Friday, July 26, 2013

Why a Speakeasy tour is good for you...

Note: My aging eyes are telling me to write a little bigger. Saving things for later because my eyes are tired, is slowly becoming a bit of a habit.  Anyone else experiencing this?  Oh, and yes, I now have my first pair of reading glasses.  A "light prescription" I was told.  (I suspect it's all downhill from here.) Now, if I could only remember to put them on, that would be great...  Actually, where are they????

But I digress...

Years ago, probably about a decade ago now that I think about it (tapping my forehead in amazement!), I read a great book entitled, "The Art of What Works". There is no Kindle copy available, and there are only a few new copies on Amazon.  It is also out-of-print now.  But I bring this subject up to say that the greatest point this book made is that there is "nothing new under the sun", and that successful ideas come from combining ideas that have worked in different combinations to create a new presentation of what are, basically, recycled ideas.  I am particularly jazzed by that concept, and stirs my creative soul.

Every beautiful thing I find in the fabric stores inspires another idea, another thought, or triggers a memory. The stores and services you find there are exponentially more fascinating because of what they do in combination with each other.  I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement over a fabric I saw at Elliott Berman last week, and I know a fabric I need to buy awaits me at NY Elegant to complete the look.

Because of the beautiful things textile and notions designers have created, and the special skills and machinery many garment district businesses provide, we can use it all as a creative springboard, making new and exciting combinations using this wealth of resources in one special geographic area.

Here's how this applies to the Garment District Speakeasy tours I run. Using only our feet as transportation, the tour is an adventure, an inspiration, and an educational trip to places you wouldn't otherwise know to explore. I have learned that, for me, it is truly not enough to assemble a group of people who love to sew, and lead them in and out of stores.  Much like an art exhibit, to really achieve its goal, the trip has to be a curated journey through stores that work well in combination with each other.  

For example, you may not think you want to sew a coat.  Maybe you've never tried. But a flame may be lit if you see a divine waterproof cashmere (not a myth, there is actually a beautiful camel-colored waterproof cashmere at  B&J Fabrics), and, with the help of the buttonhole makers at Jonathan, or the twist-lock closures at Star Snaps, and the fantastic leather trims at Leather Suede Skins, you've got yourself an amazing garment plan. Suddenly, an idea starts to really take shape (and perhaps haunt your dreams until it is made!).  

Can you find these places on your own?  With much searching, I'm sure you can find these and many more.  There are, after all, approximately 450 garment and sewing related businesses in the district, capable of all sorts of things. If you read this blog, you can find anything that has been recommended here.  If you can avoid visual stimulation overload and garment district creative paralysis, you're good!

But... if you come on a Speakeasy Tour, you get a curated selection of stores, a group of other excited people, personal attention and fabric consultation, lunch, and all the creative fuel you can stand.  Armed with your Speakeasy Map and your own curiousity, you may continue the journey after lunch on your own.

Come along on a Speakeasy, and find out for yourself!

The day schedule for each trip is the same:

10AM - 1PM - 

Shopping (Will include a specifically selected set of stores with a wide variety of offerings suitable for many different purposes/types of garments, appropriate for the theme of the day's tour. Relevant additional information, suggested additional resources and appropriate on-site expertise will be available.)


Lunch (included in your fee)

2PM - until end of business day

Armed with your "Secret Map" and your own interest in or desire to visit the many other stores you see or have learned about, you may visit more garment district stores if you wish, and give unique codes (that you'll get from me) to vendors who will give special assistance/discounts.

The cost of these guided, efficient tours is $75 per person, or $90 per person for "Hard Stuff" and "Notions" tours, due to additional professional help and education. If you use this trip to shop and participate in what the NYC garment district has to offer, you will save at least as much as you are paying in supplies and education, and probably far more.

Wanna come? Click below the date you wish to attend, send payment, and the details on meeting time/place will be provided.

From outta town? If you need hotel and/or travel help, I will advise some of the BEST NYC secrets I know! Payment is only accepted via PayPal (you do not need a Paypal account), credit or debit card. No cash, personal checks, or additional payments will be accepted on the day of the tour. The trip will involve a good amount of walking, so come prepared in weather-appropriate gear, and healthy.

Regarding cancellations:
If you have paid and wish to cancel 7 days or more before date - 100% refund
Fewer than 7 days - 50% refund
If you don't come on the scheduled date or cancel within 24 hours or less - you will forfeit your refund, but can switch reservation to a future tour date.
If I cancel a tour for reasons not related to weather, newsworthy acts of God or other emergencies, you are entitled to your choice of a full refund, or a future tour.


  1. Mimi really knows the current Garment District inventory and all the stores have to offer! I highly recommend spending the day with her on any of her tours. :)

    And welcome to the Mature Eyes Club. But I have to take glasses OFF to sew or see anything up close, not put them on. Fun keeping track of them if they get more than 8" away from me. I refuse to become the woman with the glasses on a chain around her least for now...

  2. I am one of those "chain" women. I got one because I could never remember to put them on. That was probably about two weeks ago. Haven't seen them since, by the way!

    1. There's no hope for me then. Best way I can locate mine is to watch for where the cats are sniffing around. They love to chew on the temples of my glasses,if they can find them! Try explaining to the optician why your glasses are all chewed......

  3. Thanks for posting. I usually read all of your posts on my iphone while commuting and noticed that my comments never appear. I signed into a computer because I wanted to let you know that I enjoy your posts.

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate that! I often reply to comments on my iPhone. (Like now) I'm so glad you tried another route!


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