New York City in the 1980s was a drastically different place than what it is today. Depressing headlines and unrest ruled the day. At one point, riding on the subways became such a risky endeavor due to sky-high crime rates that ridership dropped to below 1917 levels. But it wasn’t all bad news, doom and gloom in the 80s in NYC. In 1986, Paul Park opened a wholesale t-shirt business in Midtown Manhattan on Broadway, putting into motion what would become a highly successful career in the apparel industry as the owner of Selini NY.
Upon launching his Broadway t-shirt business, summers proved to be a very profitable time of the year for Park. Yet he struggled during the other seasons, prompting him to look into another business that could balance out his year. His answer was right in front of him.
“I was using three floors at that time, and I decided to rent a floor to someone who wanted to do a neck tie wholesale business,” said Paul Park, owner of Selini NY. “The owner imported inexpensive ties from Korea, and people lined up to buy ties. I started to think about manufacturing ties in the USA.”
After a couple of years observing the scene and conducting market research, his decision was made: He was going to pursue manufacturing neck ties in the US. Park indicated that at the time, most neck ties were either made domestically, or imported from Italy.
In March 1991 he opened a 6,000 square-feet tie factory in West New York, NJ and started hiring experienced people to run his new factory. Paul’s oldest son, Henry, was born in the same month (March 1991) as he launched his business, so naturally, his business was named after his eldest boy: Henry Tie Manufacturing Corp. Park added that he knew from the beginning that he wanted his son to inherit the company some day, adding incentive to name it after him.
Learning to Perfect Ties
Now that Paul had his factory and a name for his new tie business, he had just one main problem: He had to learn how to make ties. But in reality, he also needed to learn how take care of the machines, perfect selecting fabrics, master where to sell products, etc.
“For the first year, I was able to put two shifts due to a high demand from all of the states,” said Park. “The following year, I expanded the tie business by importing a few automatic machines from Germany.”
After a successful run of several years, business started to slow.
“I didn’t have enough working capital to maintain operation, so I took some contract works that were sewing services. I made a lot of good department store ties, such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Ave, Bloomingdales, and Today’s Man,” added Park.
Forever a fast learner, Park rapidly became an expert in the tie business, and life came full circle to when he opened his Broadway t-shirt business.
“I closed the factory after an eight year struggle, and went to China and Korea to import ties. I opened a wholesale tie store in the same area where I began my t-shirt business.”
In 1999, when Park’s wife changed her name, he renamed his business after her: Selini NY.
“When my wife became a US citizen, she changed her name to Selini Park,” said Park.
Now known as Selini NY, the company carries a wide variety of accessories, such as gift box items, ties, zipper ties, hats, belts, wallets, and other furnishing items. It was Selini NY, in fact, that introduced zipper ties to JC Penney and Sears, Belks, Burlington, K&G, other department stores.
“We found niche markets, and now Selini carries all kinds of accessories,” said Park.
Retailers have much to gain by doing business with Selini NY. The longtime OFFPRICE Show exhibitor has seen several other tie companies come and go while it remains entrenched as an exhibitor.
Selini has persevered for all the right reasons: High quality inventory, free return policy within 15 days from the receipt if anyone doesn’t like the products they purchased, excellent customer service, same day shipping. Selini has become a “cost leader” producing high quality items at a very affordable price. “ I develop all products by myself, and keep creating new products with several designers in house. We are a cost-effective operating company because we have low overhead to make sales prices low,” adds Park. “Without customers, we wouldn’t exist”. Park urges to his staff to treat customers like a king.
In 2016, retailers can expect even better service from Selini, as Park plans on rolling out free shipping on all online orders beginning March 1st, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his tie business since 1991. All the customers who visit Selini NY booth at the OFFPRICE Show will receive a Selini logo cap based on the limited quantity.
Staying Relevant in an Increasingly Casual World
The demand of neckties became much less than 15 to 20 years ago,” said Park. “We keep updating trend and colors, developing related items utilizing several fashion designers in house.”
Despite the dip in demand for ties in a challenging economy, Park indicated that the past few years Selini NY’s sales have grown 10-20% every year. This is in large part due to the success of their bow ties.
“About the last five years, the bow tie business has been strong. More people wear bow ties these days instead of ties,” added Park.
As China’s manufacturing industry gained traction, Paul made key relationships with factory owners in the early 2000s. While Selini no longer manufactures in the states, these relationships have proven to be a major competitive advantage in the way Selini handles its business. An early mover in the Chinese manufacturing scene, Park has been able to secure key contracts and become an effective cost leader in his line of work. This is what had made Selini the great company it is today...”
Head to www.SeliniNY.com and take a glance, then you will know why Paul and his company is still prosperous in the wholesale apparel business. Selini has what you’re looking for