Steinlauf and Stoller

One of the most loved and respected people in the Garment District is Nancy, the go-to hardware expert who has carved out her corner of calm and efficiency in Steinlauf and Stoller as she adds studs and snaps to garments, shoes and accessories.

Coming up on 50 years of working in the Garment District and only in her second job ever, -- Nancy's longevity in the area is equally testament to her skill and also her beautiful zen persona.

I chatted with Nancy to find out a little bit about how she got started and how she stays charming in a chaotic industry.

TL: How did you get started in this business?
Nancy: My cousin was working at Sheer Snap and told me that someone was leaving. I had a 13 month old baby so I had to ask my husband how he felt about me taking a job. He thought it was a great idea so I found a babysitter and went to work. That was 50 years ago. I worked at Sheer Snap for 30 years until they closed. When I started at Sheer Snap a gentleman called Mr Tom Burns singled me out from the other girls and encouraged me to work hard, try new things and to have confidence. I told him that I was quiet, but he pushed me to interact with the public and to achieve my best, he taught me all the parts of the machinery and the attachments. I owe so much of my confidence to him, in fact, as he told me constantly "you can do it". After a while my name got out and people started asking for me.

TL: What is your secret to success?
Nancy: I prefer to be quiet and let other people do the talking. I love my job and I love my customers, they bring me joy every day.

TL: What do you love most about your job?
Nancy: Everyday people come by to see me, I have customers from the Broadway shows, students from FIT, Parsons and Pratt and designers big and small. I love the care and precision of my work but also the people. A lot of people come by just to say hello. I was thinking of retiring, but I wouldn't get all this staying at home. This is my social life.

TL: Where do you eat lunch
Nancy: (Laughing) Right here, I don't really have time to go out for lunch so I bring it with me and some of my "fans" bring me juices or cookies, people are very kind around here.

TL: Is there anything you would like to share with people in the Garment District?
Nancy: Just know that you can do it. I am always grateful to Mr Tom Burns who helped me find my confidence, but if you want to do anything, really do it and do it well.