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11 03, 2015

Carrie Johns Rocks Her Original Art

By |March 11th, 2015|Company, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|2 Comments

Who knew we had so much talent at Sew What? Inc.  Meet Carrie Johns, who was been at Sew What? / Rent What? since 2013.  Carrie began her career as a graphic artist working for L.A. Design Center and was part of a design team that created the Desert Storm yellow ribbon symbol.

Carrie came to us from a company that specializes in rental scenic backdrops where she worked for 22 years as a backdrop consultant for theatrical shows such as Nutcracker, Wizard of Oz, West Side Story and many more around the Los Angeles area.  We are very fortunate to have Carrie here with us!  For one thing she came with a full knowledge of our rental quoting software system and knows her way around the rental inventory, brings her knowledge of backdrops to Sew What?, and always has a cheerful, upbeat attitude.

Carrie is a very talented artist as well!  In her spare time, she creates very cool works of art.  She started painting when she was a teenage; her first sketch was of the comedian Gallagher (she liked the unique shape of his head).  Inspired by street artist Bansky as well as the famous Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, Carrie creates mixed media graphics and abstract impressionist acrylics.  She has had some private shows where she sold some of her work; she finds this exciting because you have a show not knowing what to expect and then end up selling some art.

Jonz 1

Taking after her brother’s artistic side (he is a performance artist and professional juggler), Carrie loves color and inspiring people through her art.  Her paintings are often reflected by her mood.  She started painting skeletons when her nephew was terminally ill, putting angel wings and a crown on one, and named the painting “Be Royal.”  Soon, Carrie will be coming out with a new line called

Jonz 2

for which she will be printing t-shirts and creating inspirational coffee cups by the end of the year.

Jonz 3

Born in San Jose, Carrie’s family moved to SoCal when she was 8 years old.  She is a blend of Mexican and Irish and is a Gemini.  Carrie’s favorite ice cream flavors are Mint Chocolate Chip and Coconut Pineapple by Haagan Daz.  She enjoys playing softball and is on a team that plays in Burbank.

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You can see more of Carrie’s artwork by searching “Jonz Artist Collection” on Google, and you can also find her on YouTube and on Facebook.

17 02, 2015

Chris Greenhaw Not Only Receives but also ROCKS!

By |February 17th, 2015|Company, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|6 Comments

I sat down with our Receiving Coordinator Chris Greenhaw this morning to get to know him and learn about his music career as well as his career at Sew What? Inc.   Growing up in the Midwest, Chris has lived in Missouri and in “Tornado Alley” in Oklahoma. He is no stranger to tornadoes!  He held many jobs before coming to Sew What?, including working as a Social Worker (he has a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a double minor in Religion and Sociology).   He also worked at Wal-Mart on the night shift. When the company policies were changed, he was told to either cut his hair or quit!  Guess what he did?  Sure wasn’t cut his hair!  Chris does receiving of all goods for Sew What? and Rent What?  He also takes care of the general operations of Rent What? including prepping orders and general upkeep of rental goods.


As you may or may not know, Chris is a drummer and performs in a band called Carved Souls (he is shown second to left in the photo above).  He has been a member of the band for 4 years.  He also writes music and plays the keyboard.   Chris started playing music in Missouri before moving to Los Angeles four years ago.  Music must run in his family because his 2 year old daughter bangs around on several instruments including drum and tambourine and also has a harmonica.   He also has a 3 month old son who I imagine is going to be musically inclined.

When I asked Chris how he would describe his music, he replied: “a dark version of Depeche Mode, dark wave synth pop” which he described as “electronic dance melodic note tone.”  You can get a sampling of his music here: and here.

When I asked what type of music he listens to, he said almost anything but not much Country.  Favorite genres are hip hop and industrial music.  When asked who his favorite musician was, he couldn’t really answer because he has so many favorites, but he did say he really likes IAMX.  You can listen to their music here:

If anyone would like to check out Carved Souls, they are performing at Avalon Hollywood on April 5th which is located at 1735 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028.  There is also a Peru tour in the talks, and a show is also scheduled in Mexico in May.  In the past they have performed at various locations in Mexico as well as in Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, Denver, Seattle and San Francisco, just to name a few.

You can listen to Carved Souls on Pandora Radio.  You can follow them on Twitter here, and you can also follow them on Facebook.

6 08, 2014

Bird’s Eye View

By |August 6th, 2014|Authors, Company|0 Comments

Our offices here at Sew What? / Rent What? are neatly arranged one floor above the other – and while I envy those below who don’t have to navigate the stairs in their stilettoes, I do love my bird’s eye view of the production floor from my second floor office window. We refer to the upstairs offices as being in the “tree house” – yes – we’re productive like squirrels all day long up here.


One part of being successful in manufacturing is to always be looking for best practices and seeking improvements on the shop floor.  Processes and product flow can make, or break, a profit margin………… So I try to take time each day while I work at my computer and on the phones to also observe the goings on as they “go on” out my window.

I see boxes enter via the back corner loading dock door – cloth inventories available on my computer screen promptly adjust – and suddenly the cutting table is buzzing with cloth and scissors as the materials hit the production flow. We’re a J.I.T manufacturer – that means that, by model, we purchase supplies “Just In Time” and “By The Order”.  So accuracy of purchasing, timing of receiving, and swiftness to convert raw goods to finished product are where the magic is at.


Shift focus to the three sewing teams – each with their twin 40 foot pin-sew tables and sets of buzzing machines ……  Cutting delivers precut cloth of all colors and fibers to the teams –who work diligently to sew, pin, match patterns and pleat as needed. It takes some mad skills to turn a pile of 170 yards of raw fabric into a single and stage ready drape.  As you sew – it grows – and as it grows it gets,  yes you said it – VERY heavy!.  Slick tables, years of material manipulation and machine skills all come into play as each team puts all hand on deck to complete the orders gracefully – without having to call on any back injuries!


The teams proudly deliver their sewn goods over to the Quality Control staff… here in a 40′ x 60′ clear open space, our QC department goes to business.  Checking all measurements, trimming missed or loose threads, adding chain weights to the bottoms of drapes, and then finally inserting the needed hardware, grommets and ties and s-hooks and such, into the drapes. Right down to hanging and photographing each piece for our QC archives.

And now to fold – hmmmmm – have you ever tried to fold a king size sheet on your own without it hitting the floor or getting dirty?  Well, some of these drapes are 40 feet x 60 feet as a single piece, and often times bleached white! – so I honestly  marvel at the staff’s oversized origami skills as they accordion, roll, wrap and fold these monster drapes and insert them with care into a fresh branded bag.


You probably have seen our drape bags around town (or in other countries for that matter). Our most famous branded bags keep the drapes clean and double as a laundry bag for our touring friends. Black bags for drapes sold and green bags for drapes rented.  Yes – we take time to pay attention to the branding, too.

Watching the drapes evolve as the many and varied processes wrap around the shop floor is very exciting – and gives me opportunity to see room for improvement….  Not that long ago that I called out some suggestions to the staff to help store and stack the supplies that they were tripping over….

Thankful – the production floor has exceptionally skilled staff – I would like to think that they are in fact “twice-gifted” in their crafts.  As firstly, when they joined us they were experts in the craft of sewing – but now they are experts in creating spectacular stage textiles…. It’s art! Big, Bold, beautiful, Backdrop ART!

And so now out my window, I see the roller doors closing, the work in progress being covered by moisture resistant blanket covers, the lights turning off and laughs as staff are leaving … heading home for the night.

There will be more drapes tomorrow!

1 07, 2014

Focusing on what started it all for us – custom sewing

By |July 1st, 2014|Company, Products|0 Comments

Looking at us now, we do so many things and offer so many products that we didn’t offer in the early days of the company.  We have our own grand format digital printer, which allows us to offer digitally printed scenic backdrops. We are a distributor of theatrical and event equipment, including curtain track, pipe and base exhibit supplies, and other theatrical supplies.  And of course, we offer our customers a rental option for drapery and equipment through Rent What?.


But what started it all, and still remains the heart of the business, is custom sewing of theatrical-style drapery and other soft goods.  Megan started the company in her home about 17 years ago, with just herself and a rented sewing machine. Today, we have a large sewing shop that inhabits a large portion of our 15,000 square feet facility, and about 2/3 of our 32 employees work in manufacturing or manufacturing support.

Because all of the drapery we create is custom-made to the client’s specifications at the time an order is placed, our manufacturing team finds itself working on a variety of different projects each day. Yesterday, they might have been making a 30′ h x 60′ w digitally printed backdrop for a major recording artist, pleating a grand drape for a local school auditorium, and making custom stage skirting for a stage company.  Today they might be making custom exhibit booth drapes for a trade show booth, sewing satin swags for a special event company and repairing rental drapes for Rent What?


Each day, our manufacturing team produces an amazing variety of custom drapery each day for a wide range of customers, from an individual who wants to jazz up her trade show booth to a school that needs affordable replacement stage curtains to a music tour needing a full set of drapery and soft goods for their upcoming 50-city tour. I am so proud of the team – it really is the quality of their work that makes this company what it is!

6 09, 2012

Meet the Rent What? Staff, Part 1: Rick Garcia

By |September 6th, 2012|Company, Rent What Team|2 Comments

We have such amazing employees here at Rent What? and Sew What? and could not be more proud of them if we tried! I would love you to meet a few of the hardworking Rent What? employees who are the stars of the warehouse, making sure everything goes out smoothly and in show-ready condition and then returns on time so that it is available for the next customer’s show or special event. This series of entries will be titled “Meet the RW? Staff”, and I am so excited have our readers to meet some of these wonderful employees, too.

The first person I wanted you to meet is Rick Garcia, who is the Warehouse Manager for both companies, and Production Coordinator for all of the rental traffic that is constantly going in and out of the warehouse. Rick’s many talents and abilities are integral to almost every aspect of Rent What?’s day to day operations, and we’re so grateful to have him here. We are eager for you to get to know him a little bit, too!

When did you first start here at Rent What?

Rick started in 2005 with Sew What?, then moved to Rent What? in 2008.

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

The Rain Forests of Brazil—his dream is to be dropped off in the middle of the forest and have to use his smarts to find his way back to civilization.

What kind of work did you do before coming to Sew What? / Rent What?

He worked in the contracts department of Polar Tanker (of Phillips 66 Oil Tankers).

Do you have a special talent?

He tinkers in everything—electronics, plumbing, computers, carpentry, automotive, etc. Rick recently rebuilt his girlfriend’s CPR 600 Motorcycle “just for fun”. He’s become our company’s very own “MacGyver”!

What is your favorite memory from Rent What?

All of the Halloween Parties here—forwhich he often won best costume (he recently designed an actual light-up Christmas tree costume as well as a 10ft tall dragon costume!).

What are some of your hobbies?

He loves working on motorcycles, and recently has gotten involved with breeding Ball Pythons with a few of his gorgeous snakes (he’s looking to get a Bumblebee Python bred soon!).

What project have you worked on recently that was interesting or challenging?

Recently they worked on a huge installation for Skechers. The sheer size of the install and amount of draping and hardware from RW?, the incredibly complex scheduling, and all of the thinking they had to do on their feet was quite exciting. Getting the job done right and on-time, and to the very happy satisfaction of the client, was also extremely rewarding for him and his entire crew.