Sisters Sue Gordon and Laurie Godbout took different paths to their careers that landed them side by side running the family's 75-year-old business, Algy Trimmings Co., in Hallandale.
The company manufactures costumes for dance and pageantry; recitals; contests; and performances.
They make costumes for events that include the Rose Bowl Parade, for dance schools, for teams such as color guards and majorettes, and for performers such as bands and dancers.
Gordon got her bachelor's degree in early childhood education, because she planned to follow in her mother's footsteps as a teacher, she says. And it was Godbout's husband, Mike, who joined Algy before she did. Godbout's daughter, Melissa Decaro, works as brand manager for the company's performance division.
Godbout says that to survive in today's market, companies have to control spending and watch the cash. That is why the family was able to grow their mom-and-pop costume shop to a multi-million dollar international firm, she says.
A strong focus and attracting notable clients — such as outfitting the June Taylor Dancers and collaborating with Jackie Gleason — helped boost the company.
Next week, Algy continues to mark its 75 years with a private fashion show where staff, representatives, family and VIPs will view its 2012 line, recognizing employees and their designs.
After 75 years, from where does Algy get its staying power? Planning for the future will help us remain competitive. It is our goal, to lay the foundation for the next generation so that 25 years from now we can celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. Staying in touch with clients through advisory boards and attending conventions and events is the cornerstone of our success. We encourage feedback from our clients and give careful consideration to their input. Our clients are our lifeblood. The photos they send and the pleasure they get performing in our costumes motivates us to continue to seek the coolest fabrics and create the hottest designs.
What's the outlook as arts and cultural funding gets cut; what corrections will you need to make in the business model? Unfortunately, school budgets continue to be cut and the responsibility for financial burdens continue to be placed on the parents for funding more and more of the band programs. Fund-raising is a core effort of band parent organizations. So please, support your local efforts. Businesses throughout the counties are giving donations to performing members and helping offset ever shrinking budgets.
What makes South Florida a good place to run a business? South Florida has an unlimited labor pool of talented garment industry workers. As more and more sewing jobs move offshore, we are able to tap into the knowledge of many skilled workers.
If you could sweep a magic wand over the local economy, what would be your first fix? Our high school graduates are not getting enough mentoring about the job market, resume writing and information about what do to after graduation. On a local level we would like to see more partnerships between business and schools, more grants for career guidance programs and other programs that help prepare our young people for the world in which they enter upon graduation.
What can you do that your competitors cannot? We're nimble. We react quickly to new trends, changes within the market and customer needs. With the sewing floor located just inches, literally, from the executive offices, we respond quickly to the needs of our clients.
What's the best advice ever received: Gordon: It's not about you. Godbout: Listen to your employees.
What keeps you up at night: Gordon: How to remain competitive and cost effective when competing with imported products. Godbout: How to provide better wages and benefits to our staff.
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