Covergalls CEO and Founder Alicia Woods (seen on the left) raises awareness about her products and meets with prospective buyers at PDAC 2023
Participation in the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase (NOMS) at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention is proving to be a good fit for a Lively, Ontario company that produces women's industrial workwear. Covergalls, founded and operated by Alicia Woods, specializes in manufacturing clothing for women working in the industrial sector. The company's products include coveralls, bibs, jackets, gloves, sustainable high-visibility work shirts, cargo pants and maternity wear.
For the past six years, Woods says FedNor support has made it possible for her to showcase and market her product line through the NOMS pavilion to the approximately 24,000 people who attend the mineral exploration and mining convention held each year in Toronto.
"Being here gives us exposure to global buying companies, different suppliers and vendors to build those relationships that are key to helping us grow," commented Woods.
Woods developed her product line after identifying a need for women to wear garments designed with their body type in mind. Woods says eliminating big and baggy clothing geared for men enhances women's on-the-job safety while a built-in rear trap door makes make washroom breaks easier so women hydrate properly throughout the workday.
As the number of women entering the industrial workforce increases, Woods said the challenge will be to retain them. That's where Covergalls is helping to make a difference.
Covergalls recently introduced a maternity collection.
As companies around the globe struggle to attract skilled labour, Woods said that Covergalls can help play an important role in retention. She relayed a story about three young women who visited the NORCAT underground mine in Sudbury. Upon their arrival, they were instructed to change into safety gear. When they emerged wearing men's clothing, they were directed to product that Covergalls had donated.
"They came and found me at a talk months later to share their story," continued Woods. "And they said that once they had put on the Covergalls, they felt like they belonged. Up until then, they had felt like they were an afterthought and they didn't think that the industry was for them. It made me realize that there's power in the right uniform."
Sharing that power with other women around the globe and helping workplaces transition from diversity to inclusion is one of Covergalls' key objectives through attendance in events, such as PDAC 2023, made possible with FedNor support.