Gettees founder Mathew Hunt has used a Sterling Heights plant to build up his apparel business.

Gettees founder Mathew Hunt has used a Sterling Heights plant to build up his apparel business.

Photo provided by Gettees


Sterling native sews up clothing production with local factory

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 12, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Starting a clothing business at age 21 might not be every marketing student’s dream.  But for Mathew Hunt, it fit him to a T.

Hunt, 27, is the founder of Gettees, a Michigan-based apparel company that has a factory in Sterling Heights. The factory is where Gettees designs, cuts and sews its clothing.

Hunt said he wanted his apparel business to be based in metro Detroit because he noticed the effects of declining manufacturing locally, especially in terms of jobs. He said his company is trying to cut out the retail market and directly sell to customers online. It also has reached out to online influencers and has formed partnerships with local music groups and businesses, he said.

“Through e-commerce we can kind of cut costs and (do) manufacturing in the United States and make it affordable,” he said. “We’ve steadily been growing since the launch of our website.”

Hunt grew up in Sterling Heights and attended Stevenson High School. His entrance into the clothing industry started in 2014, when he was attending his final year of college at Michigan State University. He was doing a business case study of the garment industry and the collapse of a facility in Bangladesh, and it grabbed his attention and made him wonder if there was a better, more humane way to produce clothing.

“It’s something I wanted to learn more about,” he said.

Upon graduating from college, Hunt said, he pitched a business idea to his father about trying to create a clothing manufacturing plant in the U.S. He said his father owns a Sterling Heights manufacturing business called Emtech that, in part, cuts and sews insulation for military vehicles.

“It took us 2 1/2 years just to figure out the manufacturing,” Hunt said. “We’re still learning stuff. We’re so far ahead of where we were.”

Hunt said the company currently has a creative team of around six people, as well as 10 people handling the sewing. He said his business aims to make clothes that are “comfortable, fit good and are built to last.”

“Right now we’re kind of focused on the staple products,” he said. “We make men’s and women’s T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies — crew necks, V-necks, long sleeve. Our goal is to perfect those staple products that fill up the majority of people’s closets.”

He said Gettees’ goal is to be as transparent as possible about who’s making the clothing, and how. Using domestic supplies and manufacturing is another top priority. However, he said finding those suppliers, whether for hoodie cords or industrial sewing machines, has sometimes proven tricky.

“It took us three months to find a plastic bag made in the United States to put our shirt in,” he said.  

Hunt added that he is proud to find a type of high-quality cotton that is grown in California.

“It’s pretty much the softest fabric that goes into a T-shirt,” he said.

Gettees Chief Operating Officer Erion Lulashi said his favorite thing about working there is that they are new to the fashion and clothing industry, so they have the opportunity to look at things from a fresh perspective and do things right the first time.

“This really gives us a fresh look on things,” he said. “The garment industry in itself hasn’t really had a lot of innovation these past few decades. But we can promote that innovation.”

Lulashi said Gettees is all about making sewing a skilled trade and investing in it.

“That’s how our business has grown,” he said. “(It’s) us investing in people, investing in our product, investing in our materials. … We really invested in quality and the sewers that are ultimately going to give us the edge over everyone else.”

Find out more about Gettees by visiting gettees.us.

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