COLUMBUS, Ga. — A Columbus entrepreneur has recently seen her wares given away at the First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C.
Tote bags… they’re big business for a Columbus native who learned the tools of the trade when she was a young girl.
“When daddy started this company there were always sewing machines. And my grandmother taught me how to sew,” says Dee Dee Gaylor.
When Dee Dee Gaylor finished school, she used her creativity and sewing skills to fashion tote bags, which caught her daddy’s eye.
“He said, you know, there might be a market for this,” says Dee Dee.
Her parents traveled to Orlando and displayed Dee Dee’s tote bags at the PGA trade show. And that’s where the idea took flight. They even landed a 15-year deal to make the tote bags for the prestigious Masters Golf Tournament.
“When we got the order to make bags for them and we had a relationship with the people there, that made me the happiest and I know it made my dad the happiest,” says Gaylor.
The popularity of Dee Dee’s designs has spread all the way to Washington, D.C. Earlier this year she got the call to make 2200 tote bags for the attendees at the First Lady’s Luncheon to honor Melania Trump.
“The fabric that was used was a map and a compass,” says Dee Dee. “I have two guys that cut everything… cut the zippers, cut the webbing, cut the fabric. And then we just start assembling them, like in an assembly line.”
Dee Dee’s talented seamstresses have decades of experience, which is evident in their handiwork.
“And then Vicky that works with me for 30 years, she’s snipping threads.. they can’t go out of here if there’s a thread hanging. It’s got to be perfect,” says Dee Dee.
The luncheon in Washington was hosted by the Congressional Club on May 4th at the Washington Hilton.
“When I walked in there were some people already in the ballroom. But in every chair were our bags with tissue paper coming out of the top. That made my day,” says Dee Dee. “I was invited to the luncheon and I could bring one person with me. I took my daughter Lindsey. We also had the honor of being invited to the VIP reception to meet Mrs. Trump, so that was exciting.”
Melania Trump isn’t the first First Lady to give away Dee Dee’s tote bags. They were also distributed to those attending Michelle Obama’s luncheon in 2013 and 2015.