair wearing a face mask and an orange plaid shirt sits at her desk. She is smiling as she works on her laptop and there is a big green plant in front of her desk.

Ann is our friendly customer service associate, if you’ve ever sent us an email then you’re most likely talking to Ann! This gal permanently has a smile on her face & a cup of tea in hand as she tackles returns and creates listings for new leotards on the site. Her sharp wit helps keep her focused as she processes hundreds of leotards each week. Luckily, she has her trusty sidekick, Hank, by her side whenever she needs a break for pets & a quick game of fetch!

A woman wearing a face mask & a bandana on her head sits in a chair and poses pointing to a yellow mug.

When your leotard is completed by our production team, it goes to Shelby’s table. Shelby is in charge of quality checking our leotards to make sure they look perfect by the time they reach you! When we’re sewing hundreds of leotards each week it can be easy to skip a small detail, so luckily we have Shelby as an extra set of eyes to make sure nothing passes through unfinished. She looks for fabric flaws, snips extra threads, and passes back any leotards that need a little bit of extra attention. When a leotard is ready to ship, Shelby will attach our trademark brown hang tag, which she stamps with our logo, and handwrites each size & order number!

A woman with brown hair wearing colorful black & pink floral overalls sits at a table and inspects a leotard.

Finally, your leotard reaches Sydney! Sydney is in charge of ensuring we hit or exceed any deadlines promised in the Shipping department. She packages up each order with a little bit of extra love, then prints shipping labels so your leotard finds its way home. Sydney handles leotards that are headed to every corner of the globe, each one carefully folded and slid into our brown craft paper bag. She selects a colorful ribbon to finish the package off with a pretty bow!

A woman with short blonde hair wearing a beanie and a blue face mask smiles at the camera as she ties a bow on a brown package.

Our new space has allowed us the opportunity to have special rooms for fabric printers, so we can create our own printed fabric! Chelsea & Heather entered a small business competition where they gave a specialized presentation to investors who chose them as the winners of the $10,000 grand prize! This initiative allowed us to invest in fabric printers and a heat press so we could take control of printing in our workshop. This has been such a wonderful addition because it allows us to create every single one of our unique prints in-house, and reduce waste by only printing exactly what we need. Our previous minimum order size when we were outsourcing printing made it harder for us to experiment, but now we can easily create any print we dream up! We use a process called dye sublimation which requires us to first print the ink onto a specialty paper. This room has to be kept very humid with an industrial humidifier. Then we have a separate room, which in turn has to be kept very dry, where we use a special heat press to roll the printed paper against fabric so the ink transfers. Chelsea & Heather invested months into taking special classes after workshop hours and many weeks of experimenting to learn how to master this printing process! Now they’re training one of our sewists, Janelle, in the printing process so she can take over all of our workshop printing needs!

Two women are in front of a large fabric printed. The woman on the left is wearing blue sneakers and kneeling while the woman on the right wears tall boots and stands with her foot kicked back and a hand in her pocket.

To keep a happy & healthy team, we’ve integrated plenty of spaces for our sewists to unwind and relax during the day! We have a sitting area that we use to do weekly check-ins with each of our small teams. Our old space only had a mini fridge so we were delighted to upgrade to a full kitchen for our staff where they can enjoy their lunch breaks & coffee. We have some room to grow but currently we use the empty space to enjoy weekly team times. Team times happen every Thursday and offer our sewists a much needed break so we can connect as a group and enjoy fun activities together like yoga, crafts & games! We also have two offices where Chelsea & Heather can hold conferences and work on new and exciting projects for Luckyleo, like painting and designing the latest original print, coming up with your new favorite leotard style, designing Express, or planning our next big project!

Design process of creating handmade leotards

A team of six women all wearing face masks sit in a circle for a group meeting as a dog walks down the middle of the room.

We’re so fortunate to have such a wonderful workshop where our business can thrive and our team can truly enjoy sewing up beautiful leotards. Thank you to each & every one of you who has supported our small business and made this dream a reality! We wouldn’t be here without YOU!

A close-up shot of racks of colorful leotards hanging together with a brown Luckyleo hang tag in focus.

 

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