Monday, February 4, 2013

NYC Notion store review: Archer Zippers & Trim

Note: June 16, 2014 - While in the garment district today, I wanted to check in on Archer Zippers.  Guess what?  Gone.  Checked phone #, no answer.  Looked up website. Nothing.  Looks like they're gone.  If you know something different, let me know!

Sometimes, you simply have to actually look up in the garment district to find something great.  Walking along 39th street, headed elsewhere, I noticed very bold, basic signs in the 2nd floor windows of the building 244. The large yellow signs in the window indicate that you that you can get YKK zippers and labels there - wholesale or retail, but you just have to take a step of faith inside to discover this place.  If you've been following me a while now, you know I generally have no problem doing that, so I entered the lobby, and stepped right into the elevator.  An energetic man jumped in quickly after me, authoritatively asking "What floor?".  "Two!" I shout back, startled at his arrival.  He pushes the button quickly, and says, "I'd tell you to tell them I said hello, but they probably won't remember me. " I smile, not sure what to respond. "Good people in there."  Okay.  "I'll tell them that someone they probably won't remember says hello." I give a quick nod, and the elevator reaches the second floor.

I have no idea what he actually meant. After all, I've never been "there" or met "them". Completely unsolicited, but reassuring endorsement.

I arrive on the second floor and walk into the space.

If the world "amazeballs" is not in your garment district lexicon, it sure should be after visiting this place.  Not because it is such a visual delight; the setting is extremely industrial. But yes, you can buy retail!  One zipper or 1,000, you can get them there! "No frills" is probably the best way to describe the environment. The business cards convey that sentiment as well, don't they?

Organized and brightly lit, they have lots and lots of zippers, as you would expect.  Plenty of colors and sizes.  Sure.  They will also repair zippers, which is good to know.  Covered, sew-through, and rigilene boning, spiral steel boning, horsehair braid hem stiffening in a variety of widths, and all sorts of magical notions and things people who make things need. Lots and lots and lots of thread (on large spools), lots of pins of different types, great scissors, those cool bent U-shaped cleavage boning things I love, all sorts of bra cups and underwires, ready made labels, custom labels, and most wonderful of all... wait for it... lots of factory stuff, not readily available in retail stores for people who make occasional or custom garments. You can only get those kinds of things from places who buy excess inventory.

What kind of people shop in there?  Based on my visit, a quick, steady rush of busy, serious designer-types who have no time to waste and already know what they want.  I didn't get the impression that "browsers" would get much attention, but you can certainly call out for a staffer if you have questions.  They seem extremely busy in there, so don't expect a chat. While certainly polite and professional, they are all business.

They have a website, but a visit to the store quickly reveals that they have a whole lot more to offer than the website displays.  I can't say that I know what everything they have is used for, so I would suggest a visit to see for yourself, if you're in the area.  You'll be glad you went!

Wanna find more places like this?  Need a sherpa?  If you want to find fun places to shop in the garment district, sharing the creative energy of a group, come along on a Speakeasy tour!


  1. I would like to know where to go in NY to get some of the finest boucle'? I went years ago and can't remember anything. Many times I buy online from NY fabric manufacturers but I absolutely do not know where to go. Is there a shop or shops that have one of a kind boucles?

    1. For boucle, I suggest Rosen & Chadick, Fabrics and Fabrics, B&J and Mood. All of these are searchable on this blog for location details, hours and store contact info.

    2. If you aren't physically going to a store, Mood has a section dedicated to boucle on their site.
      Textile mills produce fabrics in large quantities, so a "one-of-a-kind" isn't really a particular sales strategy.

  2. Can you stand somewhere in that store & pick out your own zipper colors? Do they have tons of color choices? I'm usually in the market for #3 nylon YKK's when I'm in the city, quantity anywhere from 20 to 100. But I have to be able to pick out the colors myself, from my list or from sight. I don't want to have to rely on a clerk to pull boxes with colors I may or may not want. And I need a good price, with maybe a quantity discount if I'm lucky. Where I was getting zippers before changed their merchandising, and I'm not sure they'll be the best place for future purchases. So I need another affordable, user-friendly Midtown zipper source, without having to go down to the LES. Could it be Archer?

    I also need metal underwires, and the only place I stumbled across them (self-service) before was Pacific Trim. How are the pickings for those at Archer, do you know? (Pacific has the U-shaped wires, too, BTW.)

    As far as boucle, try Paron Fabrics and NY Elegant, too. But you'd probably have to have to contact them and have swatches sent before ordering, if not going there in person.

  3. Yes, you pick the zippers out yourself. Yes, prices are quite good! I usually get my underwires at Steinlauf & Stoler because they have the cup size measurement guide and letter system, so I can get all specific and picky there. They are sold in a few other stores in the district, too. Having said that, though, I do that because I have done a lot of work for considerably ample clients, with very specific requirements. Be sure to call Archer and ask how vast the selection is, so you know before you go or order.

  4. Thanks -- will check out Archer next trip. I've put them in my shopping notebook! Looks like they're above Swan Fabrics on 39th. I can spot that.

    I came home with the wrong size underwires last time. Another woman & I were standing in Pacific trying to figure out what sizes to get, without actually digging around in our clothes to check! I hope she guessed better than I did. :( I'll try S&S next time, too. I did make a tracing of the right size underwire & put it in my notebook, so I don't have to strip in the store! LOL

  5. They had a wonderful story today on the Garment District, on NPR.


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