It seems every week stories pop up about Brooklynites and New Yorkers migrating up to the scenic Hudson
Valley, seeking the affordable real estate, charming architecture and the outdoor beauty the region offers.
As they do so, they bring their skills, talents, and dreams with them.
goods and accessories shops opening up in the trendy neighborhoods of Beacon, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz,
Newburgh, Kingston, and of course Hudson, N.Y.
The area is also a seeing lot of startup activity with textile and fashion businesses, notably Lucky Bug,
These startups are producing childrenswear, activewear, and home goods and putting down manufacturing
and business roots in cities like Newburgh, N.Y.
In earlier days, these startups and small-business, fashion design and manufacturing companies might have
headed to New York City’s Garment District.
Now, hotels and businesses compete for available space in the Garment District (New York’s west
side between 35th and 40th street flanked by Broadway and Ninth Avenue) causing rents to skyrocket.
This just adds to the woes of an economic sector already under pressure, as the Garment District has witnessed an 85%
decline in businesses in the last 30 years.
While elite fashion ateliers like Carolina Herrera remain, and Fashion Week is still a huge draw to Manhattan, a fashion
manufacturing production exodus began years ago as jobs were sent offshore to Asia, where manufacturing was and
remains far cheaper.
The decline has spelled a multi-decades long disaster, inspiring New York City in early summer of 2018 to launch an
economic development campaign with the goal of retaining the fashion design, production, and manufacturing
industry in Manhattan.
Startups and small-scale fashion designers, unless they are incredibly tenacious, lucky and well-funded,
will not survive, let alone get a toe-hold into that world.
So how are the startups who have chosen the Hudson Valley doing it? These fashion designers, textile
designers, and entrepreneurs?
Well, two economic development agencies, The Orange County Accelerator, powered by the I.D.A., and T-SEC, help play
a leadership role.
T-SEC and The Accelerator have a partnership going back over a decade. When the leadership at both
recognize an economic cluster (such as fashion manufacturing and production) is taking root in the Hudson Valley, they
make every effort to nurture that economic cluster.
This nurturing is a part of their workforce development-based mission.
manufacturing-based businesses in the Hudson Valley region and T-SEC supports its endeavors as a funding
The need for a Fashion Incubator in the Hudson Valley
Even fashion entrepreneurs who don’t try to start in the Garment District know, soon discover, it is expensive
to rent space, buy equipment and access the commercial technology necessary for success in the
extraordinarily competitive world of fashion.
As word about the Accelerator and what it offers grows and reaches fashion entrepreneurs in the Hudson
Valley (and elsewhere) it is enticing these makers and designers to reach out and inquire about a potential partnership
with the Accelerator.
If vetted and approved as a partner client of The Accelerator, partner clients receive support in the form of
services, business training, mentoring, workspace and, importantly, access to the hi-tech equipment which T-
SEC has purchased and has located at The Accelerator’s Fashion Incubator sites.
Read about the Accelerator’s business model which features SMARTT PODs.
Accelerator sites in Middletown, at Touro College, New Windsor, near Stewart Airport, and now Newburgh,
N.Y., at both 605 and 603 Broadway, cater across a range of businesses from medical software and device
specialists, industrial-grade technology, artisan food manufacturing, to textile, fashion, and accessories-
based business startups.
This Fashion Incubator features the latest technology: Tukatech
In the case of the fashion and accessories businesses, The Accelerator and T-SEC learned that access to a
high-end, CAD-based pattern making technology product known as Tukatech would be invaluable for use by
fashion startups so as to quickly create and refine prototypes for production.
Lisa Anderson, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and a trained Tukatech pattern maker,
offers pattern making services through The Accelerator not only to Accelerator clients but also to designers
and producers who need the service and are NOT in the Accelerator program.
According to Tukatech’s website, “Tukatech is an innovative apparel pattern design software that is perfect for
manufacturers and designers of any size. Operating under Microsoft Windows, TUKAcad allows the user to
accurately build patterns, grade rules and markers for single styles or entire lines. It is the advanced pattern
making, grading and marker making system that will streamline your production process and reduce
operating expenses. Built-in audio/video help, loads of TUKAtips and the option to buy or sign up for
a monthly subscription are just some of the advantages of this award-winning pattern making software.
Purchase of TUKAcad pattern design software comes with free unlimited training and even free re-training of
newemployees should customers undergo a turn-over in their workforce.”
Tukatech uses advances in digital technology to modernize the process of taking a garment design and
turning it into a prototype of a product ready for production and, then, for the market.
In the past year, Lisa has worked with Lucky Bug, to prototype adorable baby clothing designs that use the cleverly
designed textiles that Lucky Bug uses, which often have cartoon styled bugs and vegetables. The baby clothes were then
sewn by seamstresses trained by the Accelerator on Juki industrial sewing machines purchased by T-SEC.
Another Accelerator client Lisa has worked with and continues to work with is Jim Melville, owner of Melo bags. Melo
Bags are very popular in Japan, where Melo is distributed under their own name as well as a private label. The bags
offered are clever stylish tote bags, backpacks, and zippered bags often crafted with a camo-design fabric. Melville sells
thousands of them to the Japanese market which loves all things American.
Melville also has government contracts and designs bags used even on Air Force One!
Lisa helps Melville design some of his products prototyping with Tukatech and in turn, Jim Melville has a team of
talented seamstresses in New Windsor turning the prototypes into small production runs under the watchful eye of
Matilde Palme Crespo, whom Melville has personally trained to be his production manager.
A recent visit to the New Windsor incubator space found a group of busy men and women at sewing machines while Jim
and Lisa worked on a new design as Matilde looked on.
Jim and his team are busier than ever as T-SECs equipment is enabling them to increase their output, demand for their
product is growing, and the Accelerator space is perfect for leveraging up for increased production.
According to A River of Opportunities, T-SECs attraction campaign for the city of Newburgh N.Y., Zielwear was founded
by ”CEO, Marlene Vogelaar. She (sic) presented to the Board of the Orange County I.D.A., the Accelerator’s funding
partner, on Thursday, June 14th. (The Accelerator is a partnership between Orange County Government and the Orange
County Industrial Development Agency in order to grow business in Orange County).
In her presentation, Vogelaar zeroed in on Ziel’s value proposition:
- the ability to produce fitness apparel with speed
- increased flexibility
- in small batches
- smaller inventories
- locally sourced materials
- made in the USA
Vogelaar knows the importance digital media play (especially social channels) when vying for applause from millennials.
She is targeting health industry influencers and health-based business owners who must be on or ahead of trend, and
also sensitive to millennial social concerns.”
Vogelaar has since inked a relationship with The Accelerator. Its new Newburgh location (at 605 Broadway) is where her
company Zielwear is making its new home.
Lisa Anderson is training local workers to be a part of Vogelaar’s Newburgh staff (Vogelaar has also brought some of her
more seasoned sewers along with her) and then by November 2018, they will begin production in earnest at this Hudson
Valley Fashion Incubator.
Vogelaar will also use T-SECS Tukatech software and equipment.
The Orange County Accelerator, powered by the IDA’s COO, Laurie Villasuso, sees strong fashion production job growth ahead for Newburgh
According to the Midhudson Times, “IDA Chief Operating Officer Laurie Villasuso said Ziel will start with five employees
with the three-year-old company having growth plans in the region. ‘For here their estimate is at the end of 2019 they
will have 50 employees in Newburgh,” Villasuso said. “That’s an estimate, but the way things are going and the way the
owner of the company has managed to work with a lot of new exciting opportunities, that number could be even bigger.’”
The 605 Broadway location was a former coat factory that manufactured coats in Newburgh as recently as the mid-