North Charleston-based sewing and alterations shop’s positive re-grand opening

For this article, Lucinda Judon will be labeled as Judon after first reference. Ron’Rico Judon will be Ron’Rico for the rest of the article.

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Owner of Judon’s Sewing, Lucinda Judon and her son, Ron’Rico Judon, had a re-grand opening for their sewing and alterations shop – with COVID precautions.   

On April 27 the store had a re-grand opening. Due to COVID, many establishments like this business had to close in March 2020.

The store’s manager and social media coordinator, Ron’Rico placed video and other reminders on the business’s social media, prior to the event.

He said the customers were receptive to the re-opening. He said they were flooding him with positive questions and remarks on the store’s Facebook and Google.

Ron’Rico said people have constantly been coming in.

His mother has been shocked by the influx of customers coming in.

New Safety Measures

Ron’Rico voiced they have been closed so long because it is hard to social distance in this line of work, but they have safety measures in place.

There is a sign in the window that says, “No mask, no entries, no exceptions.”  

“We can’t vouch for other people’s health conditions when they walk through the door. We know we have to take the necessary precautions to take care of ourselves,” he said.

There is hand sanitizer, wipes and enough spray for the fabrics. They do not have plexiglass in the store because:

“When you walk in, you feel at home,” he said.

There is an open space at the door with customized blankets at the door, hand lotion, a men’s corner and the goal are to allow customer’s eyes to gravitate to whatever suits them. And they avoid close contact.

They are still doing accessories, apparel, custom tailoring and home décor services.

Before COVID they sometimes traveled to people’s homes for custom home décor, but now they are wearing their masks and taking the proper precautions when in people’s homes.

COVID

Ron’Rico, shared his thoughts of when COVID first hit in March 2020.

“It was scary thoughts,” he said. “It was almost like a movie to me. Everything you learned or wanted to know about it, you had to wait to see or hear it from the tv. When you see a movie where a hurricane or tsunami is coming – it looks like the world gets dark. In this case, everything was closing, and it seemed like that. It reminded me of a movie where I was anticipating how it would affect me and my life.”

While he and other Americans were worried about the effects of COVID, someone told his mother about face masks. They told her it would become a need.

“We didn’t think it was going to be as demanding as it was, profitable or as helpful, but it was very helpful,” he said.

He didn’t realize people were going to want a new mask for every day of the week, individuals wanted their masks to color coordinate with their outfits and show pride for their favorite sports teams.

Ron’Rico said on the low end, they were doing 60 masks a week. That is about 240 (or more) masks he and his mother were making by scratch monthly.

At the time, he was laid off from his day job and would help his mother. He said to accommodate the demand on the store, he stepped up.

“I’ve been seeing her do the process of mask making long enough, so I took the initiative to get it going,” he said. “She was shocked I picked it up so fast.”

 He would prep at the start of the day – before the sun came up — and he said they had an assembly line going.

He would cut the fabrics and the filters that went on the inside of masks. His mother would do the sewing and put the elastic on the masks. He would then pleat and secure stitches on the masks.

The final step –put masks in individual plastic sleeves.

Ron’Rico said sleeves are important because it meant no one would be touching the next person’s face mask.

That type of organization was needed because people were picking up batches of masks at a time.

He said he believes having a brick-and-mortar business allowed them to be more accessible to the public. They provided curbside service so they would not have to meet people in public or in their homes.

The customers could purchase and pay online, drive to the curb and leave with their product.

Lucinda’s interest in sewing

“I started my first project of sewing in high school making an apron,” she said. “Then I didn’t touch sewing for 20 years. What really made me start sewing again was when I was pregnant and could not find maternity clothes to fit me. My twins were really large, and my stomach was extra huge.”

She said that struggle made her buy a sewing machine. The thing is . . . she botched the clothes.

“I botched and botched my clothes until I got it right,” she said.

At the time, she was interested in entrepreneurship. She was a cosmetologist, but she knew it wasn’t safe to inhale those chemicals for decades because they could have been damaging to her health.  

Lucinda loved sewing and knew she wanted to do it. She started sewing part-time at home for her hair clients.

 She had four children — one was sick at the time – and knew she needed more money.

“Being a black single mom, there were not a lot of opportunities then,” she said. “What got me interested was there were so many things you could make. You could make a very profitable business sewing. You can decide what specialty you want – apparel or home décor.”

She opened her business in 1997.

“I did it because there was a need for alterations and plus-size clothing,” she said. “Plus-size people want to look nice – especially older women.”

She was working as a supervisor for a hotel’s laundry room and hated it. She said a lot of people hate what they do but must do it to get ahead. But she knew when it was time to quit.

Why custom?

“Custom is something where you can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “You don’t want to walk in someone’s home and see the same pillows you have from TJ Maxx or Marshalls. You are personalizing your home. I don’t like people to have the same type of style.”

She said she believes someone who does sewing for custom projects could never go hungry because the options are not limited. She said people can do handbags, blankets, pillows and so much more.

“Sewing is a beautiful art that God has given to me,” she said. “And I am so thankful. When God gives you a gift, he knows what he was doing when he gave it to you,” Lucinda said.

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