Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pictures from last week's Merrow Innovation Article


Additional picture from last week's Merrow Innovation Article:

Ahead of the curve: Company using microsites to sell sewing machines




David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Friday, November 2, 2007

Merrow Innovation Makes Local News!


On Nov. 1 2007 Merrow made local headlines:

According to the Patriot Ledger, Merrow is leveraging an innovative marketing campaign based on microsites.

Here is a snipit of the article:


BUSINESS

ONLINE MARKETING - AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Company using microsites to sell sewing machines


Brothers Charlie, left, and Owen Merrow of Merrow Sewing Machine Co. look over the latest Web video for customers. (GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger)

By A.J. BAUER
The Patriot Ledger

WAREHAM - Merrow Sewing Machine Co.’s customers range from lingerie designers to fishing net manufacturers and hail from 85 countries.

Founded in 1838, the longtime Connecticut company moved to Wareham in 2004 when it was purchased by Charlie and Owen Merrow, descendents of the company’s founder. Since then Charlie Merrow, the company’s CEO, has focused on developing new ways to sell its sewing machines, which are capable of producing more than 6,000 different stitches.

Marketing to such a diverse constituency calls for a strategy just as nuanced as the myriad industries to which the company sells. Merrow believes he has found just such a strategy in what are known as microsites.

A microsite is a Web site, with a separate URL address than a corporation’s main Web site, that is geared toward marketing a particular product or service. They are generally simple to navigate and some try to be entertaining.

‘‘What microsites allow us to do is communicate very specific solutions to very specific customers within the industry,’’ Merrow said.

Merrow launched its first microsite in June and now has six unique English sites, four of which also have been translated into Spanish. Their content features close-up photos of stitches, videos, blogs, podcasts and, of course, basic information on how to buy the machine that makes the featured stitch.

While microsites have grown in popularity since their inception in the late 1990s, experts say companies engaged in business-to-business marketing have been generally slow to embrace it.

‘‘They forget they’re still marketing to people who still like to be entertained,’’ Bill Hanekamp, CEO of Chicago ad agency The Well, said of the typical business-to-business marketing strategy. ‘‘Even though a person may wear a suit, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to laugh or drink a beer, so treat them as such.’’

Hanekamp is a fervent advocate of microsites, so much that he blogs about them on his Web site Microsite.com. While he said he was unfamiliar with Merrow’s sites, he called its use of microsites ‘‘an exception’’ in the business-to-business marketing industry and said he expects more companies to follow suit.

‘‘The trends are clear, people are moving online and online presence is more important than ever before,’’ Hanekamp said.

William Rice, president of the Hartford, Conn., Web Marketing Association, which annually hosts a competition recognizing the Internet’s most effective Web sites, said he had not heard of Merrow. But Rice said the marketing tool is a natural fit for multi-niche manufacturers like Merrow.

‘‘When a salesman goes to see any prospective customer, the first thing the customer does is go online,’’ Rice said. ‘‘By giving them a Web site that fills all their needs, you can get them targeted and through the sales cycle that much quicker.’’

Merrow said the microsite strategy has already begun to deliver - as much as doubling sales for some of the machines featured on the sites. Encouraged, the company has set up a department devoted to creating new sites.

‘‘It lets us be nimble,’’ Merrow said. ‘‘We can get a phone call from a customer, have a sales meeting and within three days have a microsite that speaks to that application.’’
Robyn Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Merrow Stitch Pictures


We are constantly adding things to our internal archives -- i'm going to begin to use the blog to publish some of this data. Starting with stitch pics.

From emblems to blankets to everything in between -- we've got some interesting stitch pics. as we scan 'em i'll post 'em.


charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

test for mobile blogging




pic. of dave on boat coming back from new york. windswept & glam.



charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trip to the midwest


I flew out to harrisburg, PA and Evansville, IN (and owensboro, KY). Other than breaking my new macbook pro -- the trip was productive.

The thing about a small town airport are that the lines are hit or miss. In this case I hit it just right. (note the car in the lobby???) The picture below is of the lines in the harrisburg airport at 5:30PM on a monday.

The auto emblem machine (or AEM) as it was known in a prior life was in residence at one of the facilities. Even though it's ugly it was a sight to behold. One operator using 4 machines and sewing dozens of thousands of patches a day. Impressive
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fashion Institute of Technology



This past Friday, Charlie and I had a number of exciting, forward looking meetings again in New York in the Fashion District, one of which was at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), home to such notable design students as Calvin Klein, David Chu, President and Founder of Nautica International, Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway 2, Nina Garcia, Fashion Director at Elle, among many others.


We were excited to see over 80 Merrow machines in use by FIT's talented students and it was a great to know such notable designers (listed above) had honed their craft on Merrow machines, and that many more will do the same in the years to come!



The FIT students we spoke with were using a number of Merrow machines in a variety of ways for their fashion projects. The Pearl Stitch Machine was genereally utilized for the light luxe fabrics, as was the 3DW overedge. At one point in our visit, a FIT professor came up to us and asked that we assist her in configuring a specific Merrow machine for one of her senior students to develop a specific effect desired on an undergarment, as she hadn't been able to find the right machine. Lucky we stopped by!

We're looking forward to working with the FIT academic staff to help expand FIT student's understanding of stitching and their creative edging options as Merrow helps today's students develop tomorrow's fashions!
David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Thursday, October 4, 2007

SampleRoom Machines on the way!



I just ran into our manufacturing facility downstairs and took a quick picture on my cell phone of the new SampleRoom machines. They look great and we're excited to start rolling these out in the next month. The pictured machines are about 90% complete, pending specific configurations for SampleRoom designers.

More detailed "glamour" shots are coming soon but I thought you all would enjoy a quick preview of what's to come this fall!
David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Looking Press Coverage


In some cases the blog entry should be abbreviated; this is one of those cases.

Here is the cover & the story about Merrow. Enjoy.



charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Sunday, September 16, 2007

American Made


Earlier in the week I got a text message around 7PM. It said "'npr reported that there are no sewing machines made in USA' am clng NPR tomorrow"

Later in the week (in an entirely separate context) an employee asked whether the fact that some of our parts were sourced abroad compromised our 'Made in the USA' tag.

I think it's a healthy and exciting discussion. Merrow is a remarkable company, and our machines are made in the US.

Simply put:

१.we build all Merrow sewing machines in Wareham, MA. Our machines are built from scratch in Wareham, MA USA. We sweat and labour to make each machine great. And the world benefits from the effort.

२. Our parts come from all over the world-(which includes the US...) - some percentage come from the US, and the balance from places you need a passport to visit. We have excellent partners worldwide-- and who wouldn't want that to exist? Our business model requires us to find the best partners, the best employees to build the strongest company in the industry.... there are no borders that intimidate us, nor do we create artificial constraints that would prevent us from working with the best.

We are an American Sewing Machine Company; and this has nothing to do with why Merrow is a great company. It wouldn't matter if we made the machines on the Moon. It is the team, the business model, and the company that makes us unique. We believe that we can impact our customers more significantly than anyone else-- and we'll prove it machine by hand-built machine.

So NPR: I listen everyday, and I hope the next time you tackle sewing machines you get the story straight.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Monday, September 10, 2007

Merrow Press Release: Wet-Environment, Nickel-Plated Solution


9/7/07- Merrow Launches Wet-Environment Nickel-Plated Solution for the Merrow Butted-Seam Machine

Wareham, MA – September 7, 2007 – Merrow, Inc.® today introduced its Merrow Wet-Environment Nickel-Plated Solution for the end-to-end continuous loop butt-seaming process.

The 70-D3B2-CNP (Nickel-Plated) Merrow Butt-Seaming machine is engineered exclusively for wet, corrosive environments. Nickel-Plating is a modification to the Merrow Butt-seaming product line which has been a trusted tool for the continuous processing industry since 1964.

“Many of our customers operate the machines in tough environments,” said Merrow CEO Charlie Merrow. “We saw the Nickel-Plated machine as a way to best serve our customers by preserving the longevity of the Merrow Butt-Seaming machine.”

The Nickel-Coating is applied evenly throughout the surface of the frame as well as each individual part to ensure uniform protection against corrosive substances. It is the ideal solution for Dye and Bleach-houses, which expose the Merrow machine to various chemicals on a daily basis.

The Nickel-Plating itself has a bright, attractive finish, responding well to the grinding and polishing administered in the production process.

“Even a high-quality alloy such as a Merrow frame can corrode under certain toxic conditions,” said Director of Production, William Condon. “Nickel-Plating provides a solution for those customers operating in these specific, harsh conditions.”

President of Operations, Owen Merrow commented, “Nickel-Plating’s resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance, and attractive luster make it an ideal base material for Merrow’s high-end applications.”

The Nickel-Plated option is available for all Merrow Butted-Seam machinery variations, including the Gap Seam Machine, Rolled Seam Machine, Wide Butted-Seam Machine, the Stitch Multiplier, and the newly released High Pile machine.

WHAT IS A BUTTED SEAM?
The butted seam is the seam of choice for the endwise joining of piece goods. The Merrow line of butted seam machines includes models that will produce butted, gap, and overlap seams to achieve the optimum results, according to the fabrics and manufacturing processes used. Processing advantages include minimal material waste, reduced shrinkage and wrinkling, low bulk, and wet or dry fabric processing.

WHY USE A BUTTED SEAM?
In the processing of piece goods in continuous processing, it is often beneficial to join one or more pieces end-to-end. The overedge seam, or “Butted Seam” has been adapted to this work, as it attaches pieces end-to-end so that they may lie flat through processes including, but not limited to shearing, dyeing, and bleaching. The ends of the material are confined within the tight seam to reduce bulk, producing a flat, butted seam appropriate for many types of processing.

In a rolled piece of fabric, after finishing inefficient butted seams produce a “raised edge” which increased the area of the roll when the fabric is rolled together. It causes a substantial amount of wasted space and material. With the Merrow Butted Seam, the fabric remains flat no matter how large the roll becomes. An average savings of one quarter of a yard is achieved by using a Merrow Butted Seam.

WHERE IS A BUTTED SEAM USED?

RAYON/SILK FINISHING
The uniform drying qualities and the elasticity of the Merrow Butted Seam are of particular value in the processing of rayon fabrics through drying and tentering operations. With silk, the flatness of the saem aids in the processing and subsequent washing and drying processes. The seam will dry in the same length of time and under the same conditions as the rest of the goods.

WOOLENS AND WORSTEDS
The Merrow Butted Seam for Woolens and Worsteds allows processes such as dyeing, scouring, drying, shearing, and pressing to be made continuous by joining bolts of fabric with a thin, unobtrusive seam. The final product is uniform, with no shading or wrinkling at the seams.

COTTON FINISHING
The Merrow Butted Seam for the processing of cotton fabrics eliminates damage fo the fabrics due to wrinkling, shading of the goods by slow-drying seams, and “marking off” on the goods, which frequently occurs when bulky seams are processed through printing machines or calendars. The Butted Seam is valuable for such processes as bleaching, printing, napping, shearing, or singeing.

SPECIALTY/SYNTHETICS
Merrow has adapted their products to newly developed fabrics. Recently, Merrow has developed machines that are capable of sewing through extremely heavy and coated material such as leather, fur, airbag cloth, and ballistic Kevlar.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Merrow 70-D3B-2_CNP machine is currently available at a starting price of $3,899. The Nickel-Plated series is sold in the US direct and through certified Merrow distributors.

Merrow machines are covered by 30-year warranties on cam, shafts, and housing frame.

ABOUT MERROW
Merrow has a proud heritage of installing innovation and precision engineering on every machine. Ease of use, clean operation, and refined components reflect more than 167 years of leadership in the textile industry.

For more information on the 70 Class Nickel-Plated series, please visit:

www.merrow.com
(800) 431-6677

email:
info@merrow.com
David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Recent Merrow Press Releases


David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Friday, September 7, 2007

New Hampshire


New Hampshire. Skiing, Hiking, Mt Washington --sure, but textiles? Not the first place that comes to mind as a hotbed for American Textile manufacturing.

On Thursday, David Rosenberg and I drove north. Our mission was SampleRoom partnerships-- and we got more than we signed up for.

First stop was to a new butted seam customer. A company who is working on a project that would replace steel with composites in the defense industries. After an hour or so, we came to an agreement and Merrow is now partnering to help develop the next generation of reinforced composites for the military.

Second stop, Velcro USA. A Merrow customer and a huge company.

Third stop, Ragged Mountain. Meeting with Rob Nadler, president of RM. In three hours Rob taught us a lot about the industry. His business is, in our very humble opinion, awesome. RM makes great stuff, partners with competitors who make great stuff, and manages to sell it all out of a shop in North Conway.

Ragged Mountain is a company that we would be proud to partner with-- and after a long discussion of SampleRoom and our business plan, we think that our trip to North Conway was likely the first of many.

Ragged Mountain, in so many words, gets it. They get that being competitive means being flexible, efficient, clever and enterprising. That a company can be competitive and not be a difficult place to work (contrary to that, RM is a disarmingly comfortable facility). They faced the same challenges that killed off most, if not all, of similar sized manufacturers-- and they're running on all cylinders from the looks of it.

After visiting with Rob, David and I both bought some Ragged Mountain gear and headed back to MA, surprised and encouraged by what we discovered in New Hampshire. Moreover we made a HUGE step forward with respect to SampleRoom. The concept is almost complete and and the details will be forthcoming over the next three months.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Merrow Today


I wanted to start off the blog by posting a description of our business model-- it is important that people who share in the Merrow community understand to some degree how complete a company merrow is.

Merrow Inc. is comprised of three business units:

1. Merrow Sewing Machine Co., incorporated in 1838, is the oldest manufacturer of sewing machines in the world. With 6000 stitches and sales (in 2006) to 85 countries worldwide, Merrow is one of the most influential brands in the industrial sewing industry. The Merrow Machine is often described as the ‘Rolls Royce®’ of sewing machine, and an estimated 250,000 are in use worldwide. Merrow Sewing Machines will often last dozens of years in a production environment (sometimes more than 80)

2. Merrow Design, since 2007, is an organization that is engaging designers and the general population in a dialogue about stitches and stitching. Stitching is a critical element in the construction of sewn goods, and can be a powerful design statement; the quality of that stitching and it’s variety are defined by Merrow. the Design unit manages two exciting projects at Merrow. the Merrow SampleRoom program(or Netflix® for Sewing Machines) and the licensing of the Merrow Edge®.

The SampleRoom program enables American designers and manufacturers to leverage Merrow’s 6000 stitch variations without having to purchase or service any equipment. This program effectively reduces the cost of design, the cost of manufacturing, and it increases the number of options available to both designers and manufactures. Merrow also packages and distributes thread and accessories as part of the SampleRoom program; products that have been paired with specific solutions by the Merrow Design Team.

The Merrow Edge® is a royalty based branding program that allows designers to further define the quality of their product by communicating to the consumer the integrity of the stitching. A Merrow Stitch, and consequently a Merrow Stitched product is more refined, more precise and more durable than any other. A product carrying the Merrow Edge® trademark guarantees that the consumer is purchasing a premium product.

3. Merrow Automation: since 2007. The Merrow Automation group is tasked with solving and marketing industrial production solutions using state of the art robotics and Merrow Sewing Machines. With three products in it’s portfolio, the Merrow Automation unit will release a new product every 8 months. Current live products include an automatic napkin sewing unit, a automatic emblem sewing unit, and a automatic railway (for sewing bolts of fabric together).
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Meeting with Body Magazine (FMMG)



On the way back from our meeting with one of our Automated Systems partners in New York City on Tuesday, Charlie and I stopped by Fashion Market Magazine Group. We met with Mozz Manzoor, Libby Dowd, and Nick Monjo of FMMG to discuss the Merrow SampleRoom program. While Merrow has been indirectly working with with the fashion world for the last 150 years, using edgings and stitches with a variety of concepts, “SampleRoom” is Merrow’s first pro-active approach to engaging designers. It’s a relatively new world for Merrow and we’re eager to learn as much as we can from industry professionals.

We met Mozz at the Lingerie Americas show in New York City in early August as we talked through the logistics behind SampleRoom with some of the world’s top designers. Mozz was kind enough to introduce us to some friends of his; most all provided fantastically positive feedback on the innovative program. Our Pearl Stitch and 3DW machines produce some enviable edges on fine, luxe lingerie, so the product itself was a pleasant introduction. Mozz told us he might attend 4 to 5 of these fashion shows in a month (it sure must be a tough job for a guy like Mozz considering the shows are full of lingerie-clad, professional models!).

Mozz welcomed us to the penthouse offices for FMMG, about 4 blocks west of times square and just north of the Lincoln Tunnel. The offices feature a full rooftop greenhouse garden area along with a very new-age, open desk arrangement in the lower, office area. What an office atmosphere!

Fashion Market Magazine Group has 4 publications under its auspices – Body, Fashion, MedicalApparel, and School Uniforms. Nick Monjo, who started FMMG about 25 years ago, runs an intriguing business. While their competition, for example, WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), runs the gamut in terms of the fashion industry, and is a publication that is found on every retail manager’s desk, FMMG’s publications are targeted to specific industries. It allows an advertiser to effectively target specific markets.

Charlie entertained Nick, Mozz, and Libby with where he sees the SampleRoom program moving over the next 1-2 years. Merrow is looking forward to a productive relationship and we see Body Magazine as a place where we can really reach our audience SampleRoom program.



One of the most interesting stories that we heard was from Libby Dowd, a senior writer for FMMG, who told us how entertaining it was for her to speak to designers about the next hot item each season, which tends to be based on what type of fabrics can be supplied by key manufacturers. Libby mentioned that seasonally, most designers end up talking about the same hot item as future popularity is determined by not a new idea, but what fabric will be supplied to the designers and fashion-houses. It seemed to us that this model of manufacturers and finishers dictating fashion trends to designers based on their own limited mechanical capabilities wasn't exactly logical. Shouldn't designers be the ones dictating the future trends? And why should any party's ideas be limited by hardware and capital expenditures?

This falls right into line with what Merrow is trying to do – shake up the fashion industry by making an industrial SampleRoom program available to young designers and providing the back-end of private label manufacturers for short-run production. . . . in the end, expanding the creative options of young designers. We hope Mozz sees Merrow as a potentially lucrative advertising partner for his Body publications, and as the design world is relatively new to Merrow, we see Mozz and his FMMG colleagues as partners in better understanding the fashion world.
David Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space