Thursday, February 12, 2015

Buying Ribbons in the Garment District: Mokuba on W. 38th

Address: 137 W. 38th Street, New York, NYC (between Broadway and Seventh)
Phone: 212-869-8900
Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; closed weekends
Online store: n/a
Best for: Luxury silk ribbons, cords and fine embellishment

Mokuba brings a bit of Japanese retail serenity to the Garment District.

This post was written in June 2011, but has since been heavily edited by me (Mimi), after talking to the staff in depth and developing an understanding of their products.

Offering a nearly endless supply of silk ribbons from Japan, Mokuba on W. 38th in New York City is your kind of place. The silk ribbons here are just stunning. The staff is excellent at pointing out Mokuba's similar options in more affordable prices, and there is a lot to see beyond the silk offerings. You'll find grosgrain, petersham, cording, twills, leather, velvets, and more here.

Bottom line: Worth checking out just to expand your knowledge of what high-end Japanese ribbons look like, and the staff is respectful, patient, and friendly. If you're looking for inexpensive ribbons on a budget, stick with So-Good Ribbons, Pacific Trimmings and Daytona Braids and Trims. (Note added by Mimi): You should also be aware you are comparing apples to oranges when it comes to buying inexpensive polyester ribbons elsewhere, and going for the high-end products this store offers.  Visit the store to learn more.

Just a small portion of all the stretch ribbon offerings you'll see here.

Beautiful pleated silk ribbons. You can feel the quality in these.


  1. I always thought using ribbon to embellish was kinda hokey until I discovered the world of high end ribbon and trim. It's like everything else... you get what you pay for.

  2. Thanks for the report. Did you notice if they carry silk embroidery ribbon?

    New York Sewer

  3. Aaak, just spent a week up there & I missed that store! I must have walked past it a dozen or more times. Oh well, I'll hit it next time. Is it ground floor? Was the front covered with scaffolding or something? I can't believe I missed it. But now I see that it's not on the print-out the "Big Button" kiosk gave me when I asked for an updated list of fabric, trim, button, & notion stores. I was going by that list & by the stores I was able to map myself before the trip.

    BTW, Hyman Hendler ribbon store is still at the other end of 38th. I picked up a nice French grosgrain for $11 a yard. I have to go in there every trip just to drool, if nothing else. For those not familiar with that end of the street (near 5th), that store is across the street from & very close to So-Good. So-Good has a $10 minimum, don't they?

    New York Sewer, don't hold me to this, but I think I saw silk embroidery ribbon at one of the bead stores on 6th. There are 3 or 4 in a row there in the little block between 38th & 39th. There's also Toho Shoji on 6th, just south of M&J Trim, and a brand new bead store on the west side of the street across from them, before you get to 38th. Silk embroidery ribbon wasn't an item on my shopping list, but seems to me that I saw the cards arranged in a basket at one or more of those places. Hope this helps.

  4. QuiltB, So-Good does not have a $10 minimum. I've bought less than $10 there before. The staff is also generous with swatches. Hyman Hendler has lovely ribbon but they do not swatch. Ever.

  5. Hmmm, I've seen the So-Good "$10 minimum" mentioned two places -- on the Fashion Center Kiosk's print-out, and in The Fashion's online Fashion Directory. (Same source?)

    When I went to So-Good last time, I didn't see prices. I got a "handful" of ribbons cut, and the total price I was then quoted was $10. So after I read about the minimum, it seemed to make sense. I've never tried buying just one ribbon there, or something that would clearly be under $10, to see what happens. They were shuttered when I walked by last week (went past in the late afternoon), so I didn't buy anything there this trip.

    I couldn't be satisfied with just a swatch from HH. If I see it, love it, and there are scissors near it, I'm getting a yard, to heck with the price. Which is why my credit card wouldn't have stood a chance in Mokuba. :)

  6. I was there last Fall & found the exact same beautiful ribbon I got from Japan decades ago. I almost bought stuff there despite the high prices. What puts me off was that nothing was labelled with the price. With so many choices (& not many chances to buy as I live in UK) I had to take time to work out what I want, how much I need, what I can afford. But the staff got a bit impatient & curt. I left empty handed. Yes quality is worth paying for. But not everyone has a blank check to spend.

  7. I will say that I think the bigger issue here is that Mokuba doesn't necessarily need the retail shopper's business, so they aren't particularly interested in customer service. It kinda hurts to say and know that, but looking at their global presence, this may simply be true. Having said that, though, they do have some fantastic ribbons - peerless, in fact!


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