I first met fashion designer Molly (Hoeltke) Worth a dozen years ago, which is when I asked her to customize a couple of my sport coats. Every time I ever wore one of her upcycled designs, I would get compliments. Eventually Molly told me that she was no longer working on those types of creations, so we fell out of touch, and it’s been years since I’ve heard from her.
Just yesterday, Molly reached out to say that she has embarked upon a new adventure that will do great things for the local fashion and design industry. After speaking with her, I also feel that she has conjured up a project that will help to put Buffalo on the fashion and design map.
Molly’s new project, called The Factory Buffalo, has been years in the making. “I’ve been thinking about this since 2014,” she told me. “At the time, I was traveling across the US, preselling orders for my brand Once and for All. It was my first manufacturing season, and I had a factory in NYC that had made my initial samples and patterns. But they ended up dropping me due to lack of volume. That’s about the time that I started to do some research about what it would take to start a factory in Buffalo. I was also doing some fashion writing at the time, and an article that I was working on looped me into a local manufacturing facility called QSG Technologies. The owner of QSG, Tom Burns, had multiple locations throughout the U.S. – the company encompassed everything from warehousing to logistics. There was also a sewing room with a couple of machines, but not much going on in that department. I asked Tom if I could run my line for a season, and he told me that if I could put a team together that he could manage it.”
The Factory Buffalo is a cut and sew product development and manufacturing company in Buffalo, which was started by local women’s Ready-To-Wear designer and commercial wardrobe stylist Molly (Hoeltke) Worth.
Moving forward, Molly continued to work with production companies in Florida and NYC, but she always maintained a relationship with QSG, and even rented occasional space there.
“Then my father passed away at the end of 2018,” said Molly. “At the time, outsourcing was very expensive, and there was a lot of overhead, so I took a pause from my label – I took a year off. When I got back to it, I talked to my husband, and he told me to call Tom, to pitch him my idea for The Factory Buffalo – a company that prepares entrepreneurs and designers for production. The product development company would handle any and all parts of the process, from soup to nuts, guiding people through the process, which is something that I never had access to. Tom liked the idea, and said that clients could also utilize many of his resources, so we teamed up as partners.”
The Factory Buffalo prides itself on providing an alternative to overseas manufacturing.
After a year of setting up processes, time studies, and industrial engineering, Molly and Tom have now started bidding on national clients. They recently landed a clothing line from a mother-daughter team in New Jersey, and have even ventured into some military bidding. They have assembled a dynamic team of pattern drafters, sewing technicians, etc., which means that just about anyone can walk in with an idea for a product/line, and walk out with a step by step plan – from sourcing materials to scaling productions to ensuring that the clothing fits properly. With The Factory Buffalo managing such things as sketches, production, packaging, scaling, and schedules, and QSG operating as the volume contractor, we’re looking at an efficient, full service bespoke clothing operation, right here in Buffalo, run by a diverse team with years of design and production experience.
If you have had a clothing concept buzzing around in your head that you feel has got some legs, you are welcome to experience The Factory Buffalo first hand, no matter if you are an old pro or can’t draw a stick figure. Whether it’s a one and done article of clothing, or a complete line, Molly, Tom, and the rest of the team are excited to field inquiries, in hopes of helping you to take your fashionable dream to market.
Welcome to a new Buffalo, where anything is possible.
If you are a business or entrepreneur interested in developing and/or manufacturing a sewn product you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or attend their Cocktail Hour Open House event on November 7th from 5pm-7pm at 2296 Kenmore Ave. Buffalo, NY 14207.
The Factory Buffalo | 2296 Kenmore Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14207
O. 716.875.8223 ext. 121