Meet the illumiNITE Team!
IllumiNITE activewear is designed for fun, safety, weather and style. Unlike other reflective sportswear, illumiNITE doesn’t rely on strips, tapes or spots to keep you visible. Our all-in-one ink allows for coverage that is hidden during the day, but revealed at night in the headlights for maximum safety and comfort.
IllumiNITE is distributed exclusively in North and South America by BackAtcha Apparel. IllumiNITE was the first company in the U.S. to provide a reflective product that joined performance, comfort and safety in a fun and stylish package.
illumiNITE's technology is a timesaving, easy to use all-in-one ink that eliminates the measuring and mixing associated with traditional reflective mediums. This means that we can add reflectivity to rolled goods and create garments with large reflective areas rather than strips and dots. Better coverage means a brighter, safer customer.
BackAtcha Apparel grew out of Accurate Services, a third generation, family-owned company operating out of the historic Laurel Lake Mill building in Fall River, MA; a city with an apparel and textile tradition that dates back to the industrial revolution. Because we're a small company, our service is personal and friendly, and you’re just as likely to speak to the President of the company as one of our great customer service employees. Here's a little introduction to the crew:
Sue is the President of BackAtcha Apparel, but don’t let the big title fool you. Most days you’ll find Sue answering customer calls, packing and sending shipments to those happy customers, designing and testing new products, and telling the world about illumiNITE at race and bike expos around the country.
Not satisfied with one fancy title, Sue is also Vice President of Accurate Services a small apparel manufacturer and fulfillment center that shares space and employees with BackAtcha Apparel in Fall River, MA.
As an athlete, Sue knows the right gear makes all the difference, and she tests many of the illumiNITE products personally. Sue is committed to providing the highest quality reflective clothing to elite athletes, weekend warriors, and casual strollers alike.
A graduate of the University of Rhode Island (and the graduate school of working her tail off) she has more than 25-years of experience in the apparel, logistics and technology industries.
An avid runner and skier, Sue counts completing the New York Marathon as her greatest athletic achievement. Nowadays, she competes in a much smaller field, running with her two dogs Jack and Sophie.
Every organization needs its Wise Man, Guru, Yoda. Meet our Jedi Master and Treasurer of BackAtcha Apparel, Frank Teixeira.
With more than 50 years in the apparel business, Frank knows more about the industry than all of the big guys combined. Over the years he’s watched most of his professional contemporaries abandon the U.S. for cheaper, lower quality production overseas. Never one to follow the crowd, Frank believes if you treat your customers fairly and offer a unique, one-of a-kind product, success is possible here at home.
Frank purchased the historic Laurel Lake Mill in1970 to house his first company, Whittenton Corp. The industry and City have changed, but the Mill has remained opened and running (with some of the same employees) for 45 years.
A graduate of the Wharton School of Business and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, Frank started working in his father’s apparel factory during summer break. Taught hard work and business ethics by example (his mom sewed uniforms in the living room), Frank credits his parents for his love and respect for the apparel industry and the City of Fall River.
Frank enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends. On his day off, you might find him tearing it up on the ski slopes of Vermont or boating off the coast of Rhode Island.
Meg has more than 30 years of experience in the garment industry and has a faculty position in the Apparel Design Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She leads our creative team through the design process and is the keeper of all things artistic, including swatches and magic markers, which leads to her title: Vice President of Creative Design.
With a passion for teaching, Meg strives to give her RISD students the tools needed to succeed in the fashion industry. She often uses her illumiNITE experience to teach about design and the business side of the industry. Meg enjoys bringing her students into our Fall River factory to show them the manufacturing side of the garment industry.
Meg gives passionately of her time, but nothing means more than the Katie DeCubellis Foundation. The organization, founded in memory of her daughter Katie who was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 13, promotes youth leadership, supports education and provides scholarships, and generates public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and drug abuse.
Meg doesn’t have much free time. But when she does have a day off, she enjoys skiing, yoga, and hitting the beach for a little R & R. She hopes to some day design, build, and decorate a new house.
Michelle is a graduate of The University of Rhode Island's Fashion, Merchandising and Design program. An interest in textile performance and design shaped her academic career and led to a fashion study tour of Paris and an invitation to participate in the prestigious Project OR (outdoor retailer) textile competition, where she met the illumiNITE team.
Hired as an intern in 2011, Michelle quickly proved her worth was hired as our product development and creative design administrator. In that role, she assisted Meg in designing illumiNITE’s classic collection.
Now our Product Lifecycle Coordinator, Michelle manages illumiNITE's seasonal products from concept to consumer. If you have questions about fit or design, or suggestions about how we can do things better, Michelle is the one to see.
An avid snowboarder, Michelle credits her work ethic to the on-the-job training she received while working at a deli one winter in Utah.
Besides snowboarding, Michelle practices yoga, knits, and runs around with her dog Kylie.
Jennifer has over 25 years experience designing, producing and sourcing apparel and soft goods. She's happiest as a maker (nothing more fun than a pattern making puzzle!) and realized early she wasn’t suited for a big corporate life. After running into Frank repeatedly for years, he finally lured her to Accurate Services by offering her the chance to cultivate her entrepreneurial spirit through a new venture selling and supporting Perfect Fit software. Under this umbrella, Jennifer has provided consulting and training to dozens of apparel companies large and small.
A confirmed lateralist, her motto "Yeah, I can probably figure that out," has resulted in encyclopedic knowledge about the apparel business, including all kinds of fun backend skills like production line optimization, purchasing, bookkeeping, customer service and database architecture. Always looking for ways to improve our products and company, Jennifer has done every job at Accurate Services (except cutting) and has happily settled in as BackAtcha's Vice President of Possibilities and is a member of our Board.
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys hiking, biking and camping with her family and friends. She just completed the first annual Tour de Council Erie Canal Bike Ride with the Boy Scouts. Jennifer lives with a husband, two kids, a dog, two cats, a tortoise, five fish, and a couple of hermit crabs.
Starting as a Manufacturer’s Representative, Judy has brought high-quality sportswear to the masses for almost thirty years. Now the Sales Coordinator for illumiNITE, Judy is the company’s top salesperson and cheerleader as we enter new markets and stores.
Judy knows that once a customer sees and touches our product they’re sold. That’s why getting illumiNITE in front of new customers is her top priority. illumiNITE values our retail partners, and Judy is knocking on doors delivering our retailer friendly message to independent bike and running stores around the country.
A former nationally ranked competitive runner, Judy now walks and golfs for fitness. Judy also loves spending time with her grandchildren (plus one great grandchild), although her dog Cooper runs the house.
With an artist’s eye, Gwen manages our production floor and heads our pattern making team as our Pattern and Design consultant.
An interest in fiber, textiles, and crafts led Gwen to pursue a degree in the highly specialized field of textile crafts at the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, England. After completing her degree, Gwen returned home and worked in the retail industry for several years before joining BackAtcha Apparel as an invaluable member of our design team.
Gwen believes “Not all who wander are lost” and values the time she spends discovering new things through travel and her art.
Every company needs its glue; the person who does whatever’s needed, knows where finds things, and anticipates our needs before we do. As our esteemed Customer Service Specialist and office manger, Helen is our schoolroom paste, and the one who will ensure that your experience with illumiNITE is nothing short of spectacular. A long time employee of Accurate Services, Helen started in the cutting room bundling and steadily worked her way to the front office. Born in St. Michael’s, Portugal, she immigrated at a very early age to Fall River, where she lives today.