Buttonwood Corp

Our father Murray, a 30 year old NYC men's suit salesman, wanted to get into a new business venture and decided to join forces with another Murray to create a button making business called Duplex Novelty Co. The name came from a very cheap lease on some unwanted weird space broken up oddly between two floors. 264 W.36th St. There was a lot of shouting up and down stairs. It was 1939. The depression was lifting but it was still a struggle for new enterprises to compete in the frantic garment center. Then the 1941 war came one bloody Sunday and set everything aside. By the time we were born a few years later my father had bought out his partner and like millions of others moved our growing family to the dreamy post-war suburbs. Dad's brothers Hy and Nat returned from combat in Europe and he partnered them in the button business. Newly married baby sister Sylvia rolled up her stockings, wore sensible shoes and was the bookkeeper. My brother and I were put to work "running" sample packets to customers in the summers of the late 50s, coming in on the LIRR and making our way out of Penn Station onto teeming W. 35th. Hand trucks were rolling everywhere......the sidewalks crammed with fabric bolts waiting at freight elevator entrances to go up to the "needle trades". Around this time that my father met an older Czeck holocaust survivor who was representing a large wood turning mill from Laconia, New Hampshire. This chance meeting convinced him to make the switch from common plastic button molding to become a "novelty" button producer, making strictly wooden buttons. So, despite reservations from the New Englanders we had a great source for wood in the Allen Rogers Corp. They liked the color of his money and we got high quality raw wood turnings. For buttons! We were really off to the races.... The 1970s: Dennis returns from the jungles of Vietnam and I graduate Emerson College with a degree in filmmaking that leads directly to a career in what else?.... buttons. Demand is skyrocketing and were running 2 shifts putting out millions of toggles, buttons, even wood buckles. November 1978- the Uncles retire and Dad wants to head south, so we took over and discover how beautiful laminated wood looks as a button, creating a small "revolution" in our industry. Into the 80's and 90s we had great success. Tough union local? Check...Bad costume jewelry accounts? ....Yup ..... Cheap foreign competition? Sure.....But we weathered all that..... Flash forward to 1997..... we finally swallow up our only domestic competitor, Shumsky Bros., just as the bottom drops out of domestic apparel production faster then you can say "Made in China". As a smaller firm, Buttonwood Corp. adopts an eco-friendly approach by overseeing production closely and adhering to the rules set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council, the One World Project, always moving quickly to comply with standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, OSHA, EPA. So we're smaller then we use to be but still producing world-class quality, responsible wood buttons right here at 2 Prince Street Room 3011 Brooklyn, NY USA.

Made in Brooklyn

Factory tours: 10am to 3pm Monday thru Friday

Buttonwood Corp
2 Prince St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Get in Touch!