Mendit: Revitalizing Clothes and ‘Sew’ Much More
When Kaitlyn Allen’s grandmother Catherine Calnon passed away a few years ago at age 95, Kaitlyn kept one of her favorite green sweaters. It still smelled like her grandmother’s perfume.
When Kaitlyn noticed a hole in the sweater, she wasn’t sure what to do – Kaitlyn’s grandmother had always been the one to mend the family’s clothes. Kaitlyn was surprised to find that having the sweater repaired was more complicated than she had thought it would be. She also realized that others must be facing similar hurdles. Her hunch was correct.
Kaitlyn shared, “In the last few generations, the majority of people did not learn how to sew and only 4.2 percent of Americans take their clothes to be repaired. The rest are usually just buying new clothes and throwing away old items, contributing to a massive carbon footprint.”
Kaitlyn’s sweater experience inspired her to found Mendit, a Houston-based digital marketplace that connects individuals looking for sewing services with local seamstresses. In addition to giving their clothes a second life, users will be supporting nonprofits, local small businesses, and helping the environment. Mendit’s pilot program launched six months ago in neighborhoods around West University, Southside, and Braeswood.
Kaitlyn, a St. Agnes Academy alum, shared, “I selected this area to launch Mendit because it has many parents and busy professionals. Additionally, I am from West U and now live in Braeswood, so I knew the market well.” Mendit’s Operations Manager, Erin Fitzpatrick, also has West University roots and is a graduate of Lamar High School.
“The process was efficient and good for the earth!” said Mandy Kung, a satisfied neighbor. “If I can keep wearing something I bought 10 years ago, I feel proud that the item still fits, and that I am doing my small part in not contributing to more waste.”
Kaitlyn sought out local nonprofits to be part of the Mendit process. She was happy to connect with Connect Community’s HTX Sewn Goods initiative and Magpies and Peacocks.
Connect Community, one of Mendit's first partners, is an organization that helps strengthen Houston’s Sharpstown/Gulfton community. During the pandemic, HTX Sewn Goods was started by local women coming together to sew over 75,000 cloth face masks.
“After the mask project was complete, the talented seamstresses wanted to keep sewing and earning supplemental income for their families,” shared Connect Community Workforce Consultant, Lauren Caldarera. “Our group is happy to partner with Mendit for their sewing repairs.”
Magpies & Peacocks is the nation’s only non-profit design house dedicated to creatively reusing clothing, scrap textiles, and accessories to help reduce additional waste to landfills. Magpie & Peacocks’ Director of Communications, Ahshia Berry, shared, “We are extremely excited to partner with Mendit and be part of bringing a solution to the consumer.”
Julia Barnhill said, “I love that Mendit encourages people to make things last rather than throwing them away. I know textile waste is a major problem, but it can be daunting to seek out a tailor. The app is very easy to use.”
Kaitlyn Allen may not be able to mend clothing, but she definitely knows how to sew together lots of great people and ideas. Her grandmother must be smiling seeing all that Kaitlyn created when she found a hole in her sweater!
Anyone can use Mendit’s services by ordering through the app and using designated locations to drop off and pick up orders. Learn more here.
Houston Area Drop Off Locations
Please confirm as times may vary
Signature Park Ave Cleaners
4038 S Braeswood, Houston, TX 77025
Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Magpies & Peacocks
908 Live Oak, Houston, TX 77003
Wed-Fri.., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
2799 Katy Fwy., Suite 250, Houston, TX 77007
Mon.-Thurs., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri., 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
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