Jump to Main Content

New York District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Yes, it’s true. Strange as it may sound, you can now wear and elegantly carry those busted-up umbrellas you see blowing down the street and deposited in trashcans on rainy, windswept days. You will also be doing your part for the environment by recycling what was once considered trash, thanks to Brooklyn-based, HIMANE, Inc. 

Designer, seamstress, patternmaker and HIMANE owner, Catherine Edouard-Charlot, scours the neighborhood for those castaway umbrellas and recreates them as ‘60’s vintage eveningwear, jackets and handbags among other items. Those reconstructed products are the start of her emerging earth-conscious line of clothing which includes recycled shirts, jackets and pants. She also produces fashion items from more traditional fabrics like cotton and silk. 

Originally a clothing designer and business owner in Haiti, Edouard-Charlot was experiencing a little success with clients from afar as The Netherlands. She emigrated to the U.S. when she was 28... Read More

Deborah Brenner had been running a successful marketing and public relations firm until 2005 when she took a fortuitous trip to California’s Napa Valley. There she met a woman winemaker who piqued her curiosity about women in that industry. Having a journalistic background, Brenner decided to do research on the topic, which led her to write a successful and first-of-its-kind book.

Her book describes the travails and successes of 20 women in a male-dominated industry and was selected by Wine Spectator in 2007 as "critical reading…one of the best new books of the year for any wine lover’s library." Having learned about the hurdles these women faced, and wanting to further champion their stories, Brenner actually went into the winemaking business in 2005 and launched the Women of the Vine Cellars label, a successful wine importing and marketing company which unites women winemakers from around the world under one label. The label is now helping those women gain ever-more... Read More

When it comes to the challenge of "greening" the manufactured products of the world, every little bit helps. And speaking of little bits, who would have given thought to the refuse created by those millions of branding- and price-tags affixed to new clothing?

A small business owner would. In fact when it comes to innovation, small businesses produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Manhattan-based I & E Packaging is one of those small, innovative companies because it offers eco-friendly tags to the world’s clothing manufacturers. I & E’s hangtags with embedded plant seeds can simply be plopped down in soil and grown while other tags are made from various organic and recycled materials such as cork, organic cotton canvas, bamboo & wood. The company’s non-metal buttons are made from natural and sustainable corozza nuts, wood & horn, while its metal buttons, rivets, shanks,... Read More

Starting his five-person print shop in Manhattan, producing the humblest of printing jobs— restaurant take-out menus— entrepreneur K.Y. Chow has since grown his business to a 30-employee operation in a new 18,000 square foot facility in Long Island City. That’s no small accomplishment in these recessionary times. But, as a Hong Kong emigrant to the U.S., Chow is accustomed to overcoming hurdles. In his homeland he had been a merchant banker managing multi-million dollar portfolios. In immigrating to New York in 1987, Chow originally took a position as a consultant to manage a downtown-Manhattan hotel project. 

The hotel developer offered Chow the opportunity to buy one of his businesses— an 850 square-foot print shop in New York City’s Chinatown. At the same time, Chow had listened to the tales of friends who were laid off from their corporate jobs and to successful business owners who advised that business ownership was the way to controlling one’s... Read More