Glenn Schlossberg on Creating Rocket Designs

glenn-schlossberg

Glenn Schlossberg is the designer and CEO of Jump Design Group. Having been at the helm and behind the scenes of the popular brand names featured in major department stores ranging from Nordstroms to Macy’s and even Amazon. His lines include Tiana B, Bebe, Marina, and Onyx Nite. Schlossberg has a theory that he proves over and again: “Once a design idea plateaus, move on. Create something new and different. If you can’t reinvent your product or your line, then you can’t make it in this business.”

But if a design takes off like a rocket, or what Schlossberg has coined a “Rocket Design,” he says, “Do whatever you can to get that design in front of as many potential buyers as possible. That’s how to become successful in this industry.”

“I estimate that maybe 20% of the designs we make are rockets,” guesses Glenn Schlossberg. “And honestly we don’t know when we’re gonna make a Rocket. It’s a little bit of luck plus timing plus being in the right store at the right time. But when it does happen, boy is it fun.”

Glenn Schlossberg has been at the helm of his fashion company, Jump Design Group for nearly 30 years and with this level of experience comes a deep understanding of exactly how an industry operates and how to interpret and research what will sell.

“Our Rocket Dresses aren’t actual rocket designs or anything like that. It’s the term we give a dress when we think it has the potential to make a rocket amount of sales for our entire inventory,” said Schlossberg. “And when we a rocket take off, sometimes it can take off for a few weeks. Other times it can keep going for years because we manage to create new versions that repeat season after season.”

Glenn Schlossberg Has Rocket Designs Deep in His Blood

For Glenn Schlossberg, designing dresses for women is a family affair.

His grandfather was in the dress business. His mother currently has a successful dress shop in Long Island called Estelle’s Dressy Dresses. His father was a dress manufacturer and designer when he was growing up. He was surrounded by the process of designing and creating womens-wear from an early age.

With all this exposure to the creative process, it’s no wonder Schlossberg would go on to create his dress line and his company named after his first design label: Jump.

“I thought I knew what I was doing at the ripe old age of 24. I thought I had it all figured out,” said Schlossberg.

“When I look back I now know I was just stupid enough to bet everything and not be afraid of it failing. I pitched the idea of my company to a number of potential investors and my wife actually helped me write a proposal, and from that, we ended up getting the funding we needed to start the most basic of companies,” said Glenn Schlossberg. “Within a few months, shockingly, I had a million dollar contract with Montgomery Ward. I couldn’t believe it. I also knew that because of this validation, I was going to make it. Now we’ve sold hundreds of millions of products over the years, and we’re always looking for the next best thing in comfort, in beauty, and design.”

What Makes a Design Idea A Success for Glenn Schlossberg?

Jump Design Group designs many of its pieces on the latest design software but before they ever sit down and start to craft a piece the idea must come from somewhere.

Glenn Schlossberg says that sometimes it can be really inconvenient when an idea for a piece might hit him.

“I might be in a meeting with a client, or even giving a tour to a potential client or even meeting with my sales team which I do every Monday, and they’ll say a word or a phrase and all of a sudden I’ll have this image in my head complete with colors and the type of fabric we need to use,” said Schlossberg.

“I’ve even stopped a meeting so I can run and talk to our designers immediately, so they can at least hear what I’m thinking about, and hopefully help me figure out how to make it into a garment,” says Schlossberg.

“This is, of course, the DNA of the idea. I delegate the idea to the team, and they’re the ones who bring it to life.”

“Sometimes the design comes from a conceptual idea or phrase. Sometimes it’s an image,” he continued, “Sometimes it’s just the idea of how I want a woman to feel when she wears the piece.

And how women feel and what they want is something that Glenn Schlossberg has been able to learn and carefully study for nearly 30 years.

“At the end of the day, I’m a merchant. After having manufactured over 100 million garments which have been distributed to all the major retail stores in America and in several countries around the world. I think I have a good sense of what sells and what doesn’t sell and what women want and what women wear,” said Schlossberg.

“I like to say I know what women want. I don’t know what they want in all areas of their life, but when it comes to what they want to wear, I have a pretty good idea,” Schlossberg said.

This kind of intimate understanding comes from decades of carefully crafting dozens of fashion lines throughout his career that both meet the client’s needs and desires. This desire is the essence of his brands.

Recognizing a quality design as it appeals en masse to a customer audience is where Glenn Schlossberg and his team excel.

Keeping A Design Simple May Make it Successful

A lot of the most successful designs from Jump Design Group have historically had one thing in common: pure lines and simple combinations of colors. And they almost always convey a simple feeling of success both for the woman who wears the garment and for the company who sells it.

Image result for jump design group“While trends in fashion come and go and there are certainly successful pieces that are far more ornate, the pieces which have staying power, and in many cases, are the ones that turn into our Rockets, are more simply crafted,” explained Schlossberg.

“And it’s because of this that we reproduce it in different sizes, in different divisions, and offer it in a variety of fabrics,” he continued.  “If a dress is particularly popular we may even do a version of it in every season in different colors or patterns to capitalize on the desire for it.”

“The way I look at it is that our dresses are walking billboards for our company,” said Schlossberg.  “And if a woman loves how she feels in the dress, and how it makes her look, and the confidence that comes with that, then she’s definitely going to tell her friends and family and potentially get them to buy one too.”

Successful Designs are Timeless for Jump Design Group and Glenn Schlossberg

There is a reason some styles and trends repeat themselves every few decades. But there are also some classic designs that can transcend.

Jump Design Group tries to embrace a 70/30 rule when it comes to designs. 70% of the designs are on trend for the current season, year, and styles. 30% are classic designs meant to have staying power long after the trendy “it” pieces are pulled from the shelf.

“We have so many customers who have become brand loyal and even piece-loyal. We appeal to this loyalty with some of our pieces particularly in our Marina collection as well as Tiana B.,” said Schlossberg. “There’s nothing better in my opinion than a classically designed dress to complete a woman’s wardrobe.”

Jump Design Group recently acquired Susana Monaco and will soon be incorporating the aesthetic designs of a brand that has built both loyalties with its customers, and continued to re-invent itself.

Glenn Schlossberg and his team believe that the classic designs of Susana Monaco fashion are well suited to complement an inventory that proves to appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers.Image result for susana monaco

“We also recently added the sportswear line, Cathy Daniels, and will be working with our designers on how to bring this 40-year-old company into a new demographic that competes against huge companies such as Lululemon and Under Armor for example,” Schlossberg added.

“I started this business by designing athletic wear. It’s nice to return to this with our recent acquisition.”

How Jump Design Group Incorporates Classic Elements of Design

When designing the pieces that later become “Rocket Designs,” there are several aspects that Glenn and his design team take into account.

“When we’re talking about design with our team, there are basically five key components: Shape and form, line, color, and the harmony of the piece, and the emphasis of the overall design,” explains Glenn Schlossberg.

The shape and form are the most iconic and distinct elements (and arguably the most important). This is what will form the silhouette, which is often the first thing that people see.

The silhouette is meant to compliment the shape of a body although some designers will accentuate certain elements to create an effect or emphasize a particular body part or de-accentuate a different area.

Silhouette design is reflective of current fashion trends.

“When it comes to our clients and specifically female clients a lot of what’s going on in pop culture, even in the political temperature can affect what they want to wear,” said Schlossberg. “We take a look at the whole picture and what has worked in the past and try to find a style that combines all of this and also makes them feel fantastic.”

When we complete a design it can be something as simple as the texture of the fabric can make or break the success of a design.

“I spend a lot of time traveling to Asia and Europe trying to find new and exciting new fabrics and new designs, and the truth is what feels good to one woman may not feel so great to another,” said Schlossberg.  “We often will make our most successful designs in many different fabrics to appeal to more potential buyers. But we never sacrifice quality. Quality fabric is always at the forefront.”

Once Jump Design group narrows down shape and fabric and even the color, that’s when they get to work.

“We work really hard to keep the elements of our design in proportion throughout production allowing for a ⅛ allowance in variations between the pieces. It’s important to create uniformity when we make the garments, and for this reason, we have some of the highest standards for production,” said Schlossberg.

Keeping the pieces in a specific type of balance based on its overall look and feel, incorporating fabric (sometimes a knit cotton may not work as well as a synthetic weave for example) can be the difference between creating a rocket design and something that will end up inevitably sitting on the shelf.

“Asymmetrical balance is very popular in evening wear for example. It’s dramatic, it’s eye-catching,” says Schlossberg. “We can almost always bank on a rocket with an asymmetrical look when we’re designing for Prom or Homecoming season.”

“Then again when we have repeated lines or trims on pieces, usually colors that are in fashion that season, then it creates a rhythm to the work and gives it a pattern that the eye follows when it looks over the dress,” continued Schlossberg.

“We love to emphasize details in some of our pieces, such as adding a pop of color on the zipper, or as a lining in a jacket or under a collar. Adding in a surprising pop of color that a woman can match with shoes or a purse can be a specific way to land on a rocket design,” he continued.

Glenn Schlossberg believes that because they’ve been doing this for so long, and have such loyalty within the company, there is a shorthand in creating some of the looks within his team.

Jump Design Group may repeat designs or repeat fabrics that work or have worked in the past, but update them specific to on-trend looks and colors.

“Many of my designers have been with my company for years. I’ll have someone from my design team say something like, “What about that Bebe dress with the lace from four seasons ago?”  And because we have this shorthand, I’ll know exactly what they’re talking about, and we’ll take that dress out and find a way to update it to feature modern details and tailor it to current trends. Because I have that shorthand, it allows us to go into production so much faster than some of my competitors.”

How Does A Design Become a Rocket Design?

Schlossberg believes that a dress becomes a Rocket when it hits a pinnacle zeitgeist moment. And it’s unfortunately hard to predict, but when he can look at his profit margins and assess his inventory, it’s easy to see which designs are spiking and which aren’t.

“When I see that spike in sales, usually when I check out my dashboard first thing in the morning,  I know we’re on a Rocket. I’ll call my design team in to show me the dress. That’s when we really get to work,” said Schlossberg.

From this point on,  Schlossberg will spend hours talking through the design with his sales team and his design team to figure out how many versions of the same dress they can sell to the same markets.

They also evaluate if there are other markets where elements of the designs may be replicated and sold.

Image result for jump design group“We have an incredibly fast production process here. Within 21 days we can get a new design on a shelf and usually, that’s just in time for us to see a repeat customer come back for more. We also spend a lot of time churning out more of the same because we want to embrace that success.”

Often, Jump Designs are featured in some of the most well-known stores including Nordstroms, Zappos, Amazon, Macy’s and Lord and Taylor. With this amount of access to a consumer, it’s no wonder Schlossberg, and his team can tap into a product market that provides instant results and a large sample market to learn from and build an arsenal of information.

“We focus on speed in all aspects of our production. In fact, for decades Jump Design Group has been on the cutting edge of Fast Fashion. Glen can recognize trends quickly, capitalize on that trend, and because our team can have it ready to wear in just a few weeks makes us one of the leading mid-market fashion producers in the world,” said Ashesh Amin, Jump Design Group’s CEO.

What Does the Future Hold for Glenn Schlossberg and Jump Design Group’s Rocket Designs?

“The future is looking really good,” said Schlossberg. “We’re working on partnering with and acquiring multiple brands over the coming years,  and as a result expanding our arsenal of potential rocket dresses.”

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