"Putting an end to awkward"

Published: 05/06/2015

When Alicia Woods started working as a sales account manager for a manufacturer in Ontario, Canada, she had no idea that one of her biggest challenges would be awkward bathroom situations.

When Alicia first went underground 15 years ago, it was obvious that facilities and equipment in mines were geared toward a male workforce. When she donned her coverall, she found even the smallest size was too baggy.

When it doesn’t cover all

Once Alicia got underground and saw there were no private washrooms, she realized how embarrassing it would be to pull down the coverall. So she just avoided it. “I didn’t drink anything before I went underground,” she says, “because I didn’t want to put myself in that situation.”

Then one day, the lift cage was delayed, and she trekked a long distance to find a dark porta-potty with a bit of privacy. When things fell out of her pockets as she struggled, she knew she had to do something.

Though she’s not a designer, she knew a rear opening was a must. She enlisted a seamstress to sew a prototype, and friends started asking for their own. A new business was born – Covergalls.

Alicia started with coveralls for mining and construction, made with 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material. Covergalls now also sells gloves for women and is expanding its line to include bib overalls and work pants.

“We all laugh about the functionality, but when women don’t drink water, they get sick. And it’s a safety issue wearing baggy clothing. They just say ‘thank you.’”