Sequin City refuses to stop sparkling
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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(Image: Richard Spiropoulos)

Sequin City has 14 employees but brings in extra hands seasonally. Their business isn’t solely dependent on the fashion industry — they also supply various theaters and theme parks, an ace in the hole that keeps them busy all year long. They also supply across Europe and Canada. And while Hill wouldn’t reveal actual numbers, he does concede that business is booming.

“We are doing well. We have not laid an employee off in 12 years and we presently occupy about 20,000 square feet. The building we moved from was just 5,000 square feet.”

They try to keep the operation on a scale and capacity that they can handle.

“I’ve actually had people approach me and offer me the opportunity to essentially tie up my entire operation for a year – one customer. But that’s not a healthy thing because when that year is over you’ve lost your other customers.”

So how does the business work? Hill describes some of what he considers the advantages of doing business with Sequin City.

“As manufacturers in this space we have maybe 4,000 different designs that we can offer to a customer. It’s up to the designer as to the type of fabric they’re going to put it on. The color of the sequins, or the embroidery, that’s up to them.”

Hill says Sequin City also specializes in embroidery. It allows designers to stretch their imagination and skill. They can run the spectrum as far as their fashion trends or color themes. He tells Blackenterprise that 80% of his customers choose their sequin colors and the colors for their yarns. They also have the capacity to create a specific design that a customer wants.

As successful as his business has been, Hill says he has one regret.

“I would say I’m disappointed that I don’t have one African American customer. Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s I often heard people say there were no African American-owned businesses and that kind of thing, and we have made a concerted effort to reach out to most African Americans who are in the fashion industry but to no avail. It appears that they are just not interested in doing business with us.”

So if Hill is the only game in town, where do customers who don’t use him go for the sequins they use in their designs?

He says, “They order their stuff from China and in most cases they manufacture overseas as well. We actually have customers in Hong Kong. Get this, we ship more fabric to Hong Kong than we do to New York.”

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