After having run a multi-million dollar mid-level market fashion business for nearly 30 years, Glenn Schlossberg of Jump Design Group had one problem: An outdated technology and green bar system to track inventory, products, sales, and overhead.
Although Jump Design Group had successfully sold hundreds of thousands of garments to women around the world, and even though Schlossberg consistently was able to reinvent both his brand and inventory, he needed help maximizing his products.
Humble Beginnings Created Humble Systems
Glenn Schlossberg is the CEO and brains behind Jump Design Group, having built the company from the ground up in the early days of casual womenswear. His first client was the unfortunately since-closed, Montgomery Ward who he credits with giving him his first big break in the fashion business.
“When I sold a multi-million dollar order to Montgomery Ward, that’s when I knew I made it,” said Schlossberg.
Glenn Schlossberg began his work in fashion designing prom dresses. “I hit a plateau, and I saw a need, and I decided we should fill that need, so we started designing in misses, then plus sizes. Every time I hit a plateau in my business, I’d focus on what women wanted next. That’s what’s kept me successful for all these years,” said Schlossberg from his Manhattan warehouse deep in the fashion district.
“But all the while, we’d use simples PLM systems that wouldn’t necessarily work together in any way. Looking back, I know now that we were creating a lot more work for everyone. I don’t think we knew the technology was available. We were so focused on the product,” continued Schlossberg.
“I didn’t go to college and had no formal training. I didn’t have the technology that young designers use today to make designs and track inventory. It’s a whole new world. But I do know that with the right dedication and the right amount of hard work and ultimately choosing to hire the right people, you can make a business work. Which is why I ended up working with Peter Gabbe.”
Updated Technology Comes to Jump Design Group
In 2011 Schlossberg brought on Peter Gabbe, who had served for 30 years as the Chief Operating Officer for Carole Hochman Design Group which, at the time was a $160 million multi-branded business. Gabbe took his expertise and translated it into how to serve Jump best. This technology would later help Jump to establish an excellent infrastructure making it one of the leading fashion designers in the industry.
“We were operating on a 30-year-old pic system, that tracked everything via reports. It’s basically an old AIS system. I realized after talking with Peter that it wasn’t giving me access to the tools and answers we needed quickly or efficiently,” said Schlossberg.
“We needed something that could provide continuity throughout every department being able to work off of one system. This way each brand could be doing essentially the same thing. We could ever design team or development team or production team talk to each other about the same issues they were dealing with even though they were on different trajectories for product and design,” Schlossberg continued.
To do this, he turned to some of the most cutting edge technology in the fashion industry to take his profit margins to new levels. The best of the best when it comes to an industry standard in operations and production and creating a reliable infrastructure.
Schlossberg and his team believe that this strong infrastructure is what may be attracting the likes of other companies such as the recently acquired Susana Monaco and Cathy Daniels lines.
One of the tools Gabbe used in his time at Carole Hochman was a program called NGC Software, which is one of the leading integrated multi-suite design software currently on the market.
NGC’s global enterprise suite (GES) builds in a best-of-breed solution for PLM, SCM, and ERP while completely integrating it.
What is a Global Enterprise Suite and Why Is it Good To Have One in the Fashion Industry?
Even middle market companies have the potential to establish a global reach; a fashion company that utilizes a tool or efficient technology can best manage the majority of the business input seamlessly.
“The first thing I do when I get into the office is to evaluate my NGC dashboard, and it shows me a ton of information,” says Schlossberg. “I like to see where my sales are year after year. And the profit margin, the inventory levels, the overhead. So I study my dashboard for the first 15/20 min every day, and it’s amazing how much time a system like this has saved us over the years. And also how much information it provides,” Schlossberg continued.
Schlossberg asserts that NES may not be for every company. They believe that it’s important to find a technology system that works for you, your brand, and your team.
Because Jump Design group has a production volume under 100 million and requires continuity across all the departments, utilizing a global suite design such as the NES streamlines the process of sharing information, this has allowed them to make each employee from the warehouse to the sales floor able to have the latest information at their fingertips.
Technology and Fast Fashion
Glen and the design team are busy working on several new concepts to their line up firmly placing them in the future of fast fashion.
“We’ve found this Italian company that produces a laser auto-cutter for fabric that simplifies our production. This machine can precisely cut the amount of fabric that three of our staff can in the same amount of time,” said Schlossberg.
“I’m one of the only apparel companies in North America with these laser cutting machines and it’s certain to change the face of the industry,” he continued. “This machine is able to cut out the redundancy of three employees. So for example, I used to have three employees giving me nine garments a day, and now I have one machine giving me 27 garments a day.”
“This auto-cutter maximizes how quickly we can turn it around,” he continued. “Because we’re saving time cutting fabric we can dedicate that staff to other projects and speed up our overall production.”
“Our goal is to have about 20 of these machines on our floor within the next few years,” said Schlossberg. “We’re expecting the business to grow by about 20% this year, And to accommodate the growth, we need to find ways to increase our efficiency.”
“ This is one of several ways that we’re looking at improving our productivity. I’m always trying to find the fastest way to get somewhere, and these machines have been an essential part of our fast fashion production.”
Auto-cutting fabric isn’t the only cutting edge technology that Jump Design Group has embraced.
Reversible Dresses, A Weekend Wardrobe, and The Thrill of Glow-in-the-Dark Garments
Glenn Schlossberg has always had a keen eye to be ahead of trends in the middle market womenswear fashion industry.
“I’m always looking around the corner at what’s next. Right now I’m paying attention to how technology and innovation changing and what’s going to come. How can I get ahead of it and predict what’s going to be the next big trend,” confesses Schlossberg. “I credit this intuition with the success of my business for all these years.”
“For example, personalized clothing concepts have become very trendy. We’re working on something we’re calling the ‘weekend wardrobe’ which consists of four pre-selected pieces sent directly to a customer,” Schlossberg explained.
“The goal is to make it easy to wear, easy to shop for and easy to love,” Schlossberg continued. “Many of our ideal customers are busy working women and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to get what they need to look and feel good without spending a ton of money, or hours at a shopping plaza.”
“The concept would be to personalize tastes, styles, and body types and offer a direct-to-buyer opportunity. For years, our clients have benefited from the convenience of shopping through home shopping networks and this is another way for them to keep things convenient and affordable. Our customers also benefit from being able to try things on in the comfort of their own homes,” he continued.
Weekend wardrobe boxes are one of many forthcoming projects for Jump Design Group but they’ve long been creating simple, elegant pieces that appeal to a budget-conscious audience.
“We’ve got several lines that have done reversible dresses,” said Schlossberg. “One side is a daytime dress and the other is for evening or parties or more festive attire.”
“The design team is always coming up with ways to help our clients feel and look amazing and also appeal to their budget. A reversible dress, in this two for one capacity, is a wonderful example of innovative design that we try to promote.”
“We’ve also experimented with some glow in the dark fabric for some of our dress designs,” said Schlossberg. “Something that could be fun to wear to a party, for example. I’ll try anything once, and see how it does. I’m innovative in this way. We learn what works when we try new ideas. Sometimes it’s a huge hit, sometimes it’s a big fail but either way, we learn and grow our business.”
“Of course for some of our activewear lines, we’ve incorporated technology-friendly elements such as cell phone pockets or strategically placed holes for earbud wires,” said Schlossberg. “The same goes for some of our casual women’s wear, in that we try to build cell phone pockets into skirts or dresses. We want to make wearing our garments as easy as it is comfortable.”
The Future of Fashion Is Live and in Living 3D
As a key innovator, recognizing and embracing cutting edge technological tools and systems is as important as the wardrobe they create.
“Because I recognize that the apparel industry is on the tip of changing in myriad ways, I try to stay ahead of it. We’ve been using a 3D imaging system that allows us to get a full picture of how a garment may lay, or look on different body types. It’s been immensely positive to our design process.”
“We haven’t gone down the 3D printer route, yet, because the technology isn’t quite where it needs to be for us to make an investment,” explained Schlossberg. “3D printing not quite affordable, or reliable enough for our production standards and it can take days for one machine to make one garment when we can turn around 300 in our facility.”
“Nevermind the fact that the materials required to print 3D are very stiff and unforgiving, which is not our brand. But it’s something we’re keeping a close eye on for the years to come.”
“When the technology improves we’ll definitely be among the first to utilize 3D printing for our garments,” Schlossberg explained. “Some of our designers even talked about the idea of offering designs for home printers but that’s a long way off.”
Keeping an eye on how technology can show up in fashion means the future has the potential to become even more futuristic.
How Does Technology Help Jump Design Group and The Fashion Industry?
A successful company within the fashion industry lives and dies on the cutting edge. Design and sales are the keys. Without a quality product that people want to buy, there are no sales. Without sales, there’s no profit and no growth. Even the best design software in the world cannot replace the creation of the product.
Unfortunately, for some reason, many fashion companies have been lagging when it comes to catching up to the importance of strategic engagement with technology. And admittedly Jump was one of these companies until Gabbe came on board and introduced them to this system.
“We’ve been lucky to get Peter’s expertise in this area, and it’s made a difference that is something we can see in our sales and our inventory,” said Schlossberg. Peter Gabbe has since moved on from Jump in 2018 to other pursuits.
Read more about Jump’s History in the fashion industry:
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