Inspired Threads recently had the chance to sit down with our newest Designer, Margo, to talk about Margo's gig in eco-fashion.
Our first question for Margo, what's your dream job? Her reply, "I like the job that I have now at Inspired Threads because I feel really proud that I'm giving blankets to people. It is important to me to know I'm making things for people. It makes me feel good to see people smile and for me to make them feel happy. This is an important part of a job for me. It makes me feel good to create something."
Great Job at the Gym.
Margo came to Inspired Threads after losing her job at a local gym in March 2020, when it closed. She started as a volunteer through the job sampling program at her high school and did so well that they hired her when she graduated, and she stayed for 12 years.
Margo had many jobs at the gym. She says, "It was nice to try different jobs. I didn't like washing towels. I was so happy when they stopped giving them to customers, and I didn't have to deal with the bleach splashing up on me."
Being able to try different jobs helped Margo discover what she liked and didn't like. She learned that she liked being around people, but didn't like being rushed, and she enjoyed being part of a supportive team. She continues, "Once the towels were gone, they had me loading drinks in the cooler and cleaning the machines in the gym. I felt pressure cleaning the machines, about getting them done on time, and how clean I had to make them.
The Importance of Tools, Supports, and Accommodations.
Margo's mom said they could see something wasn't right and set out to find some solutions. "Margo didn't get a good cleaning tool, just a spray bottle and rag."
So, Margo's dad developed a mopping device so that she could clean more effectively…and faster." Margo lit up as her mom shared the story and added, "When I had the towel and spray bottle, the towel kept getting dirty. My dad created this tool, and it worked! And, I didn't have to bump my head because it was easier bending down."
Margo did have one other job at the gym she really liked. "I made smoothies at the gym, and I loved that. The wonderful thing was there was a tip jar, and I would get tips from people!"
The "mop device" story captures the fundamental fact that everyone needs the proper tools and supports to succeed. Without them, it may appear that an employee, with or without a disability, cannot do the job or doesn't want to. Inclusive employers must commit to being aware of and responsive to employees' needs and concerns, offering multiple ways to facilitate communication, and ensuring all employees have the modifications and supports needed to succeed in their job.
When Job Coaches Talk Too Much.
Margo's case, like many individuals with disabilities, took her parent's involvement and advocacy to make sure she had the tools she needed to feel good about the job she was doing. In the world of disability employment, that support and advocacy usually come from a job coach, someone who is trained to support people with developmental disabilities to learn and ultimately do their job independently.
We asked Margo about her job coach at the gym, "being a good job coach is not distracting people from doing their job, not talking too much," she said. "I had a job coach in the beginning, and she was not that great, always talking to me while I'm doing things. My boss didn't like it when she distracted me from doing my job. I didn't want to say anything that was not nice. She talked so much, so I would go to Walmart to meet with her. They (job coaches) need to ask me if I need help, and I need to tell them when I don't need help, and they should listen to what I say. If you ask me, I can say yes or no, and if I say no, just let me do my job."
What Margo Would Like You to Know.
It's important for Margo to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in her work. It's also essential to be comfortable and work with people who support you.
"I like the job that I have now. I felt really proud when my blanket "Backstroke" was given to someone who needed it." And my "Butterfly" blanket went to someone whose mom loved butterflies, so the blanket will help her remember her mom when she holds it. I'm also working on my "Tree" wall hanging for my nephew. It will be interactive with snaps and Velcro to play and attach animals, cars and trucks, etc., to it and put ornaments on it at Christmas.
"My art relaxes me, Margo said, "this kind of work does not put pressure on me in a way that other jobs do." Note: Margo is skilled at printmaking as well. Pictured is Swimmer, a 3-color print she created in 2019.
"I feel calm looking through the fabrics, picking out what I like and don't like, and creating a theme. And at this job, I am learning more skills, like pressing and cutting. I can learn and try new things at this job.
I think being able to be in a community is an important part of a job. I like people to support me by understanding what I like. I would like people to know what I like and don't like and create a job around that.
My perfect job is to have help when I need it, in a supportive way. I want to work for Inspired Threads for a long time because I have a great team, and I like the people I work with.