Washington DC Clothing Company Adapts to COVID-19 with CDFI Support
Client: JC Smith and Jeff Smith, owners of Bailiwick Clothing Company
Client Location: Washington, DC
CDFI: Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif)
CDFI Service Area: DC
Financing and technical assistance, with support from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org Grant Program
JC Smith and Jeff Smith launched Bailiwick Clothing Company over 10 years ago to represent and elevate the pride and positive energy of the District of Columbia. After growing their business for a decade, the brothers found themselves facing an unprecedented challenge with the onset of COVID-19 and turned to Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) for support.
Within the first few months of the pandemic, Bailiwick Clothing experienced a drop in retail apparel purchases. In response, JC made the decision to launch a new product: face masks that embody the spirit of the company’s mission. Several of the masks sold on the Wear Bailiwick and Shop Made in DC websites are creatively embroidered with a call to action to support D.C. voting rights, exemplifying that face masks can be both essential and stylish, but also a form of advocacy.
Wacif supported JC’s pivot by connecting him with decision makers at D.C.’s Sibley Hospital, which ultimately led to a large contract order from the hospital for Bailiwick’s COVID face masks. JC’s resilience provides an example of how entrepreneurs can seize business opportunities to adapt to ever-changing environments like COVID-19.