Brooklyn is the borough historically known to lead manufacturing and innovation. From the Brooklyn Bridge to Industry City, Brooklynites enjoy a buzzing community of builders.
Brooklyn’s Industrial Community
Some may say the earliest innovative, iconic structure was in 1883 with the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. Designed by the father and son duo, John and Washington Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars). Now more than 125 years old, this iconic feature of the New York City skyline has not only impacted the cultural and economic ties between the 2 boroughs, but also carries roughly 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians every day.
More recently, historical sites have been re-invented into spaces for leading tech, research and entrepreneurs. The Brooklyn Navy Yard was once one of the nation’s most storied naval shipbuilding facilities where America’s most famous fighting ships (USS Maine, USS Arizona, and USS Missouri) were launched. Today, the Yard continues to preserve its rich history, but also showcases the revolution in jobs and industry happening in NYC right now at BLDG 92. BLDG 92 is committed to “nurturing the talents of the future Yard innovators and entrepreneurs” by allowing visitors to discover and support new “products of tomorrow” on display there.
Similarly, Industry City has transformed from the historic intermodal shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing complex previously known as the Bush Terminal. Today the waterfront Sunset Park property is a 6.5 million square foot modernized complex that preserves the industrial heritage as well as supports the future generations of artisans, craftsmen, and small businesses.
Apparel manufacturers have also contributed to the success and development of entrepreneurship and innovation in Brooklyn.
Dynotex started in 1999 with less than 10 people and serving just one customer. Today, their facility encompasses 12,00 sq ft with a full CAD/CAM system from Lectra and over 30 people on staff. Owner, Alan Ng explains that Dynotex specialization evolves as the market changes: “Currently we are mostly serving private labels and startups selling on the internet. Activewear like yoga, tennis, golf, running etc is one major category we manufacture today. Streetwear like tee shirts, hoodies, and jeans and flannel shirts is another group that we produce frequently. Fashion for ladies and mens makes up most of the remaining business.”
Alan encourages all entrepreneurs if manufacturing in the USA makes sense for their product business:”NY has the highest concentration of skilled operators for the garment industry. Also many fabrics and trimming supplies have sales office here, making it easier for the designer.”
Blank Canvas founder, Anna McCraney, has been designing clothes for 20 years and you might have seen her win a fashion design competition on Bravo in 2009. Her experience also includes starting a clothing line for Dolce Vita, running her line Annabelle, and doing freelance design and development. She started Blank Canvas with the goal of helping all businesses, no matter small or large, to realize their vision through expert product development.
From children’s to petwear, Anna encourages entrepreneurs to make in NYC: “All the resources our clients need are at our fingertips, and we make the process seamless and easy for our clients that can’t be here everyday. NYC’s garment district has informed American manufacturing for centuries, and it is a port to the resources of the rest of the world. Those of us who have worked in the industry for years understand the ins and outs and can be a helpful touchstone for people looking to break into the business.”
Formerly known as MCM Enterprise, J. Kim NY Corp was first opened as a family business in 1981 as a private label sewing contractor. Since then, the business has transitioned to a cut&sew agent in 1989, overseas in the early 90s, and even became its own label in 1997. Now, J. Kim NY Corp is a Brooklyn-based full service manufacturer working for fashion professionals with specialty in knit and woven, cut and sew products. With all their experiences they are a more rounded manufacturer doe small and medium size businesses looking for success in the fashion industry.
Operating Manager Chung shares the differentiating factor to excelling: “A successful fashion business requires hard work, and it takes long time to build. Fashion business is not a retail business. Fashion is a marketing business. The products are not the end, but the beginning. Not until new designer understand this basic concept, they will often have a hard time make it in the fashion world.”
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