Women in Manufacturing: California Couture Atelier

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During the month of March, influential women are being celebrated all around the United States. During National Women’s History Month, the Maker’s Row has been able to learn about women making history by leading innovative practices in manufacturing.  This week, we had the pleasure of sitting with one such woman, Monica Leigh Rodriquez, who has two decades of experience in the industry.

At a glance

  • » Specialties:
    • › Apparel: bridge, designer, couture
    • › Product Development: designing, interpreting designs, draping, drafting, sample making
    • › Other services: draping, technical design, couture custom order
  • » Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • » Ideal client: Anyone – Beginners to big brands
  • » Maker’s Row profile: https://makersrow.com/california-new-work
  • » Fun fact: Monica, founder, has been in design and manufacturing for 23 years!

Moving Up the Ranks: Artist to Director


From a young age, Monica always had been an artist, practicing drawing, sketching, and oil painting. As  teenager, she started to shop the stores for looking for her “unique look”  based off of outfits she would think up.  Soon, she came to realize that no one had exactly what she was looking for.  It was when she was 21, after some years of classical art oil painting and drawing classes, that she began to sketch all of the beautiful designs she saw in my head. In those moments she realized what she wanted to do: be a designer (and eventually own an atelier). 

Monica started as a designer and pattern maker at an entry-level job in the industry.  Eventually, she worked her way up to Director of Design and Production for a few well-known contemporary design houses in Los Angeles. During her career, she has always loved the entire design through production process.  She is passionate about ensuring the integrity of the design and the fit from concept to shipping. 

Establishing an Atelier

cali atelier

Now, 23 years later, California New Work is her dream come true. Monica opened her own atelier in Downtown Los Angeles, in the heart of its fashion district.   With her team, California New Work offers a vast variety of services for anyone from beginner to expert entrepreneur.

Related Reading:  The November Selection: New Factories

* Draping
* Pattern Design Concept through Production
* Sample Cutting and Sewing
* Sales Sample Sets
* Small scale Production cutting and sewing for in house clients
* Technical Design
* Couture Custom Order
* Design and Development Consultation
* Pre Production and Production Consultation

cali new work

Monica feels that beyond “being built” to take design sketches and make them apparel, she is passionate about customer service.  From the beginning, she has created core values with her team, emphasizing integrity and equal treatment to all clients and customers with value and respect. From early inquiry all the way through billing, California New Work is consistent, ethical, honest and fair.

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Words of Encouragement

As a kid, Monica never imagined owning a factory, but knew she wanted to work in a creative element. As she matured, she began to understand her natural ability to lead and train teams of people. She shared, “I have always wanted my own design studio and have always saw myself as independent, knowing I would excel to my highest potential this way.” With her atelier, she is living out her aspirations and has some words of advice for others pursuing a similar dream:

“Be confident and know that who you are is awesome! Rely upon your creativity and intellect whether you are in the design or the production end of the business. Meditate and release from the stereotypes and old pressures of behavior that may feel forced upon us. Go out into the world and into business knowing that who you are is wanted!”


Ready to start working with California New Work? Tell them what you are looking for and get a quote within 24 hours.

Related Reading:  Keep Up With Consumer Demands: Here Are 3 Ways to Speed Up the Production Process

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