Q&A With Glenn Schlossberg: Founder of Jump Design Group

Glenn Schlossberg, a leader and entrepreneur of the fashion industry, is constantly finding new ways to succeed in an extremely competitive market. He learned the inner workings of fashion design from spending time in his father’s dress factory and figured out new ways to produce clothing efficiently.

Schlossberg created Jump Design Group in 1990 and is now a top supplier of quality clothing in the fast-fashion industry. Today, Jump creates under the labels of Bebe, Marina, Tiana B. and Macy’s spanning formal and everyday wear. Where the fashion industry is historically denounced, Schossberg is a leader in utilizing domestic materials and labor. Jump Design Group focuses on quality materials and efficiency to keep up with ever-changing trends and the latest fashions.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Building Jump from the ground up was probably my greatest accomplishment. I’m proud of the number of employees I’ve been able to hire and support over the years. Charitable work is also important to me- giving back to my community and advancing causes brings me and my wife a great deal of joy.

Walk us through a typical workday.

This morning I was up at 5:30. I went to the gym.  I came home. Got into my suit and tie as I do every day of the year. I’m never without a suit and tie. I believe that if you want to hunt buffalo, you need to dress like a buffalo.

I have a chauffeur driven car and my driver takes me to work every day. The first thing I do when I get into the office is look at a dashboard that projects some key information for my daily operations.  I like to see where my sales are year after year- in addition to my profit margin, inventory levels, overhead. I study my dashboard for the first 15/20 min every day. I review emails. Monday mornings we have 9 AM sales meetings where our 30 salespeople gather in the conference room. These meetings focus on our best-selling products, new customers, existing customers, delivery schedules. From there I may meet with lawyers or attend a financial planning meeting with my direct reports. I’m working on an acquisition right now.

We’re getting ready to close on our next acquisition- so today I had a conference call with a law firm and an accounting firm and the company that I’m acquiring. I do have an open door policy in my office, so at any given time between my scheduled meetings I’ll have salespeople interrupt for calls for pricing for costing and just for general advice on sales related items. I end my day with a glass of scotch! (laughs) many nights a week I go out to dinner with a client. Or a supplier. I try to get home to have dinner with my wife and kids.

Can you share any productivity tips that keep you motivated and grounded?

I do feel like an inventor. When I create a new product, place it into production, send it out to a retailer and watch it become a best seller, I feel invigorated.

What about your weekend activities?

My number one sport is racing cars. I race McClaren. I race up at Monticello motor club. I’m a collector of cars. On top of that, I spend the summer weekends in Montauk on the ocean. Also, I have a speed boat. I have the need for speed. For the same reason, I love snowboarding.

When I was a kid I used to race motocross and motorcycles. However, it’s illegal to race motorcycles or motocross in New York City. So I gave up motocross and I became a collector and investor of cars. A few years ago we joined the Monticello motor club and got very heavily into racing. I love the speed. The adrenaline. The rush.

Discuss what lessons you learned and your most influential decade, (20’s or 30’s) and why?

The one thing I’ve learned about how to become successful is that it’s all about hard work. It’s very, very hard work. Dedicated, hard work. You do your research. You work hard. You have to put in long hours. You can be successful. Persistence and determination equal success. Also, I’ve always surrounded myself with excellent mentors and advisers. I never went to college.

Talk me through the choice not to go to college and how to start a business.

So I was never great in high school and I actually went to college for a half a semester and I didn’t do well. I started off working in my father’s company in different parts of the business. Mostly in shipping and in the warehouse. I  learned the business at a very young age; it became intuitive. I believed that I could do it better than anyone else, and I wrote up a business plan. I married my wife, Zena. We’ve been married for 30 years. Zena has an MBA from Cornell and helped me write a business plan. We shopped it around and got the financing we needed. When I set out to build the product lines, I had some good contacts with retailers and went right into business. I always put sales first. I always let operations and production second. Without sales, there is no business. I’m sales hungry and passionate.

You said a lot of things about hard work, as someone entering your industry. What advice would you give them?

When I was younger I was able to take more financial risks because I didn’t have the heavy overhead of mortgages and cars and kids. I had less to lose. I strongly advise kids all the time, if they’re going to be an entrepreneur, don’t wait that long. The longer you wait the harder it will be to break out.

Can you discuss your philanthropic work?

I raised over a million dollars for Joel Finklestein Cancer Foundation many years ago for LIJ. My wife and I are very supportive of Cornel University. One year I was very active with the NFTE network for teaching entrepreneurship for inner city schools. We had a couple of groups of students here to just see the industry.

Is there a travel moment that stands apart from the rest and if so why?

I like to visit factories in Asia. It gives me ideas, thoughts, both for competitive advantage and for also new design concepts. I like understanding and studying the new technical machinery. I enjoy my trips to Asia, mostly to China and Korea. I’ll be in London in two weeks. I’m going to spend three days shopping, in malls, in downtown London with my designers, in design service, using shopping service. So I‘ll be there for three days and after that, I’m going to leave my business colleagues. Then I’m going to the Mcclaren production factory with a colleague to see a specialty car demonstration. We’re going to spend time with the auto-racer people.

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