By: Daniel Englert
When I arrived at Zensah’s headquarters, I walked inside through the bay door and greeted two staff members who were packaging apparel, who then directed me up a stairway to the second floor of the warehouse to meet the founder and CEO of the company, Ze’ev Feig.
Ze’ev and I began talking about Zensah and the business of compression apparel. At a point Ze’ev asked me what my intentions were in shadowing at Zensah, and I told him about my plans to start a casual men’s clothing brand. This led into a discussion about the best current start-up clothing companies that were currently launching, including Gustin jeans beginning from a Kickstarter, and the rapid growth of Bonobo’s into Bloomingdale’s nationwide. He also shared advice on how to go about working with manufacturers with me, which he had picked up in the nine plus years Zensah had grown from a bootstrapped business into a more professional organization.
After my conversation with Ze’ev, I was taken to the designer of the company, who created both the patterns and the packaging for all the products they sell. I learned that the design process was especially unique at Zensah, since the seamless apparel which they sell requires a one-of-a-kind type of machine. This machine is able to sew a garment directly from computer software into a cylinder shape using multiple needles that can reach the fabric from all around. This, I learned, is different than traditional contract manufactures which are called cut-and-sew manufacturers (where rows of people sit behind tables with foot pedal powered sewing machines).
Following my time with the designer, I was given an entire overall tour of the building taking me through the one man HR department and back down to the first floor to see the inventory, packaging process, and finally the accounting office. The entire team consisted of no more than ten people, an interesting fact I was unable to predict through my prior online investigation. As five o’clock approached, I bid my farewells to all the members I had met after the three hour all-around immersion experience in the warehouse and left having enjoyed an inspiring UShadow afternoon arranged by the generous people at Toppel.