Thursday, October 28, 2010
I recently was designing carrying bags for my product line. Outsourcing for a small business in small quantities is not viable, so we turned to domestic sources. This process was also getting us nowhere, so I decided to go local. If you want to understand the beauty of a manufacturing district, than go through the design development to production phase of a product where all your suppliers are within walking distance of each other. The ease and speed is astounding.
Within a span of two New York City blocks, I was able to procure fabric, hardware, sewing accessories, visit a sewing contractor and get pricing. If you have a pattern and materials, you can often even get a finished sample while you wait. If you are designing new products, this typically requires many revisions. Once you have gone through this process within the garment district, any other way becomes almost unthinkable.
The networking and referrals also greatly accelerate the sourcing process. Rather than hunt through the myriad of vendors for a particular piece of hardware, one supplier gave me the name and address of a specialty house one block away. A quick walk and I had exactly what I wanted.
The garment industry is really one of the last industries New York City has left where the entire supply chain is located in one area, from design to production of finished products. We've lost enough in New York City, and anyone with any history and familiarity with New York sees the danger in losing the garment and fashion industry. There is concern over this matter and efforts are being made to keep the industry in the city.
Step into one of those spartan, all stainless steel elevators in the west 30s. Step off and find your way down a dimly lit hallway to a sewing factory, buzzing with machines. This is not the New York City of movies, entertainment, architecture, glamour, glitz or fine dining.
This is New York at work. In Industry :)