Made in New York is nothing new to Geneva Goldsmith and it’s a vital part of the strategy for her new line, Lisa & Lucy.
Goldsmith, interviewed in the company’s showroom in the heart of the Garment District on West 39th Street, said she’s been using local manufacturing for 20 years in her private label company, Vanity Room. This includes facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, as manufacturing in New York dwindled and now is in the midst of a revival.
“I’ve always been able to find the right factories,” Goldsmith said. “What I’ve found is that a few larger companies have now moved their production back here, so it was really helpful that I had great relationships with the factories because some of the factories have kicked out the smaller guys. I’ve had the same sample room since the day I opened and many of the same contractors.”
The company founder noted that the sample room is just a block away on West 38th Street.
Goldsmith said when she started Vanity Room 20 years ago, it was a combination of being a new mother and having familiarity with local manufacturing that resulted in the sourcing strategy.
“The reality is that if you are going to make things overseas and you’re going to do it right, you have to go there,” she said. “For me, that was just off the table. I understood domestic production and I thought, stick with what you know. I like the fact that if there’s a problem, we can go fix it on the spot.”
She agreed with some people that one of the bigger challenges to Made in New York can be the ancillary aspects, such as finding trimmings suppliers.
“What you do is you work backwards,” said Goldsmith, while reviewing Lisa & Lucy’s line, now entering its second season for fall. “There are certain things you can’t do here, so you adapt. But there really hasn’t been anything that we haven’t been able to find.”
Goldsmith said she started Lisa & Lucy as a counter to Vanity Room and its private-label focus.
“It’s been great to us; however, it’s not consistent – you don’t have as much control,” she said. “I thought ‘what can I do that’s branded, where I have more control, something I could grow with my employees,’ a group of women who have been here a long time.”
She noted that when she was trying to come up with a name for the new line, everyone said she should make it personal.
“I said I don’t want to make it personal, since I was behind the scenes for so long,” Goldsmith said. “So I named it after my mom and my grandmother.”
Lisa & Lucy wholesales for $34 to $74, ranging from tops to day-to-evening dresses, with nothing retailing for more than $200.
Fabrics are sourced from all over the world and include woven jacquard prints, heavy knit suede, stretch gabardine, geometric laces and tissue chiffon.
Goldsmith said when she and designer Paola Aguado create the collection, “we make everything we want to wear, we don’t necessarily look at the trends. We look at fabrics and what we think we want to wear and go from there.”
For now, Lisa & Lucy has a boutique store clientele. In the future, the company would like to create capsule collections for individual larger stores, potentially highlighting that it’s Made in New York.