Yorkland Productions is a full-service pattern and sample apparel studio – they offer everything from design conception to production sourcing. Basically, they create the blueprints to manufacture or produce something that uses a textile material; apparel is the most common. Their clients come in with a sketch of a garment and they bring it to life! Besides clothing, they have created patterns for curtains, bedsheets, tote bags, baby changing pads, etc.

The company was founded in 1998. In October 2018, they moved in The Manufacturing Foundry at 150 Hooper Street, also home to SFMade’s offices. The company counts 7 employees today, all with a wide sewing expertise.

SFMade interviewed Yorkland’s Co-Owner, Lynn Lu, in August 2019.

COMPANY FACTSHEET Yorkland Productions
Full-time employees 6
Part-time employees 1
Founded in 1998
Useful links Website
Address 150 Hooper St #310. Open M-F 9a-6p by appointment only

 

The Yorkland Productions team, from left to right: Mandy, Sammy, Peng, Fen, Cindy, and co-owners Lynn and York.

Lynn, what is your background, and how did you start Yorkland Productions?
I graduated in 1989 with a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM [Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising]. For a decade, I worked at many clothing companies as a pattern maker. Some of them include Pantasia, Aqua blues (David Wayne), Frank Char, Esprit, Story book, Blanc Noir, Nomadic Traders and many more.

After feeling a bit burnt out from the corporate world, I decided to take a chance and start my own pattern making business. I realized that even though large companies have their own in-house professional pattern makers, many other small boutique owners usually create their own and need help. I found a small office space on 2nd and Harrison and started providing my skills to local, smaller, independent shops.

Since then, we’ve grown and moved offices several times, and most recently found a home thanks to SFMade, at 150 Hooper Street. We’ve very happy with this great location, also with a view! Today, we specialize in creating patterns for apparel, but also do small production runs for local companies.

A space with a view of Potrero Hill at 150 Hooper St

An example of a recent dress piece by Yorkland, next to hanging patterns

Can you tell us more about your business in a few facts and numbers?
Let’s start with facts then! The name “Yorkland” is actually a play on the names of the founders, York and Lynn. We met each other at one of our corporate jobs and realized that our work ethic and styles really complement each other. We’ve been working together as a team for over 20 years!

In terms of numbers, in a busy month, we’ve made over 300 proto samples. Since we’ve been in business, we’ve probably made over 1/2 million garments! One of our largest orders was 10,000 baby changing pads.

Who are your main clients today?
Many of our clients are local, Bay Area-based designers, and I am sure you will recognize a few. Some of them include CAMP, Temple Ro, Warrior Within, Gustin, Oso & Me, Vacay, State Apparel, Rough Linen, Conifer, Pale Fire, Betabrand, Carve Design, Dare to Wear, Evelyn Muir, Les Petits Carreaux and Sonnet James, who was recently featured on SharkTank.

Sammy is sewing at her station

Some of the tools of the trade, used when creating draft patterns on paper

How would you describe your company’s core values?
We are a small, tight knit company. We value our clients and are committed to putting our best work forward every time. Every project, whether big or small, deserves the same attention. Surprisingly, the majority of our clients have no fashion background. They come from all walks of life. Some are engineers, teachers, stay-at-home moms, students, and even cooks! We believe that no dream is too small. Being able to help bring a product to life from scratch is our passion! We love what we do and will continue to provide our expertise in an honest, fun and positive environment.

Draft patterns are digitized using the digitizing table on the right, then edited digitally before being fitted and printed using one of the two plotters (center left).

Peng (left) and Fen (right) at their sewing stations

Are your employees learning skills on the job?
Our employees come from various backgrounds. All of our sewers are very adept at producing garments and have been in the industry for decades, but they also learn every day. When new projects come around, we often come up with new techniques and solutions to create a particular piece. This knowledge is also passed on to our other sewers and to our vendors and collaborators, which is key to efficiency.

What should we look forward to from you?
We checked our crystal ball and it has informed us that new and exciting projects are on the rise. We are currently working with a number of new and potential clients who all have great ideas… But I cannot tell you more for now!

Mandy at her sewing station

Lynn and York on the digitizing / plotting computer

Why manufacture locally?
In order to create and sustain a thriving business, we believe that manufacturing locally is beneficial to all. It is also vital in keeping our products at top-notch quality. Clients and vendors are able to stop by in person to discuss projects. Being able to interact physically instead of virtually is also a big advantage. We’ve been in business for over 20 years and are still learning new things every day, and as we continue to grow, as will our partners.

York and Benji (the team mascot) at the admin computer

Fen at her sewing station

Why did you join SFMade, and how has SFMade helped the most?
The talent in the Bay Area is immense and can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, being able to collaborate with locals really get our creative juices flowing. We wanted to be a part of the ever-growing success of San Francisco and to be able to share our knowledge with everyone in our community, and becoming an SFMade member was just natural.

SFMade has been helpful in many ways: first, you helped us find this location, and that was really great. You have also referred many aspiring creators to us over the years, and we always love getting these emails and new projects. And finally, the monthly tours in our building have brought in a diverse crowd of people who are very eager to learn and understand our craft. We are grateful for the exposure and everything SFMade has done for us!

~ An interview by Pierre @ SFMade.

Sammy at her sewing station

Racks of patterns kept on site