Manhattan is the most densely populated borough of New York City. It is widely known as a cultural, financial, media, entertainment, and fashion capital.
The historic NYC Garment District is a neighborhood that takes up about a dozen blocks in Midtown Manhattan and is home to more than 400 clothing manufacturing businesses. It has been a staple for many emerging and prominent brands in fashion. We had the opportunity to sit down with 2 factories in the Garment District to hear about their experiences:
Handbag Manufacturer: Baikal, Inc.
When and why did your factory start? The factory started in 1981 making fabric handbags.
Has your factory gone through any major changes since you started? Yes, we went from being a making brand low end handbags to a high end luxury contract manufacturer for over 100 brands!
What is your specialty? Our specialty is high quality fabric and leather handbag and accessory samples and small production, as well as sourcing of unique items such as custom hardware, leather, lining, dust bags.
Do you work with beginners? Small businesses? Yes, we work with beginners and small businesses daily. You can come to us with an idea and we can help you make it real.
What makes your factory unique? Our factory is unique because we are very careful with the workers we hire to ensure top quality. We also pay a lot of attention to details and source many high quality components that other factories cannot.
What you like the most about being based in NYC? The convenience! Our clients can stop right in and go over designs, they can see the work being done, and many suppliers are right down the street from us.
Why should entrepreneurs make in NYC? If you find the right factory, made in NYC is convenient, has low minimums, low shipping costs, hands on, & high quality.
Fun fact! We started Rebecca Minkoff with her first bag and she worked exclusively in NYC in our factory for 7 years! Go made in USA.
Apparel Design Studio: LC Workshop
When and why did your factory start? LC workshop started in 2012. At that time I had a collection and a full time sample maker. When the collection work slowed down, and the daily pressure to keep my sample maker busy increased, I started to take outside projects. I am still working with those first clients to this day.
What is your specialty? I think we work well in all categories. Each member of our team has a different strength.
Do you work with beginners? Small businesses? We work with all. Some clients are beginners, some do custom work, and others have a small business. We also work with big brands as well. One of our clients is a large company that primarily produces overseas and they call on us when their factory can’t meet the deadline.
What makes your factory unique? Because I come from a design background, I think I can relate to the clients and can help interpret their needs better than someone who just comes from a production background.
What you like the most about being based in NYC? I love the NYC garment district. Everything is so conveniently located and you can find all that you need within a few block radius.
Why should entrepreneurs make in NYC? NYC is a great place to launch a collection. Minimums are flexible and the turnaround is fast. But mostly, I think it’s much easier to work with a manufacturer in NYC because we understand the needs of the US marketplace. I have manufactured outside the US, and I have sometimes found the cultural barriers can be tricky to work around.
Fun fact! I’m a retired professional lindy hop dancer.