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new york fashion study College of Design

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Flower Power: M&S Schmalberg

Upon entering M&S Schmalberg, we were greeted by Adam, the company’s fourth generation. He proceeded to tell us the company has been in place for over one hundred years.  At first glance, one may think this is nothing more than a boutique version of a Michaels, but we soon came to realize it was far from that. The store has clients such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang who come in on a regular basis to get custom made flowers for their designs. You may have seen their designs worn by celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Vera Wang.  Adam also has casual drop in customers such as students just like us, or maybe tourists traveling from out of town looking for a souvenir. He described how to be financially savvy, they have to price differentiate between customers. A flower to a person traveling from out of town may be worth $25, where as to a native New Yorker it may only be worth $5. There is a little give and take involved. Despite his wide range of customers, Adam also explained the importance of social media and their website. This is a crucial aspect in getting the word out about the business.  In addition, people can come in with a specific fabric and ask them to make it into a type of flower. For example, people have brought in an old Burberry scarf they no longer wear, and asked them to make “Burberry petals”.

Our experience consisted of watching three women sewing different colored petals together to make a multi-color flower. We also observed some of the machines used to make the shape of the petals. Before we left one of Adams colleagues handed us each a small flower to take home.

If you ever have the chance to visit, perhaps go in with an idea in mind for some creation you could incorporate one of their flowers into.  Think outside the box; there are so many different looks that these flowers can enhance!

-Ellen & Bailey

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