verbal croquis

industry suppliers

Posted in recommendations by verbalcroquis on January 16, 2008

Apparel City is a small store in the SOMA district of SF, bursting at the seams with industrial machines and accessories and patternmaking tools.

I heart this store.  I really do.  You walk and it reeks of “garmento” (and that’s a good thing!).  Messy, dusty, jampacked to the rafters, every surface covered with cones of thread, rulers, and boxes of random zippers.  Most of the stuff is behind the counter.  Everyone who works there is awesome.  This is customer service at its finest.  Here is a typical visit:

AC employee: Hi, can I help you?

me:  Hi.  I need pattern paper.  How much is on a roll?

AC:  *short explanation of their offerings, paper weights, yards per roll, offerings on per yard basis, etc*

me:  Great.  I’ll take a roll of the 150 lb.   I also need a gathering foot.

AC:  *shows me 2 kinds, explains the difference*

me:  Great.  I’ll take this one.   Pattern hooks?

AC:  They come 12 in a bag for $x [I forget how much exactly].

me:  Great.  I’ll take 3 bags and this thread and that’s it.

AC:  Your total is $X.  Where’s your car?

That is an example of their brilliant efficiency.  It seems so simple, but let me tell, so SO rare!  And then they always carry out heavy stuff like the rolls of paper to my car.   The woman even offered to carry my rabbit-punch (which she tested in front of me) to my car.  I mean, it’s not that heavy.  They’re so good.  Knowledgeable, quick, straightforward.  I’m in love with them.

They are in San Francisco, but they also have a website if you don’t live around here.  Call them–they are Asian but speak English very well.  They’re nice but not overly chatty.


Another supplier I really like is Ron over at Ahearn Cutting.  I bought my wonderful 6×8′ table from him at Lady Chickenjoy’s referral and we are both pleased as punch with our tables.  He’s nice, even after I must have tried his patience once or twice.  Give him a call.  He will explain all you need to know about proformas, bills of lading, etc.  Ask for a catalog too–they also sell rolling carts, teflon spray, all sorts of stuff (BUT, I can only endorse the tables since that’s the only thing I bought from him.)  Ahearn is based in L.A.


There is this website called  I refuse to even link to them, as I don’t want you to go there.  Their customer service team is comprised of people who don’t know what they’re doing.  They will tell you one thing, and then accounting will step in and say that their customer service rep made a mistake but you have to pay for it anyway.  Stay far, far away, I beg you.  Just thinking about the dozen+ phone conversations I had with them over a 3-month span for a 3-item order gives me a headache.


On a sorta unrelated note, I just found out that Michael Levine, my favorite fabric jobber in L.A., was originally owned by my current boss’s family!  Small world.


6 Responses to 'industry suppliers'

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  1. I laughed out loud because it’s funny how you can get diametrically opposite impressions of someone. To whit, Ron at Ahearn. I’ll never send anyone there. He knew I’d been looking for a Sunny Young (a grading machine) for someone in Australia. He called, said he had one. I said cool, will you ship to Australia and please add an order of pattern cards. He said he couldn’t ship there which was okay, I’d do it. A week later, I get an eastman chickadee via UPS. I called Ron who *insisted* I’d ordered it. Like I need one of those. I already have a round knife, much better than a chickadee. It was only after I reminded him of the Australia convo and btw, where were my pattern cards, that he acquiesced. He didn’t want to take it back and said it was non-returnable. After arguing about that, he said he needed a 15% restocking fee. Wtf? Said his boss wouldn’t do it any other way. I told him I’d get my bank to do a cc chargeback (a hefty fee, can be as high as 40%) if he didn’t refund me. t took a month but I finally got my money back and oh yeah, the last hassle was shipping. I shouldn’t have to pay shipping for something I didn’t order but I finally got that too. Unfortunately, I still got stuck for return shipping on the item. But yes, he is a nice chatty guy!

  2. Rebecca said,

    Why can’t shopping for everything be like your experience at Apparel City? I just don’t have time or patience to hunt all over stores anymore. Get in, get what you need, and get back out. Stores of all varieties focus so much on the trivial – like calling me by name or walking my purchase around the cash register to hand it to me – when I’d be loyal for life if they’d just have what I wanted and know what they were doing.


  3. K: That might be why he asked for a proper PO maybe 8 times. (Not that I refused, but he did bring it up a lot when I dealt with him. He must have learned.)

    R: Seriously, right? The extra time they spend walking my bag to the front of the counter instead of just handing it to me is just an example of useless inefficiency that bugs me. It only makes sense for massive or heavy bundles that are hard to hand over the counter.

  4. Karen C said,

    Thanks for the tip on Apparel City. I’ll check them out. Any referrals to contractors on Jessie Street? Looking for both woven and knits.

    Sorry I’ve been so underground lately. Been working on the book.

  5. dont get me STARTED on the EVILNESS of allbrands.


  6. Werkstattprodukte, vom Rostlöser zum Pflegemittel und Reiniger bis zur Hightech Betriebsmittelchemie. Alles rund um die Werkstatt- Einrichtung und Ausrüstung.

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