Last week I had the pleasure of touring the M&S Schmalberg Custom Fabric Flower Factory in New York's Garment District. It was a unique experience and I have some great photos to share with you below!
I went to New York to host this special Apparel Designers Network event. Adam Brand, whose family has owned and operated the factory for over 100 years, gave us the grand tour which included a chance to look through their stock of thousands upon thousands of artificial flowers, and see the factory's process from start to finish. Adam was even gracious enough to allow the ADN to have some time to network in their showroom surrounded by their gorgeous flowers!
We started a tour with an intro by Adam discussing how the factory was begun when there were several other facilities just like his in the Garment District. His family's factory, however, is the last one in operation in the country, so this was truly a unique experience we all got to share! As more and more manufacturers moved off-shore, Schmalberg's competitors closed shop along with many other factories and industries supplying product to the fashion industry. The competition from overseas suppliers has been fierce, but the fact that Schmalberg stays in business is due to their top notch customer service.
Adam greeted us in his showroom and told us a bit about the history of M&S Schmalberg before giving us the grand tour of his family's factory
Some of the reasons that designers such as Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, Vera Wang, and Zimmermann choose Schmalberg over the competition are: their ability to create custom molds for special projects, their extensive library of product, and their personal service. They regularly have design teams from these houses come in to work hands-on with Schmalberg's product so they can make the best creative decisions for their collections. Another hallmark of their customer service is their willingness to collaborate with individual clients on creative projects, even personal ones. Adam told us several stories about creative ways customers have used their services. One of the most touching was a client who had her grandmother's favorite dress made into a bouquet that she could carry on her wedding day!
During the factory tour, we got a glimpse of the process and Adam explained in-depth how they take various materials from a flat fabric to a molded and layered floral creation. Click here to see a couple of short videos of this fascinating process!
Below are some photos of the process from machinery to the skilled workers in the factory.
The visit to the flower factory was a marvelous experience. All the ADN members said that they were so happy to have participated and left feeling so inspired. If you have any projects that would call for their services, don't hesitate to reach out to Adam at Schmaleberg's Custom Flower Factory!
Don't miss future events like this - make sure to sign up for the ADN!
Below are some photos of the beautiful flowers in stock at Schmalberg:
all images are by Polychrome