It's a small piece of fabric. An inch long and a half an inch wide. That's all with which she has to work. She is tasked with discovering the dye formula to match the color on that little piece of fabric.
When a customer has an idea or an inspirational fabric swatch, a handloom can give them a concrete visual example of their ideas. The handloom is more efficient and requires a shorter lead time than producing sample yardage in production. So the customer benefits by seeing confirmation of their design and colors prior to placing a production order.
People are now looking towards quality, authenticity, craft and local, and so it’s not so much “Made in America” as it is, made here, local, for a local market. What’s different about the American product is the aesthetic.
At the start of the 20th century, the vast majority of American men wore suits not only as a sign of respect but a sign of dignity. The tailored suit was the American man's uniform, both in the office and out on the town.