TRIM’S MINI LAUNCH PAD
Byline: Melanie Kletter
NEW YORK — Christina Davis has hit on a rare commodity: cheap showroom space in SoHo.
But her showroom is located in a venue more associated with unused furniture than fashion.
Davis, who runs Trim NYC, a launch pad for new designers, recently opened her showroom on the ninth floor of a Manhattan Mini Storage located on the fringe of TriBeCa and SoHo, just steps from the Holland Tunnel.
“It has been great for me,” said Davis. “I have a SoHo address and it’s very safe.”
Manhattan Mini Storage is well suited for a young entrepreneur: The facility is clean and well lit, and its staff accepts faxes and packages. Some floors, such as the one Davis is on, have climate control and carpeting.
On a recent visit, the lobby was buzzing with activity, as people moved boxes and bags of all sizes and in and out of the building. Overall, the storage facility has been surprisingly accommodating, Davis said.
“They knew I was going to have a business here and they were very encouraging,” she said. “There are also people here who sell other things, including a couple that sells carpets.”
Although from the outside her room looks austere and opens with a heavy metal door, her 100-square-foot showroom space is comfortable and inviting. A folding chair sits in the corner, magnets hold swatches to the metal walls and brightly colored fabrics lighten up small tables. Tops and accessories, ties and jewelry coexist peacefully in the space.
Each of the 13 designers with whom she works has a small area to themselves to showcase their works. The firms she reps are small clothing firms Brick, Miho Mihon, Yukiki Takago, Magnum Opus, Smith & Hone, Spyne Design, Raeburn Ink, Minette and Tanyapat; accessories and jewelry firms Imooi, Pearl Brickie and Protein, as well as beauty company Paraphernalia Cosmetics, all of which retail their products for less than $300.
Trim’s designers meet about once a month to share ideas, since many work alone out of their apartments, she said.
Davis, a graduate of SUNY Purchase with a degree in art history, is not a designer herself, but has worked in art galleries and has long been interested in fashion. In March 1999, she began Trim as a retail stall at the Antiques Fair & Collectibles Market on the corner of Broadway and Grand Streets in SoHo. Eventually, she began to sell some lines at wholesale and started bringing buyers to her apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Among the stores that carry these designers are Patch 155 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Living Room, a boutique in New Orleans.
The idea to open the showroom in the storage space came from a friend who had seen a story in the New York Times about people who work and do business out of the storage facilities. Rent for her Mini Storage space is $452 a month.
Since its founding as a retail booth on Broadway, Trim has evolved into a larger business, and there are now Trim events such as sales at art galleries and a relaunched Trim Web site is set to debut in April. Davis operated the Trim stall until it closed in January and she is now looking into possibly opening a wholesale space and retail gallery.
Earlier this week, amidst the bustle of the runway shows, Davis held her own soiree showcasing some of her designers at Sweet and Viscous, a lounge in NoLIta.
“We are looking to progress in a natural way,” she said. “Trim and its events have been a great way to bring designers together and get their creative juices flowing.”