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“‘The flower guy’” Warren Brand 77′ carries M & S Schmalberg into its second century


These Flowers Have Been Growing for 103 Years

M & S Schmalberg is trying to hold on to the craft it has perfected for more than a century: making silk flora for fashion brands.

The showroom and factory of M & S Schmalberg is in a soot-gray building in Manhattan’s garment district, seven stories above a street-level women’s apparel wholesaler called Belma Fashions.

On a recent morning, the firm’s 61-year-old president, Warren Brand, was leading a tour there for a group of fashion students from Mississippi State University. They had come to see a unicorn, a scrappy holdout, a working museum of old-fashioned artisanship that somehow had to turn a modern-day profit.

Schmalberg, a fourth-generation family business founded in 1916, makes artificial flowers from silk and other fabrics for clients including milliners, theatrical costume designers, fashion stylists, bridal houses and designer labels like Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs.

Read the full announcement.