Student graduating with Masters

Degrees

B.S. apparel design, Florida State University ’07

B.S. merchandising, Florida State University ’07

M.S. textiles, North Carolina State University ’10

Job Title

Founder/Owner, Textile Developer at JMW Textiles

Hometown

St. Petersburg, Florida

Background

Originally from Florida, Woodson naturally attended Florida State University, where she studied Apparel Design and Merchandising. However, her passion for textiles led her to the graduate program at the Wilson College of Textiles. After strengthening her textile background at NC State, Woodson spent valuable time in industry, but decided to pursue the entrepreneurial route. She founded and now manages her own consulting firm, JMW Textiles, in Irvine, CA. .

Why did you choose NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?

During my senior year of undergraduate study at Florida State, I had a conversation with my professor, Dr. Grise, who taught one of the required textile classes for the Apparel Design major. During her class, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I developed an appreciation for the technical aspects of textiles — that is how I knew I wanted to further pursue textiles in my graduate studies. During my conversation with Dr. Grise, she recommended a few universities and colleges that had strong textile programs. After my research of each university program, I knew that NC State would be the best fit for my career goals of working with performance apparel.

What are some of your fondest memories at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?

The best memories I have of my time at NC State were with the people, both students and faculty. The diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds always created interesting and inclusive conversations and interactions. Before my first semester at NC State started, Institute of Textile Technology (ITT) hosted a team-building event for the incoming class of fellows — we became a close-knit group, spending time together on and off campus. I am happy to still be actively connected with many of the ITT alums today.  

I also enjoyed the events hosted by the Textile Association of Graduate Students , which created a casual environment for grad students to interact outside of the classroom. I am happy to still be in contact with many of the people I met during my time at the Wilson College of Textiles.  

Another fond memory was having a great deal of hands-on experience with the equipment and labs at the Wilson College of Textiles while I was a student.

Who influenced you most during your time at the Wilson College of Textiles?

It would be impossible to name only one or two people at the Wilson College of Textiles who influenced my growth as a learner, researcher and professional. All of my professors, including my thesis co-chairs, Dr. Little and Dr. Parrillo-Chapman, had a profound impact on my experience there. The culmination of these experiences are what set the trajectory for my successful career path in textiles.  

My favorite class was Dr. Hauser’s Wet Processing — to be able to spend so much time in the pilot plant was a learning experience I still draw from today.

How did your education at the Wilson College of Textiles prepare you for what you are doing today?

The breadth of knowledge that I gained while at the Wilson College of Textiles put me in a great position to be a textile developer for the apparel industry. Understanding the technical aspects of fibers, yarns and textiles as well as the business side of the industry positioned me for a successful career path in the world of textile development.

Describe your career path.

After graduating from NC State in 2010, I moved to Los Angeles for my first job in the textile industry. While in LA, I worked in quality and product development of soft goods for the hospitality industry. From there, I made my way south to Orange County to work with performance apparel — first as a quality engineer and then as a textile developer. After a few years in the apparel industry, I took an exciting opportunity to work extensively in color and textile development in automotive. Working in the automotive industry was a great, fast-paced learning experience but ultimately, I decided to follow my passion and go back to the active apparel industry. I know that is where I can make the greatest impact as a textile developer focused on sustainability.  

I am now working as a consultant at JMW Textiles. It has been an exciting transition to work on various projects for a wide spectrum of companies and brands, including medical products, performance apparel and sustainably-driven accessories, to name a few. I’m looking forward to driving the growth of the company in the coming months.

Please describe your current volunteer and leadership experience.

Currently, I am volunteering as a graduate mentor for the Wilson College of Textiles as well as serving as one of its regional representatives.

I have also engaged with local colleges (Orange Coast College and Santa Ana College) as a guest lecturer on topics related to textiles, fashion and sustainability.

After spending a number of years working in the corporate world, I have founded my own company, JMW Textiles. JMW Textiles is an independent consulting firm specialized in sourcing and developing textiles and materials for the apparel and accessories industry, with expertise in performance and sustainable materials and processes. JMW Textiles offers full-package and à la carte options for apparel and accessory development including design, tech packs/ BOMs, development and manufacturing. As the founder, the success of the business is completely dependent on my leadership, direction and perseverance.

Are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student that we can share with our current and future students?

Start building your network now, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others in the industry, even if you don’t have someone to make an introduction for you. I am always happy to engage with students, or people early in their career, who have reached out to me for informational interviews. I would encourage students to mindfully reach out of their comfort zone when it comes to building their professional network.