M&J Trimming: Old Dogs Can Definitely Learn New Tricks

July 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

M&J Trimmings Project DIY

A suede tassel keychain, one of the first projects to launch on Project DIY.
Image Source: Courtesy Photo via WWD.com

Trimmings and notions – certainly not the sexiest aspect of the fashion business. You may not even be exactly sure what is meant by “trimmings and notions.”  So take a quick look at your jeans (or skirt or shirt).  Inspect the stitching (thread), the fasteners (buttons, snaps, zippers),  detailing (copper rivets, grommets). There you have it – trimmings and notions.

There are, of course, the more fanciful trimmings that tend to elicit sighs – rows upon rows of ribbons and lace, sequins and rhinestones – among a certain set; they are a crafter’s delight.  But, largely, these products, and their suppliers, are less “fashion business” and more “schmatta business,” less “cutting edge” and more “old school.”

Enter, M&J Trimming, the famous Fashion District family business that has been operating for the last 72 years.  As it often does, serendipity played a part at the outset; the grandfather of the current generation’s operators ran a linen shop, until a man in need of a $5-loan left a roll of lace on the counter as collateral. You can figure out what happened from there.  Today, the company has 170 employees, a 5,000-square-foot retail location on 6th Avenue in mid-town Manhattan, thriving wholesale and online businesses, and legions of artsy, creative New York fans.

Yesterday, this old dog announced a new trick: a subscription-based service called Project DIY, launching on August 5th.  “Created by the master crafters of M&J Trimming, Project DIY is a monthly subscription box that delivers runway and street inspired DIYs created from the highest quality materials and trimmings.” Love it.

Why?  Because in doing so, M&J is making a move into the 21st century.  They are jumping on two current consumer trends: the rise of e-commerce subscription services, whereby a box of goodies arrives on your doorstep each month; and the penchant today, especially among much-sought-after millenials, for DIY, do-it-yourself, crafty projects.  And they’re using Facebook to provide inspiration and build their audience.

Old and new, offline and online, established and emerging – success is always in the mix.


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