Why Starting And Running A Business In NYC Has Been The Key To My Success
I’m a New Yorker first, an entrepreneur second, and a merchant third. I blame two main things for my success: Location and timing. There’s only one city in the world that can provide both en masse for a new entrepreneur, and that is New York City.
New York has been a hot spot for entrepreneurial success since it’s early days.
As a host of so many businesses ranging from the garment business to banking, marketing, and media, New York seems to have been a hub even more superior to Silicon Valley in creating Internet and technology sector growth.
But even more than that, at its core, New York is a melting pot of industries coexisting and intermingling with a lot of cross-pollination. This physical melting pot allows for young entrepreneurs a front row ticket to how businesses both get started and become a success.
New York has no shortage of opportunities to create meaningful connections, find unique and inspiring talent, and expand your business through these relationships. You can often experiment with entirely new and different ventures without even leaving the comfort of your neighborhood.
New York is always buzzing, and there is an abundance of people and inspiration on every corner. A simple walk around the block can completely transform your entire business proposal based on the people you interact with and the people you meet.
The Merchant Mentality of New York’s History
Since it’s earliest days, New York has been a trading town full of ethnically diverse merchants who are settling here as their home many for the first time.
New York is made of entrepreneurs searching for the American Dream.
New Yorkers are hungry for success, thirsty for the opportunity, and willing to do whatever it takes to use both to their advantage.
As a merchant, I recognize the vibrancy that New York alone has beyond any other city in the United States. New York is a hub of activity for so many industries and is a source of inspiration, ideas, and evidence that something or someone can be a success.
As Frank Sinatra famously said, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”
Humble New York Beginnings for Jump Design Group
My clothing manufacturer, Jump Design Group, started from an idea and a business plan. I had two advantages: A family history of running dressmaking shops. And a keen sense for a business that other people my age weren’t taking advantage of.
I wrote up a proposal with my wife, and we were able to parlay that into a small investment. That one-time investment attracted the likes of Montgomery Ward to the tune of a multi-million dollar years long contract to stock their shelves with my designs.
I had made it here. And the momentum of that initial success has fueled every single other interaction I’ve had since then.
Today Jump is one of the most successful middle market clothing production facilities with distribution worldwide.
And this is all in part, to the opportunity and availability of opportunity in New York.
In New York, Everyone Has a Chance to Shine
For me, New York embraces the American Dream in a particular way.
As the CEO of Jump Design Group, I come from a storied past of fashion designers. My father owned and operating a dress shop for decades. My mother continues to run one of the most successful dress shops today on Long Island called Estelle’s Dressy Dresses.
While not every entrepreneur has this kind of past, or access, or even has a mentor or someone to set as an example. In New York, it’s still possible for nearly anyone to find a name for themselves in this industry if they work hard, if they dedicate themselves, and if they are willing to invest the time and money and risk that it takes to get to the next level.
Because I was born and raised in New York, I have seen the impact that this city has on young talent.
Opportunity is only limited by financial pressures and really when you’re starting you don’t need to pay expensive rent or hire a PR team. Instead, you need to focus on your product and create prolifically and get it in the hands of the right people which is a uniquely American experience.
The Difference Between New York and Paris for Young Fashion Designers
On the other hand in an equally famous fashion-centric city such as Paris, while certainly cosmopolitan, the experience of starting a successful design business can be far more limiting.
Paris has a deep-rooted history in the fashion industry and as a result, breaking “in” can be harder. The French mentality of rewarding up and comers can be hit or miss.
For outsiders to the fashion industry trying to break in in Paris, it can feel a bit like being in the cool club. You either are, or you aren’t “in,” and attaining that status can be both difficult and elusive.
Parisian fashion is as much about who you know as what you know (which is very similar in New York) but the one thing New Yorkers have has is that we tend to embrace the new entrepreneur.
New Yorkers love a really good underdog story, and long to get in first on the next “big thing,” while Parisians tend to resist it.
Meeting and Wooing Investors In NYC is Easier than Almost Anywhere Else
To be a successful fashion designer, you cannot rely on talent alone. You need to have financial backing and investors to help you launch your designs and establish a baseline of product.
New York has some of the wealthiest investors per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Meeting these potential investors, face to face can be as easy as making a call and scheduling a meeting. It can also be as difficult as requiring a personal connection to get you that face time.
But regardless, if you’re starting a clothing line face time is essential.
Emails and phone calls can only go so far.
For the elite high dollar investors, they often need (and want) to meet a person in the flesh to assess them and make sure it’s a right fit and see the product.
They’ll want to hold it, feel it, see what the fabric is like and examine the stitches. They’ll want to see it modeled in some cases.
While possible in other parts of the world, this exclusive access is far more limited. You save time and impress your potential backers by being in the same city.
For some investors, it can show that you’re serious about your craft and your dreams for your product. You also can create a public relations experience (particularly with social media) and become published in Vogue and the new york times, creating the kind of buzz that you need in a volatile market that is always looking for the next big thing.
The Incredible Options for Building Technology Infrastructure
There aren’t many places in the world that offer the number of technology opportunities as there are in New York City.
The rise of the co-worker space is one of the most excellent additions to the entrepreneur network that can allow for entrepreneurial designers to find and collaborate with teams of people in a symbiotic relationship.
You need an active support group as an entrepreneur, and when you’re able to tap into these systems and this type of infrastructure early on, you’re bound to find an incredible amount of inspiration, support, and ultimately: success!
While being in New York can set you apart from the competition, it’s also a lot easier to do it because of advancements in technology and infrastructure.
At Jump, we utilize the best in technology to manage our product, track our sales, and coordinate shipments. This technology is essential to our success.
The Endless Opportunity to Discover New Opportunities
New York has a reputation for being filled with no-nonsense, fast-talking, get-to-the-point kind of business people. While there is no shortage of straight shooting, it’s mostly done with a nod toward friendly business competition.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of opportunity in New York for young entrepreneurs to learn, pull from. You can build a team from multicultural workforces to finding appropriate financing options, to creating time-saving research and development systems, and even being able to acquire any work permits all from the convenience of your laptop and cell phone.
The easier you’re able to perform the logistics of running your business, the more time you have to do what you want to do: create.
New York consistently provides these opportunities to streamline the entire process.
The Elegant Efficiency of the New York Networking Scene
New Yorkers love a good cocktail party probably more than anyone else. It’s a chance to see and be seen.
Perhaps even more than the availability of opportunity in New York is the availability to network. For young entrepreneurs meeting a variety of people in your industry can be a crucial component to your success.
Finding appropriate Meetups, securing a connected mentor, and meeting other professionals in your industry is just one cocktail hour away.
By putting yourself out there at industry targeted events, you can create relationships with people and individuals within your industry that can help set you apart from your competition and give you a leg up based on your relationships.
Being a Small Fish in a Multi-Merchant Pond
When you think of other industries full of entrepreneurs, such as the tech industry, or disruptive financial technologies, a lot of them tend to be location specific.
New York is inherently social, and people in the same field don’t dominate our social circles. So for example, someone living in San Fransisco for example, might know and work with a lot of people in a tech field.
In New York, you go to your kids’ softball game and the parents there are all working in different industries. When this happens, I’m often the only one who works in the fashion and merchandising industry which makes you a big fish in a well-networked pond.
As the only fashion designer in a social group, you’re the go-to for someone looking to connect a service or another business or industry.
This also helps you break out of the echo chamber that is the fashion industry — to meet with real people who are real consumers in the real world.
When you can talk to the people who aren’t just going to blow smoke, and instead give you a real opinion, it can be eye-opening.
In New York, you’re only as good as your last design, and this couldn’t be truer than amongst a group of people who otherwise know nothing about the industry that you’re working so hard to build a presence in.
New York: Home Of Some of the Most Early Adopters
New York tends to be on the cutting edge of everything from technology to design to trends in business and fashion.
As home to a population of early adopters who are active on social media and unashamed to share their not-so-humble opinion, New York is a fantastic city to product test without spending a dime.
What is going to be a hit or a giant miss, can be quickly and easily assessed in a matter of weeks on physical shelves in the stores of your ideal customers.
At Jump, we pride ourselves on being able to turn around a design in about three weeks. Because of this, we can save time and money by testing a new design, and if it seems to be connecting with our customers, then we order much more to get it on the shelves (and sometimes in several different colors).
This is one of the unique things about New York. You can test your product and have nearly instant gratification.
Glenn Schlossberg: Made In New York
As a young designer, there’s no way I would have been able to have the kind of prolific success I’ve been able to muster without being in New York City.