The face behind one of the country’s most iconic scarves

by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]

When the 2021 Miss America pageant aired Thursday night on the Peacock Television Network, the new champion shared a striking similarity between a few east coast college graduates and the 2021 Claremont High School reunion tribunal. If you deduced the title correctly, you probably guessed that all of them were wearing sashes representing their achievements and newly won titles. But the common denominator goes a little further than that.

What the belts also shared was that each was provided by Angelique Barnum, a Claremont resident who runs a world-class belts business in Upland, aptly called The Sash Company Inc., who opened their doors. wears October 2002. Barnum’s products also include stoles and ribbons for virtually any occasion. During last Friday’s interview with Barnum, the 52-year-old CEO revealed that the stoles are in fact how the belt company has planted its roots.

In 2000, before any mention of scarves, Barnum’s husband Robert Barnum needed help finding stoles for members of his college club. “My husband came up to me and said, ‘I need a graduation stole.’ And I said what is it, ”she recalls.

Barnum, who learned to sew from his mother at the age of four, acquired all the threads and stitching needed to make the stoles at home. She quickly taught her two daughters to sew – just as her mother and grandmother taught her – and the trio got to work making graduation stoles for Mr Barnum’s club. The order was successful and prompted her to consider tackling a larger market beyond her family and friends.

“The internet was still a little new 20 years ago so I was looking for it on Google and it turned out that no other company on the whole internet was selling graduation stoles. And I was like, “Wow, I can do this from home and I have a niche market,” she said, basking in every entrepreneur’s dream.

One late evening in 2000, the Barnum family were dining out when Barnum said he had the idea to make pageant belts for little girls across the United States. That loaded thought came with a dream sponsorship that Barnum was determined to achieve, the official sponsor of the Miss America scarf.

Two years later, The Sash Company Inc. was founded. Becoming Miss America’s belt supplier was a long shot, and Barnum was unaware that the contest had dropped belts in 1972, long before his business opened. Yet that realization didn’t stop her from pursuing what she wanted most – so for the next three years she continued to create scarves, stoles, and ribbons.

In 2005, her hopeful wish began to come true when she received a call from an NBC television producer asking for fabric samples.

“They hadn’t made any belts since 1972 and [Miss America] renamed themselves. They did a reality show and the agency producer who was filming called and asked [fabric] samples of each [tailor] in the country, ”Barnum said. “We didn’t know what their request was for, we didn’t know it was for Miss America, so we just said, sure, okay we’ll send you a [fabric] to taste.”

Of the many tailors across the country who submitted samples, Barnum’s fabric garnered interest from NBC network officials, and the company employed Barnum in 2005 to provide scarves for the Miss America reality series, which took place on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

As with all orders, Barnum remembered packing and checking the shipping box twice; however, Miss New Jersey’s scarf was not in the box. She later found the belt she forgot to pack as the producers informed her that it was missing. However, the “J” on the jersey was off-center, which meant that on deadline day, the entire belt had to be redone.

Embarrassed by the delay, Barnum made a new belt and traveled to the Queen Mary to deliver it to producers on time. While on the Long Beach set, she created an opportunity for herself. Hoping to help viewers at home differentiate the show’s contestants, she spoke convincingly with Michael Allegretto, director of operations for Miss America, about the belts’ permanent return to the pageant.

“I gave it to them and got to meet the VIPs, the whole film crew and all those Miss America bigwigs. And I had a brave time, ”she said. “I said, Mike… don’t you think it’s time for Miss America to go back to the belts?”

“And he looks at me and says, ‘You know what Angelique, you’re absolutely right. I think we should,” she recalls, saying. “From that point on, we became the biggest sponsor. former Miss America so here we are today. “

Barnum still gets goosebumps when he talks about how his small-scale business – of which there is only one – won the most coveted deal. “To be a part of that, because he’s 100 years old [in 2021], that’s a big deal, ”Barnum said. “We make the best belts in the world, really. “

And she doesn’t just brag – in addition to being recognized throughout the industry as the best, Barnum essentially defined the [gold] standard of what television and industry could, would and should be.

For 16 years, The Sash Company Inc., of Upland, has been the official belt supplier and sponsor of Miss America, along with hundreds of other national and local contests around the world. The company has served not only Buckingham Palace, but also countless counties, high schools, colleges, fraternities, sororities and people across the United States. No matter who the belt is intended for, The Sash Company Inc. ensures that all orders are made to the highest quality standards, much like Miss America belts.

“It’s just an honor to be a part of these peak moments in someone’s life,” Barnum said.

Barnum’s mother taught her the one skill she needed to take on the world, just as her grandmother had shown her mother and her great-grandmother had shown her grandmother. She added that her relatives are still in the store with her in the form of heirloom jars that contain their old sewing materials on the south wall of the business.

“I like the idea that they are all looking down on me [still]”said Barnum.

The Sash Company Inc., is located at 1164 Monte Vista Avenue, Suite 8, in the College Business Park of Upland. Belt manufacturers come in for all occasions and their hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call the store at (909) 982-7222.

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