Catoosa Company That Sews Custom Jeans For People In Wheelchairs Struggling After Pandemic

Thursday, June 24th 2021, 9:46 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

CATOOSA, Oklahoma -

Some Catoosa women have created a unique business, making jeans for people in wheelchairs and ship them all over the world. But they are struggling after a tough year and hoping to grow.

Inside John's Specialty Jeans, seamstresses sew, stretch, snip, and start again.

"First thing a paralyzed person is told in the hospital is no more jeans," said Darlene Martin. 

Martin said she's been sewing her whole life. Last year right before the pandemic, Martin’s friend Lacinda Harris-Gillham opened up this shop with her to make jeans and pants for people in wheelchairs. They also do alterations.

"When they see someone in a wheelchair, they don't think how hard it is to find clothes," said Martin.

"It comes up higher in the back," Harris-Gillham said. "These are special, he wanted a little extra room."

Harris-Gillham said the shop ships all over the world now and each pair of pants is custom-made.

But she said she's struggling to pay her employees after a year of building the business from the ground up. She even started a GoFundMe to see if people could help.

"It was one struggle after another," Harris-Gillham said.

That doesn't mean her customers aren't thrilled by the jeans and pants. Emil Sopoliga gets jeans for his stepson Paul Dotts, who is quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy.

"We recommend them so much. They go out of their way to make the jeans fit," Sopoliga said.

Sopoliga said Martin even surprised them with a matching jean jacket, and he hopes the company gets the recognition it deserves.

"When they call us, they cannot believe they fit as well as they do," Harris-Gillham said. 

If you’d like to help, you can visit the GoFundMe page here.