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Hidden Gems: Meet Bret Schnitker of Stars Design Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bret Schnitker.

Hi Bret, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
Starting at a multi-billion-dollar fashion retailer (more than 30 years ago), I worked my way through the company learning primary areas of the business from design and merchandising to buying. After achieving success in these categories, it became clear that, like many in the industry. I needed to understand the technical side of the business and how things are made. With a mission to learn from those that do, I traveled the world, into remote regions most tourists never touch, to learn firsthand the art of weaving, dying, knitting, and sewing. With this knowledge, I started Stars Design Group to provide global apparel design and manufacturing expertise to brands and retailers. Today, after over 20 years, Stars Design Group provides a unique service to the industry. With the combination of talent and innovative technology. We provide design support (using 3D technology), technical design, transparent project management (with our teams locally and offices overseas (2 in India, China, Bangladesh, & Ethiopia), and garment manufacturing (in our vast network of 67 factories across 14 counties). And navigate today’s complex logistics to deliver custom apparel for our clients; in our time, we have produced tens of millions of garments for our clients.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Life always comes with its ups and downs. The mistakes and downtimes have provided important lessons that now our clients can benefit from. In our 20+ years, we had endured the loss of our building when it caught on fire from a gas explosion. Managed the sudden bankruptcy of a major customer, leaving us with millions of dollars of goods in process, and navigated the ongoing volatility in the supply chain, shipping and logistics. Even in COVID, we persevered, maintaining our impeccable quality and on-time delivery levels. Through ongoing evolution (not revolution), we continue to grow, learn, teach and serve.

We’ve been impressed with Stars Design Group, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our client base ranges from high fashion to performance lifestyle brands, private retail labels, to corporate wear and uniforms. People always ask which category of business is our greatest strength. The truth of it is by intent, all categories. We are often brought in to solve a problem. We prove ourselves which then opens the opportunity across other verticals. A key strength is that we are highly skilled at understanding our customers’ ethos and the parameters the products need to perform (from functionality to fit, to feel, to price point) and developing custom products to align.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
The people – our company is made of experts who love apparel. Every person on our team deserves credit for making us who we are.

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