Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NYC Notions/Fabric/Unique Service store: Botani Trimmings Inc.

Note: Botani Trimmings has been reviewed here in the past, but I am seeing this place in a new light after last week's visit.  Read on for why...

Botani Trimming, Inc.
263 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212) 244-3222
Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM

Ever feel like you're missing something?  I certainly felt like I was, when I heard the occasional chatter about Lampo zippers.  Quite pricey by comparison to your standard YKK and other garment district offerings, I believed that their appeal was that they are fancier, indulgent, and sleek-looking, almost like jewelry on a bag or garment, which explains the higher prices (be prepared to spend at least $13 or more for one, depending on the type).

But... no.  I was wrong. That's mot really it. And now I get it.  And realizing that now, there are garments I made in the past that I wish I could reach back to retrieve and improve with these fabulous zippers.

How did I come to this revelation?  On a whim, I walked into Botani Trimmings, Inc, which I never pass on my usual routes in the garment district, and asked the question I had been sorta embarrassed to ask. I mean, when someone says "Chanel" to you, you normally just shut up, assuming it is out of your league, right?  Note: Visit the site to see better pictures of the place and products than I am capable of.

The lovely salesperson who greeted me, enthusiastically ushered me over to a wall of zippers, inviting me to test and experience the smooth flow of the zippers, check the teeth, appreciate the weight and durability of the tape.  Yes, it is obvious.  These are quality zippers.  The pull is definitely there to stay.  The open end, closed end, and double slider zips and vast variety of tape colors can certainly satisfy your quality zipper needs.

While standing there in the store, my mind jumped to a client for whom I made a 60's style Steve McQueen-like racing jacket.  He wanted his original duplicated, which had been made in Italy, and was now just impossible to find.  One of the first things my client mentioned, was that the right zipper was key to the project.  I found a quality zipper, which he vetoed, so we used the one from his original jacket... but THESE zippers... oh THESE zippers, were clearly what he meant, had I known.

Original racing jacket, made in Italy

Original racing jacket, well-worn, but perfect.

Duplicate I made with modern materials.

So, who uses Lampo Zippers?

Referred to as the "Ferrari" of zippers, Lampo has been used by designers like Balenciaga, Chanel, Prada, and more.  High-end designer bags often use Lampo zippers.  Check the pull, and you may find the engraved "Lampo" name.

When would it make sense to use a Lampo zipper?  

When you expect the item to last a long  time, and you don't want to ever replace the zipper.
When it needs to be durable, and of quality.
When you want the quality of the zipper to match the quality of the materials used to make the item.
When you want to replace the zipper in an item that used this type/quality of zipper.

The company clearly has a long, rich history.  Enough so that you feel like you've attended a lecture after visiting their website. An odd little Fellini-esque video can be found on the Italian site, too, with some Italian poetry included... but really, you don't need a Rosetta Stone course to appreciate it.

Since their expansion, in addition to their fashion hardware (aptly named) selection, Botani has a leather department, and will now, not only provide the supplies, or even perform the repair on handbags, but they will actually create a custom handbag based on your design.  I can feel a collective push from you readers as you scream "Get outta here!", but no, I'm serious! The particularly elegant layout may feel a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, but you can totally go in and ask any silly question you want, and get treated with complete respect.

So, now you know.


  1. I almost expect Italian actress Isabella Rosselini to pipe in here about Lampo zippers. I've wanted to make a cool mod Jacket *much like your Steve McQueen recreation* and now I have a better idea how to do it! Thanks for the tip, Mimi.

    1. You are so very welcome! I like it when I feel like I can appreciate the quality of something, for the qualities it actually offers, beyond designer names, pricetags, and smoke and mirrors!

  2. So great to read about these zippers -- who knew? And great job on that racing jacket, so cool!

  3. Thanks for the report. I've walked thru Botani's amazing Lampo Land but haven't purchased yet. Now I'm on the lookout for a good waterproof zipper, so I wish I had researched that last time I was there.

    Love Botani & their staff for many reasons, especially their hardware! Best purse bling for blocks -- biggest selection of chain, purse feet, D-rings, and clasps. They even sell thread, if you need to make your own repairs.

    I'm still grooving on the older button side of the store, too. I always check what they have in their button grab bags -- a deal, a steal!

    Their new entrance on 37th is very convenient. In fact, I would encourage every District shopper to use it as a shortcut between 36th & 37th...although you'll get sidetracked inside, so it won't save any time (or money)! :D

    1. I don't think Botani would appreciate being uses as a shortcut, Quilt B! But yes, a great excuse to visit and browse if you need to get from 36th to 37th, don't ya think?

    2. Of course I meant "used" - I keep typing faster than I should.

    3. I double-dog dare anyone to use it as a shortcut and not stop to buy something! Or want to move in permanently. I wish my sewing room was as bright & well-stocked as their store. It's a pleasure to shop there.

  4. Yes, absolutely, to all of this! I bought Lampo zippers from Botani for my recent leather jacket and could not be happier with them. FYI - Botani will shorten the zips to whatever custom size you want for a small extra fee.

    1. Great to know, Clio! I deleted my earlier reply, since I was clearly delirious with hunger when I wrote it! Yes, knowing that they can be shortened for you right there in the store is great.


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