Trim Lab is a family run business, and has been prosperous from the start. The main inner workings of Trim Lab are based off of the zipper. They are based in the middle of the garment district, and work with over 320 companies. They have worked with big names in retail such as DVF, Liz Claiborne back when the company before she was huge. Trim Lab is the people you come to when your garment’s need zippers and other sorts of applications and closures. Even something as simple as a fish and eye hook is what they can provide. When a designer comes in, Trim Lab will work with them closely to look into and try out what their business concept is, and where they see their line going in the future. A big thing to factor for designers is that although the company tries to keep their minimums low, you still would be buying hundreds of zippers in each order. The financial side of things is also important to look at closely to make sure that designers won’t just break even after paying for the closure expenses, but also to have a profit in the end.
A little history about the zipper: It was Patented in 1914. Over the course of 100 years, the zipper virtually has not changed. I thought that this was super interesting because technology has advanced so many things in the apparel design world, and has even made some items obsolete. It was really amazing to hear that the zipper still holds its initial design.
Presenters were Dave and Robert: Both of the men were middle aged, and have seen a lot of success throughout their careers. Dave worked with AG Trim Source which was established back in 1897. Robert is the Director for marketing and media within the company, and was a YKK manager before. They explained that Trim Lab is a family business at this point because they are really the “last ones standing” when it comes to making zippers. Everything that YKK produces is produced ethically, and “everything is looked at under a microscope” to make sure it is the high quality standards that they stand for. This also is because the standardization rules are becoming more and more extensive every year. They also explained that Trim Lab is part of the Fashion Group International. The Fashion Group International, “FGI provides insights on major trends
in person, online and in print; access to business professionals and a
gateway to the influence fashion plays in the marketplace” (FGI Mission Statement).
Experience needed: Both men had special circumstances that got them to where they are today. Robert was born into the company, and Dave had done a research project on improving the zipper, which YKK liked and decided to take him on board. They now have been business partners for over 40 years. For college students, there is a mentorship program that can really open doors. This would grant you a position with a major player in the garment industry. Otherwise, a business and textile emphasis would be needed to succeed in this field. It was also interesting to hear that neither of them were very proficient in social media, and that their past intern really taught them a lot since social media is now a critical platform to use.
Advice: Use any excuse or holiday possible to throw a party. They usually have a few parties each year. These parties become a great networking tool for anyone involved. Whether it is the designer, another producer, a brand manager, or a public relations individual, it is always crucial to network.
An example of a success story for Trim Lab: Was for Flagpole swim which is now sold at Barney’s New York and Saks for about $400.00 a swimsuit. Two women teamed together to make this happen. Trim Lab helped them plan out their business plan and make it all happen. That is one of the best things about their job- is being able to see a client of theirs have success and happiness in the end. When working with a client they will initially give them samples for them to try out on their garments. Most of the zippers are made in China as they have the most proficient factories. They can customize zippers if needed. They also help each client with finding their own personal niche, and making sure their logo works with them. Trim Lab has even expanded into providing bra cups as well. But, they have found little success in this sector as most people cannot afford or do not need to purchase as many bra cups that are in their required minimum.
Why this is important in the fashion world: I feel like a lot of people do not contemplate the fact that just one place isn’t going to construct the entire garment for you, nor will they have every piece needed to finish it either. Trim Lab is relevant in fashion today because when looking in your closet, almost everything has a zipper or some sort of closure on it. Especially having the company being a leader in their division because they are one of the last successes standing, they have a name and a standard to uphold to all of the apparel design individuals and companies out there. A zipper is no longer just a zipper, it can be almost hidden, decorative, you name it, anything is possible when it comes to creativity and this company. Also just having everything done on time, and doing what they said they were going to by a certain date is also crucial in the production side of fashion. They mentioned that people will get very mad and annoyed when their order is not completed when it initially said it would have been. In fashion there are very strict guidelines, and if you miss one then you are out.