“Our design division makes us truly unique.”Jennifer BuschCEO
“I wasn’t initially planning on joining the family business, but then I started seeing many opportunities to grow it.”
Jennifer Busch did not originally plan on joining I. Buss & Allan, her family’s uniform manufacturing business. She studied Psychology and English, with the goal of eventually pursuing a career that combined both of her interests. Yet as she helped out with the family business over the summers, she began to see significant room for improvement, and an opportunity to substantially scale operations.
A four-generation business founded in 1892, I. Buss & Allan initially opened in the Lower East Side before eventually making its way to the Garment District. When Jennifer was in her 20s, the business, which was under her father’s leadership, was primarily manufacturing police uniforms. Jennifer intuitively understood fashion and sales and saw real potential in adding a design element into the equation. She took the business over in 2012 and started a creative division – JBL Designs – to work directly with clients and design custom unique looks to promote and enhance their brands. I. Buss & Allan has grown substantially since then, becoming a leading supplier of uniforms to the real estate and hospitality industries.
“Our design division makes us truly unique.”
I. Buss & Allan handles all uniform needs — from uniform rentals to stock and custom uniform sales — for New York City’s doormen, concierges, ushers, firefighters, police officers, hotel staff, maintenance workers, servicemen and many more. Jennifer is particularly passionate about custom work, which allows for additional creativity and collaboration. She started JLB Designs as a division of I. Buss & Allan to address her clients’ design needs and to become known as one of the only custom design uniform shops in New York City. The vast majority of uniform manufacturers do not have design divisions, and thus have a harder time competing with full-service institutions such as I. Buss & Allan.
In addition, inspired by the creative work she is involved in at I. Buss & Allan, Jennifer decided to start her own clothing line – Pipenn — to offer unique signature designs to urban women. A designer at heart, she had been creating her own clothes for a while and receiving numerous requests from friends to purchase them. Her made-to-order couture line includes suits, dresses, tops, and jumpsuits in custom prints, as well as a less formal everyday collection of t-shirts, hoodies, and bags.
“I. Buss & Allan tripled in size after I took over.”
Over the years, I. Buss & Allan has faced several challenges, but the most gratifying work has involved taking the family business into the 21st century, modernizing it, and offering a unique selling proposition. Jennifer has been successful thanks in part to going after large accounts such as large commercial real estate and hospitality groups. Under her leadership, the business has tripled in size, expanded both its product offerings and the space it occupies.
Of course, COVID has also brought a new set of challenges, with most of the team getting sick in March of 2020. Once healthy again, the whole team went back to the office, with Jennifer in charge of leading the business while simultaneously managing everyone’s anxieties along with her own. Today, manufacturing has picked up, yet I. Buss & Allan remains the only fully operational business in their building. Jennifer hopes to return to pre-pandemic sales levels soon, and expand her team to win additional contracts. The critical elements of success for I. Buss & Allan have always been quality, service, and talent; thanks to this winning combination, she knows that her 129 year-old company will keep thriving.