I'm moving in about 5 weeks, I own an apparel line that is mostly online, and we will be looking to open up a store/business on the island.
Are there any sewing machines/fabric stores online or should I plan to ship the items down?
Is there any people who sew or are seamstresses on the island?
I do a lot of custom work, and custom clothing (swim & active wear) and would be looking to employ some people as well.
This is one of the reasons people recommend that you work in your field before starting a new business here. You might want to contact the woman at Lagnappe. She started by doing custom window treatments, etc. I'm sure there are people who sew, but are is it up to your standards?
I'm willing to train the right people and at least employee more people on the island. I've ran the company with my husband for 4 years stateside so we can manage it ourselves but I would love to get some help eventually. We're lucky enough where we can really bring it anywhere. I just haven't been able to find any places that sell machines down there
there are thousands of well built durable commercial older sewing machines available in almost any major former garment district manufacturing area across the USA. Although many were shipped overseas with the jobs they are still not hard to find especially in the NE cities.
Shipping them to the USVI is fairly simple - they are mostly Made in the USA so there will be no duty from Customs.
It would be a great boon to the economy to have some manufacturing businesses on island if you can do it here profitably - there are a few hurdles to overcome on that front I would guess.
If you are willing to train, maybe you could take a look at My Brother's Workshop. It's sad that so many of the home economic and industrial arts have been taken out of the schools. I have been sewing since I was a little girl. I don't have much time for it now! But I still enjoy it when I can find the time for it. I've been roped into a handful of sewing jobs over the years here just because there aren't that many people who know how to do it well and at an affordable rate.