Mr. Warren Brand is the 3rd generation owner of M.& S.Schmalberg Inc. Custom Fabric Flowers located in NYC’s garment district. He describes himself as a man with ADD and his establishment is not only tolerant but requires these shifts of his attention. He clearly loves what he does. An offer to tour his factory was accepted eagerly and I was delighted by the extent of information and access I was given.
His son Adam explained the process.
- First some of the lightweight fabrics need to be stabilized with starch or a laminated backing.
- Then a die, (many 100 years old) is chosen and multiple layers of fabric are struck with a hydraulic press that cuts out the shapes.
- At this point the shapes may be dip dyed or ombre’d with hand finishing.
- The pieces are then embossed, 3 or 4 at a time under heat with another die to produce a 3 dimensional textured leaf or petal. They can then be further embellished with studs or rhinestones.
- They are then brought to the assembly table where they are strung together in sequence over the stem to create the final product. The possibilities are endless.
As I was leaving Mr. Brand offered an assistant picking up an order for a large design house to choose a flower from a small box on his desk. This gesture, I’m inclined to believe is just one of many that are expressed by a person who understands and is grateful for a life full of flowers.