Finally. Mining apparel designed for women!
Coveralls feature back flaps and come in petite sizes
It is now finally possible for women working underground in the mines to find coveralls that are specifically made for their needs. Alicia Woods, creator of Covergalls, has launched the new line of women’s personal protective equipment.
“The first time I went underground and had to use the porta potty, I discovered the problems with the coveralls,” said Woods.
Finding the typical male coveralls oversized and cumbersome, especially when using the facilities underground, she decided to design the full-body suit to meet a woman’s unique needs.
“I knew I was not the only woman trying to make the man’s coveralls fit. And I don’t even go underground every day. There are women working underground for12-hour days in these coveralls,” exclaimed Woods.
The idea to design Covergalls came after searching for a women’s coverall that minimally was more her size. However, there wasn’t anything available on the market. It was then that she decided to design a coverall that would not only accommodate women in size but with particular features for a woman’s needs while working in mining or construction environments.
“I took the male version and made adjustments. I knew that I needed the rear drop, but wanted to hide that feature so the differences were not noticeable,” she said.
Covergalls are made from polyester cotton twill and feature a two-way zipper, adjustable Velcro waist and rear opening.
They come in sizes of small to 3X and in the standard orange, navy blue and also royal blue. They have secured pockets with Velcro on both front and back of the garment and snaps at the wrists for ensuring that the garment does not hang from your arms.
Woods grew up in a mining family. Her grandfather and father owned Marcotte Mining, and she is currently a senior sales executive with MacLean Engineering. She has been going underground for 14 years. Following through with the final design and manufacturing of Covergalls took time as family and career took priority.
With more women working in mining and other industrial sectors, the demand has increased for safer and more appropriate female work apparel. Unavailable sizes not only in coveralls but other personal protective equipment like boots and gloves created undue risks for tripping or snagging on equipment. Woods realized it was a good time to proceed. She approached LH Workwear and Century Vallen to help her bring the apparel to market.
Pam Howard, central region manager for Louis Hebert Workwear, which is manufacturing Covergalls, is excited about the new product and knows the need in the industry.
Howard worked closely with Woods to create the design.
“We had to change a few things with the first design to where it is today,” said Howard. “It is a purposeful coverall and I believe it is going to explode on the market.”
Louis Hebert Workwear, a leader in the design and production of workwear garments in Canada, is looking forward to a long-term partnership that will be very profitable for all involved.
Woods has tested the coveralls with women working at Vale and Goldcorp and has received positive reviews.
There has also been interest for a man’s version as well as work shirts and cargo pants. Mehzabeen Zereen, an electrical engineer with Xstrata Nickel who attended a women’s trade show at Verdicchio’s on June 26th where Woods launched Covergalls, was impressed with the new option for protective work apparel.
“I like the Velcro that allows for adjustable sizing,” said Zereen. Safety is their biggest concern and Zereen likes that it eliminates the danger of too much fabric getting caught. Don Campbell, branch manager for Century Vallen, the local distributor of Covergalls, said he knew there was a market for women’s safety apparel.
“There is not much out there. Most women are wearing men’s clothes, boots and gloves,” he said. “When Alicia brought the idea to me over a year ago, I knew it would sell well.”
Century Vallen, a new company in Sudbury with locations across Canada, is the supplier for Vale.
“We have had a lot of women coming in just from Vale to try on the men’s coveralls. However, the extra small is still too big and uncomfortable,” said Campbell.
The men’s cotton coveralls are priced between $80 and $120 while Covergalls will range between $110 and $150. Although Woods loves her day job, designing workwear apparel has been exciting and potentially profitable.
“I would love to see it go global,” said Woods. “We are now focused on the Canadian market. Next is the United States and I am talking to mining companies overseas who are showing an interest.”
Tagged Alicia Woods, Clothing, Covergalls, Don Campbell, electrical engineer, Fashion, Goldcorp, Louis Hebert Workwear, Maclean Engineering, Manufacturing, Mehzabeen Zereen, Mining, Overall, Safety clothing, Sudbury, United States, Workwear, Xstrata Nickel, Zipper