Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merrow Edge hem from Lew Magram


a quick shot of the skirt

Lew Magram : apparel : suitsandsets : Romantic 2-Piece Skirtset - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
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charlie merrow Merrow

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

Merrow edged Pashima shawl


for sale on etsy, a Merrow Edged shawl

Etsy :: simplementM :: Pashmina shawl - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
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charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Curiosity


As we roll into another 12/25, a quick reminder of the enthusiastic curiosity of one Dr. Feynman

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

merrow (plantable) shirt from Etsy


i posted this, and then did a double take.

this shirt can be planted. it will then grow. into something.

yup. after it was posted Robyn read the description out loud .... i quote:

Our hangtag includes an insert that can be planted into the ground to grow beautiful flowers.

mark this -- the first piece of clothing i've ever seen that can be worn, washed, and grown into something beautiful. will wonders never cease.

....



courtesy of etsy -- a merrow edged shirt
Etsy :: hinix :: Hinix Tees - Back To Roots - Charcoal Organic T-shirt MEDIUM - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
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Etsy :: hinix :: Hinix Tees - Back To Roots - Charcoal Organic T-shirt MEDIUM - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
Etsy :: hinix :: Hinix Tees - Back To Roots - Charcoal Organic T-shirt MEDIUM - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the smart stitch


Apparently we've missed the best thing to happen to sewing machines in years. However, feeling an obligation to reward success when it's warranted, we've decided to re-publish the essay describing this newest of innovations in our field.

Congratulations Mahmood Inc., hat's off. Wish we'd been there first....


New Portable Sewing Machine Lets Sweatshop Employees Work On The Go
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

blog with Merrow machines


today i was emailed a blog that discusses the merrow pearl stitch machine

jump to the joys of industrial machines here
charlie merrow Merrow

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

merrow stitch tee-shirt


we're a couple weeks from showcasing the new offices. in the mean time here's a bit of merrow stitched goodness from Stewart+Brown


Stewart   Brown Longer Merrow Tee in Slate - Womens Apparel at Vickerey
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the move


What a day!

we've moved. and what a place we've moved to....


A long time ago Fall River, MA was the epicenter of fabric production. Out of our new south facing windows we look at the Durfee Buffington building; once the largest textile mill in the world.


Today we are residents of 502 Bedford St., and take up the top floor of a 132 year old Mill Building. Merrow is spread across 30,000 sq. feet with terrific views of a half dozen other mills, and most of Fall River.


It will take us another six to eight weeks to finish the renovation. But as of right now, we've got new digs. And it feels great.




charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

the off season Merrow Stitched bathing suit


 for todays eye-catching Merrow Stitched wonderwork we've chosen something that will keep the cold at bay --- well, kind of.

Newport-News: Women's Clothing, Sportswear, Shoes, Jeans, Special Sizes, and more | Product Page
jump to the suit here: http://www.newport-news.com/
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Dolce Coat with Merrow Pearl Stitching


It's been a busy week -- we keep building things.

While i'll remain coy about the latest project, it's high time for a Merrow Stitched Product update. And we've found a great one today.

Here is a Dolce & Gabbana coat available at the Fashion Boudoir

FashionBoudoir, Inc. - Fashion Marketplace
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

a close up of the coat:

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

yes


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Merrow edged napkins from Wasserstrom


For a long time a napkin edge was our domain. A delicate edge on a napkin is hard to do and adds a bit of the je ne sais quois. Today most napkins are mass produced and work towards the cheap...

so when someone goes ahead and makes something of quality we're primed, ready and willing to endorse said thing of quality -- here is your napkin of the day:

SoftWeave Merrow Stitched Napkin, Cadet Blue, 20
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Evilness


buy some evil stitching

Evil Stitching Mug from Zazzle.com
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

latest merrowed edge find...


the peter nyguård collection posts this:

www.nygard.com - Nygard Collection US - Petite Smocking & Ruffle Detail Knit Top
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Great Museum


Harry Berzack has a great sewing machine museum. It's really, really, good.



If you want to see a great history of the sewing machine, harry's soldiers are lined up quietly in a small office in Charlotte NC.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, October 23, 2008

IFAI wrap up


here are some pictures-- i should have time to label them later. included are david zwicker, lonnie schwartz (both from superior sewing). Jason from Dunlap Sunbrand (talking with dave). A heroic shot of murray feit from consew and some bad pics of the party afterwards and the show through a window. Not the best photography (grimacing...) but should give a feel for what was what.

and did i mention,
it's over.


From IFAI show 10/22/08

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day one wrap up ifai


Not bad.

The show is not well attended but there were some good customers here.
And this was time well spent.

The trade show itself is archaic...the concept that is. Companies that
spend this kind of money should be interacting more.. And most of the
time most of the people are just standing around

On to dinner in charlotte ..

merrow.com

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Germany


The Germans are here.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Ifai update


The picture is harry berzak in front of a merrow display.

So far the show seems slow. It doesn't help that there is no wifi or
cell signal in the hall.

I've met with 4 merrow customers. More on this later...

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Merrow stitch @ ifai


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a list of the world's oldest companies


Merrow is an old company....how old?

to put a fine point on it, it appears that Merrow is the 1356 oldest company still in business in the modern world. This is tracked back to 587 AD !

ok -- before i doubt on the data -- out of all of the companies that have ever existed... AND made it to today, there are only one thousand three hundred and fifty odd older than Merrow. wooohooo!

this according to the NationMaster encyclopedia

sometimes you don't want to be reminded of your age -- at 170 we're kinda past that. And, as I was emailed a link yesterday to a list of the world's oldest companies, i couldn't really help posting...
This list of the oldest companies includes brands and companies excluding associations, educational, government or religious organizations. To be listed; a Brand, Family Business or Company name must remain, either whole or in part, since inception. If the original name has since changed due to acquisitions or renaming, this must be verifiable on their website.
If you didn't click above, here is the list.

Ok. no one here is taking this seriously (not sure what about it would be serious anyway...) I mean who has business records back to 587AD. And what happened to the poor smithy who put out a shingle in 586? Big questions, little answers. In the mean time we should have shirts made up.... ;)
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stewart Brown, great design and Merrow Stitching...


stewartbrown: long sleeve lengthen tee
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


We've been looking through the Stewart+Brown catalog, and I've got to tell you -- it's worth another look. Fantastic designs, a great ethic
Stewart+Brown believes in optimizing their designs and lives to attain the highest standards of quality and functional style while extracting the bare minimum from Earth's precious capital.
and lots of Merrow stitched clothing. Beautiful stuff.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Merrowed Ribbon


we've had some cool ribbon samples in the building or a while. sewn ribbon.... the merrow edged ribbon often has wire fed into the stitch. The effect is pliable and i'm going to guess, long lasting ribbon. The ribbon bizaar sells it here

Untitled
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


Ribbon Bazaar - Browse Merrowed Ribbon
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


Untitled
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

overlock needles (the merrow brand)


quickly: Merrow needles are overlock sewing needles -- for those inclined to wonder?..? and as the top selling item here at the new merrow i've rewritten the pages to include the configurator, stitch samples and other niceness.

take a look. let me know what you think

note the merrow kooltorr needles -- black and heat proof. enjoy.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Dolce Gabbana with Merrow Stitching


the folks at Dolce Gabbana have designed a dress with Merrow purl (pearl) stitching... and it's a trip...

wow! (for a cool $2,650)

Dolce & Gabbana - Psychedelic Seamed Dress - eLUXURY
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the windham textile museum


On saturday I drove to Willimantic CT to the Windham Textile Museum.

We have loaned 6 Merrow Machines to the museum for their terrific sewing machine retrospective. Among them are: the oldest Merrow Machine known to us, one of the most interesting, and a couple that did a great deal of the heavy lifting in the industry for much of the 20th century.

Thank you Michelle et al. for the opportunity to participate. I would encourage anyone who is interested to take time this fall to visit.

If you're feeling reluctant give me a call, i'll talk you into it... ;)



charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

anticipating a line of merrow refurbished machines


Ever wonder who builds sewing machines? This is a two minute video where we interview Spencer Barros and Justin Monteiro about the new line of refurbished machines built by Merrow


Merrow building Program for refurbished machines from Merrow SMC on Vimeo.

We expect to have limited stock of Merrow refurbished machines available on 11/1/08
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Merrow on display at the Windham Textile Museum


Our history, which dates back to 1838, is being partially profiled in CT through December 28th.

We're still working on what machines to display, but it's possible that the rare 'Fascinator' and one of the worlds first overlock sewing machines could make an appearance.

For more information contact

Michele Palmer
Curator
Windham Textile & History Museum
www.millmuseum.org

The Mill Museum
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charlie merrow Merrow

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

Update to the support pages


We toyed around with some lightweight javascript to make it easier to view the technical drawings for the machines.

This is what we've come up with -- you get here by clicking on 'support' and then on 'parts book' and then on a specific model of machine

or just click on the picture....

The Merrow Sewing Machine MG-3U interactive Parts Book
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charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, October 6, 2008

the community


Merrow has been around a long time -- but in the industrial markets. As we begin the process of reaching out beyond the mills and production plants, we feel a little out of our element (but not much... ;)

So when someone takes the time to make us feel at home -- we thank you.

And after reading through the sewingwithstyle website i'd direct anyones attention

here -- history of cotton fabrics

or here-- some sewing insight
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, October 4, 2008

the soft launch.... update


so the soft launch (of the new merrow website) on the 19th of sept. has been a success -- to the degree that most everything is working and we're uncovering problems as helpful people browse the site and find errors. (send them to me, charlie at merrow dotcom)

So far this is what we expected would happen. Sort of.

In order to get the site up we're holding back a couple of cool features -- these we'll bake until ready hopefully around the new year. In the mean time we expected most people to be excited about things like the stitch viewer, which has at our last count a lot more examples of stitching than you can find most places....

and the video section. Seriously, i'd thought that this would be just, well, beyond.

but no. apparently not.

people love the store, the support pages (which still need to be fixed...working on that today...) and
--the merrow community now merrowing.com--
(which is, admittedly really cool) -- but not the Videos?!? or the Stitch Samples?!?

---
there is a lot to love -- and the point of the soft launch was to see what works and what doesn't.

we'll tune, repair and rework things to make it resonate on 11/1.

Which is the launch date.
--

Send us your feedback. Tell me what you like and don't. We'll do everything make merrow.com work for you
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the blog rolls


We're now checking blogs... turns out there are a number of people with Merrow issues that don't know we're here to help --



there is also some interesting information we've found....
here's a great synopsis of the evolution of the serger and Merrow's role in it (also happens to be a good overview of our history)
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Product Availability


Different parts of the new site are attracting attention -- interestingly the Ziggurat on both Amazon and Merrow has been a strong performer.

On Amazon you can find it here

and on Merrow it's here --

I'd like to think that it's because of the new colors.... ;)

Merrow Products for 2008
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Website updates


Additions through wednesday:

We've added a revised HD stitch viewing section. It is available here.

Here's a screen shot of the new stitch viewer

the High Definition Sewing Video Pages for Merrow
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


We've adjusted the coordinates for 65 agents to better describe their locations.

We've added several videos, threading a MG-3DW-2 and a MG-3Q-3 (they're available on the HD video viewer



__
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, September 29, 2008

art imitating life.... or just really funny?


...and so much for an apolitical corporate blog

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

remote post...


Setting up the mobile blogging app... All running well.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Merrowing Advert



Merrowing Advert
Originally uploaded by merrowmachine

This weekend I was using the Google Book search and came across an old Merrowing advert. Pretty cool...

You can find it here


if you're interested.

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MDCCCXXXVIII


Merrow was established in 1838. One Hundred and Seventy Years Ago...

Today we publish a little esoterica from the year MDCCCXXXVIII...

In 1838 Sam Houston was president of Texas.

The Pastry War got Santa Anna out of his rocker

and the Man with the Freakiest Wink died with an oddly ironic name and a nickname that aged as poorly (Bunyan of Wales)

--
for more on 1838

read on
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

---


we just launched....

no one knows -- ***looking over shoulder*** --
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

soft launch


well -- we've rolled the site out internally. we should be testing all week and readying a soft launch on friday. (that is a launch without the party....)
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Unrelated to work... or is it?




charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day


for us September is the beginning of the season. Europe comes off holiday and everyone begins preparing production for the Christmas season.

....and we're now days away from launching the website. all told, it should be a great season for Merrow.


Blogged with the Flock Browser
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, August 15, 2008

movies


there may be no oscar in our future... but today and this weekend the video pages get done and the video processed.




Blogged with the Flock Browser
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Product Pages.... almost done


the product pages -- what we make, what it does, why it matters....

are // almost // done

sneak peak of the zigg pages

Re: Merrow Products for 2008
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Blogged with the Flock Browser
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

surprises all around


holy cow!

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Needle Configurator


I can't get tired of saying ' i just built a needle configurator'

Sounds a little Dr. Who? It isn't.

It is infact all Merrow. In an effort to make our products easy to undestand we've built a tool using MIT exhibit technology that organizes and cross references our needles.

It is ... well, awesome.

Re: Merrow, designers of the Stitch
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!



Blogged with the Flock Browser
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

t minus ....


the origin of T minus Fritz Lang's 1929 film Frau im Mond

how about the website

today we built the agent stores. why is this cool? because the merrow store is getting better every day and now anyone selling our products can have their own branded store...

that's right -- we've built stores for hundreds of agents. custom stores...custom content, custom everything...

it started off as a novel idea-- how can our website help people sell.

Most everything we've done with the website is try to help people understand what we do. So on a lark we tried building a store for an agent... and that's when the *ah-ha* thing happened.... we can do this for everyone. or everyone who it would matter to.

So now as long as the agent signs up and agrees to customize the content we'll release a custom storefront for them.

How's that for innovative...

And the blank stare says 'when are we gonna see it.... ' . Right.

on its way....

Blogged with the Flock Browser
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, August 9, 2008

3 month rest


for three months we've been readying our new website. 3 months inside with fluorescent light and very little else.

This blog has suffered -- as I resolved to not post until the new website was released on ...cough,cough.. june 4.

so that didn't turn out so well. now it's august 9th and we're almost there.

this is exciting stuff. we've invested thousands of hours into this project with the modest goal of releasing the best site in the industry.

----
the new blogeresolution will be to post bits about the site until it goes live --

While you wait check out some of our stitches on flickr



charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the second shot on flickr



[365]154 - 4.20.2007
Originally uploaded by vintagestitches

the second of the aforementioned pictures

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, April 25, 2008

Merrow pics of Flickr



4.20.2007
Originally uploaded by vintagestitches

We put up some pictures of our machines on flickr and a quick search found two cool shots of old Merrows....

charlie merrow Merrow

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

MG2DNR1



MG2DNR1
Originally uploaded by merrowmachine

A picture of our Pearl Stitch machine (or purl stitch...??).

This machine will be available from Merrow in the fall of 2008. Handbuilt in the USA.

Stitch samples are available upon request

charlie merrow Merrow

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

70-1D-7-CNP



70-1D-7-CNP, originally uploaded by merrowmachine.

the Merrow Butt Seamer for knits in wet environment. Hand-built in the USA.

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Adding machine pictures to Flickr


Here are some machine glamour shots loaded to flickr for public use
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Buying Travel


Sometimes as i'm hunting for tickets I run across great sites and kick myself for not having known earlier.

Here are a couple

for hotels
a great google map mashup called mapchannels

I read about it here. For an overview take a look-- but I bet that you end up using it so long as the business model of providing great information free (thank you click through advertising) holds.

for airfare
another aggregator or meta search called momondo
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008


After a long trip I think it's important to make sure everyone is clear --

the thank you cards are in the mail .
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

Firenze travel pics


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Como travel pics


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Merrow


The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone interested, updated about Merrow. In this case it will be just a bit reflective

This post is a short excerpt from a letter drafted for the Management at Merrow.

__________

After traveling for close to two full months i've learned a lot about our business.

On the train several days ago I met a lebanese businessman and his son. They were curious about Merrow and we talked easily about our challenges and theirs. After a time the fat one asked if we had considered partnering with a company in the textile business who needed distribution worldwide and brand credibility (we haven't).

He went on to clarify his point, that these are things that cost millions to develop and more valuably take years and years to do. Operating in a global environment is one of the most expensive and challenging elements of the modern business.

Most companies who are not global simply cannot afford to build or operate the sales structure that Merrow has.

He had correctly seized on two of Merrow's major assets. There are others. A list of six:


1. management (our team is talented & ambitious)
2. brand recognition (151 countries visited Merrow.com in the last year)
3. product design (high quality, diverse range)
4. customer base (our customer list reads like a whose who in textiles)
5. global distribution (trained distribution in every major market in the world)
6. history (170 years in business)


I could as easily list sixteen things that Merrow needs to work on. In fact I think we spend most of our time (as we should) focused on the areas needing improvement.

Which is why I took the time to write this. I encourage everyone to take a step back, enjoy the things we do well as a company.

______
Over the next two months we will explore on this blog some of the things that make Merrow unique. As much to echo what i've heard over the past two months as to introduce new ideas. Again, perspective is important and I think our customers, our company and our distributors will benefit in the process.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, March 17, 2008

from Firenze


decaf cafe american.
that is UHMEHRIH-CAN KAWFY

I don’t do this often but sitting next to a table of 7 americans ordering desert in a lovely little spot in florence at 10 odd PM is amusing and i pulled my laptop out.

Whereas the chinese tourist orders in a confused way, the uhmehrihcan orders as though the waiter is both retarded and deaf

why?
I don't know.

Couple of suggestions:

1. sometimes ordering from a menu in a foreign language is difficult. If you don’t like a type of food, learn the word for this in the local language. Unfortunately if english isn’t spoken well at said restaurant, when you loudly and with much hand waving try telling the waiter that if he serves you nuts you’ll die, he may simply think you’re nuts and probably serve you pistachios.

2. Also, unless someone tells you otherwise, or your eating at the new cooking school for veterans of heavy artillery, the waiters don’t have a busted tympani, they speak EYETALYIN. You took the time to buy a ticket, pack and travel to a new place. Why insist that it is the olive garden?

________
A guilty footnote. I only speak english. And while a trained monkey would be more impressive speaking Italian than I, I’d like to think that the waiters don’t feel like circus animals themselves after I order. Then again I utilize a repertoire of six italian words like it was the OED (OID?). Maybe this is worse.

Who knows -- i’m actually looking around right now to see if anyone is writing a blog entry about the foolish american who is writing about americans.....
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, March 15, 2008

no text, just a few pics


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Italian Tubes


a system of clogged tubes.

The Italians, I maintain, are terrific people. Not the nicest, not the most outgoing.... but terrific.

I don’t like midwest nice. Never have. The Italians don’t suffer from the Indiana Accommodation Anxiety. IAA. Defined in degraded centers of learning as a relentless drive to please. This is not an Italian gene.

Now why bother with cheap psychology? Because I still can’t get online and I need to Explain this somehow.

I really think the Italians don’t care out of the generosity of their own culture. Italians have a lot more to do than check email. And if you’re here (which incidentally doesn’t really concern them either), then the internet isn’t what you should be looking at....

Or. And this is just as plausible. Ted Stevens was the consultant hired to develop their IT backbone:




It is much more entertaining to watch it set to music once you understand how absurd this is

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

travel update from Como Italy


My guess is that it’s more interesting when I upload pictures. That the first reaction to a long block of text is ‘...scroll...scroll...scroll...no pictures?’

My apologies then.

But I am not in a part of the world that believes in bandwidth. In fact in Como I walked 3 miles to find an internet access pt. (AND I had my laptop open for blocks at a clip trying to steal someone's wireless -- nada)

This blog has been long overdue a travelogue. Here she is:

I left Poland for Istanbul a week ago perhaps. At the airport I was picked up and we began immediately on a lightening tour of the major sites of the city. And it is a city which in large part feels like a chapter from my 6th grade social studies book. Everywhere I looked something recognizable. Between this and egypt combined with the frenetic pace of the tour (i’m here for business...not vacation) I try not to exaggerate when i say my head hurts.

It’s almost comic. How can you rush through the Hagia Sophia like your walking through your house after a maid has come to make sure it’s clean. Room A, check. Room B, check. Room C, hmm not quite sure, spend an extra ten seconds inspecting, ok check.....

I visited the santa sophia, the blue mosque, the byzantine cistern, the sultans palace, gallata tower, the old city, the fort (i forget embarrassingly what it was called), the hippodrome, roman aquaduct, various relics, and seveal more mosques. I inspected the ancient jewels and armour and cooking pots from the sultans. Their clothing is odd, the necks are maybe a size 13 (tiny) and the arms are two times the length of a persons (they looked just like they would have clothed john cleese in the monti python sketch when he has really long arms....)

What did I think of Istanbul? It’s western, modern. I enjoyed great restaurants and time on the bosporus by boat. Anyone comfortable in the west would be fine in Istanbul, it’s easy and safe.

I was disappointed. Like spicy food one of the things I enjoy about travel is the challenge. From the eyes of a tourist istanbul melts like warm butter. In part this was because of my host, in part it’s because Istanbul wants to be like Paris or London or San Francisco, and it’s well on its way.

I am writing from Como Italy. How exotic. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And it has been perhaps the most troubling part of this trip. The adventure here was amusing-- but the stay here has been exasperating.

I need internet access and electricity. Without this I am hamstrung. Italy is a lot of things but it ain’t a technology town. Unfortunately I had to stay at a charming hotel in the city, replete with all of the modern advances from 1960. If I didn’t have so much to do, the remote control with a chord attaching it to the TV would have had me in stitches. Without outlets even charging my computer was frustrating.... and as I mentioned no internet.

Today I have no obligations in the morning -- and by all rights I should be outside at least seeing this city --it’s 21c degrees and dazzling with snow capped mountains a great lake picture-book blue skies and substantial Roman walls and ruins. But after a late dinner last night and no access to power in the room overnight to charge the 30lb of electronics I travel with, It is necessary to sit where I am now jammed in a corner hoarding an outlet I’ve found at another hotel lobby in town. Anyone so much as walks to close to this outlet is in for it....

Between hunting for electricity and lightening tours of matchless historic sights, i’ve been eating.

Compared to Asia the food is, well, maybe not as interesting to write about. In Turkey I had some fish of the most extraordinary quality in places that were fit for a king. In fact at one restaurant I went to the mens room and ran into secret service standing uncomfortably close to the facilities with little white earbuds dangling from the left ear conspicuously down back of their necks. Two of them. In a very small bathroom. Standing too close. I’ve never liked the idea of secret service and their prying eyes but this was ridiculous.

Apparently the Romanian President was dignifying the commode with his royal bottom. Perhaps if important enough you should feel comfortable with two gorillas standing quietly in the bathroom waiting for you. Personally I felt bad for the guy.

The food was consistently delicate and sort of boring.

The most interesting was pink flat fish about the size of a trash-can lid covered in pimples looking like it had suffered a devastating case of small pox.

And then I got to Italy. Wine is sublime, prosciutto comes in 8 different varieties and you can actually get a digestif. Why Americans insist that brandy or sambuca is a digestif is beyond me. The place is gorgeous. The people are gorgeous. This is a magnificent country.

They eat better, dress better and swear better in Italy. What can I say.

So back to my outlet and quest for internet access. My precious little outlet that the italians have forsaken for food, clothing and colorful language.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

italy


I woke up in italy.

This is a sliver of what i saw in turkey
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Istanbul


don't have much time -- have taken hundreds of pictures (unfortunately i think there is likely to be a blog post sometime in the not to distant future with the backlog of pics).

i leave for milan today

couple of quick thoughts on istanbul

1. the flag is spectacular. was on the bosporus by boat the other night and over the hagia sophia there was a 1/4 moon -- within the frame of the camera there was also a monster sized, hilltop perched and brightly lit up deep red turkish flag (which is a crescent & start).

2. could attaturk possibly be offered in more curious poses? Every picture of the man ever taken regardless of circumstance (he was standing in line at the post office...) is posted throughout this city -- they adore this man -- the most sincere adoration as well. His bust is everywhere, his head is everywhere, and these strange pictures of his every public move are 2X3 and 4X5 (feet) framed and hanging

3. the history of the city will make your head explode. a lightening tour of a museum could cause serious medical issues

4. traffic is horrible

5. the city is more modern than i imagined. it's like a european san francisco in places (and in others like sprawling LA apartment blocks

6. there is stagflation

7. we can do a lot of business here

8. i'm sorry to have to leave
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Merhaba


It is saturday. I am working and this is terrific.

One of the differences between travel & working and the alternative (which would be work) is the subtle time shift. The workday becomes something unrecognizable.

For instance there is no defacto day-off. If one wants a break one must force it.

And the hours of operation are always odd. Some days, as I did yesterday, the traveling starts at 6AM and ends at 5:30PM. In between are three hours where I wrote 30 odd email. At the end (the 5:30 side) I met with our Turkish distributor and spent the next 6 hours with them at the office and then eating.

Once back I tried to spend time on the phone with the office wrapping the day up around midnight.

In turkey Saturday is not a day off (in the Arabic world it is Sunday that people work taking friday off) so my workday will follow the pattern of behaviour here with the grand exception that afterwards I'm sure i'll spend the evening eating and drinking our good friends and business partners. If one doesn't consider this work they haven't done it....

Perhaps this isn't an appropriate place to illustrate the type of schedule is kept while traveling. But on the other hand I'm not sure what works on this blog and what doesn't.

What is important to note is that as a result of the effort the improvement of our relationships to the distributors in Europe is marked.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, March 7, 2008

local SIM cards are for crazy people


The problem with a mobile phone.

Or there isn't a problem at all i guess if you don't care about what it costs. I do, and consequently researched phones and local rates before this trip.

My strategy: buy a SIM card in each country i visited. In this case egypt, poland, turkey and italy. I looked at the local rates etc. and set off to assimilate seamlessly into each locale by adopting a local number and benefiting cleverly from low costs.

The whole thing was/is a bad idea

Aside from my phone only working when i'm in the country with the SIM card (eg. not in any airport en route somewhere else), my number changing every 3 days, and the absurd prepay situation, THE ABSOLUTE WORST are the directions in Polish. Arghhh.... the hours i spent trying to figure out what Witamy Cie w swiecle SIMPLUS! DZIEKUJEMY ze dolaczyles do NAS. meant.

The mobile phone instructions are all in english, but the SIM card is all in polish. A friendly Pole wouldn't be able to make heads or tales of the phone and obviously I wasn't doing well with the polish.

To get voicemail i would push a 'messages' button. This was the last station for english all stops ahead were polish. I'd hear a menu, guess a number (though i was never sure if the announcement was offering a choice) listen to polish techno music and end up in another menu with a patient but cryptic sounding polish woman who may or may not be offering to play me voicemail messages. I'd offer a '3' and perhaps be rewarded with familiar sounding voice wondering why i wasn't returning my calls. More likely I wouldn't, so I apologize if you have called me and i've not called back.

How did end up here, without any distinctive advantage to my clever strategy?

I'm not sure. But please don't try calling me to discuss, my phone doesn't work in prague.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

that nomadic feeling


the last 12 hrs. are lost (aren't they always i guess). In this case i snapped some pictures.

the breakfast at the below mentioned hotel this morning was unordinary for two reasons. 1. it was awesome. 2. it was free. rarely do the two lines intersect :



i write from the prague airport:
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, March 6, 2008

to walk away from a hotel


stay away from the Hotel in poland.
a caveat for the literal, sleeping outside of the hotel, this is not advised. it is cold in warsaw in march.

but if you want a taxi, walk two blocks from the hotel at least, before ordering, or pay 2 times the price. If you want to eat walk 10 feet from the hotel and pay 50% less. walk 500 feet and pay 65% less. Should shopping or internet or laundry services require your attention run don’t walk from the hotel to save a nickel.

the hypocrites letter. how else am i going to do laundry. at 10:30 at night with 15degrees out side can I really walk the streets hunting for a taxi (in newyork sure, in warsaw it doesn't work). when breakfast is an 18 second elevator ride can I refuse. no of course not.

if the rule is always leave the hotel to eat (except for breakfast because hotel espresso is usually much better unless you’re lucky enough to be in italy...) then you Try to find other places to eat.

i don't write about hotels generally as it begs unwelcome judgement. tonight though i'm staying at the airport hotel okecie, and for the money i will happily recommend this place. it costs 1/3 less than the marriot and is just as nice.

A last thought. Ordering water with gas never gets old. Even at the hotel.

Do widzenia
charlie merrow Merrow

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

polish toilets


A polish bathroom starts with a door labeled for everyone but aliens. Only one door however, and despite the excess of options on this one door it is not marked well from a distance.

The splitting of handicapped and sex happens once inside after entering a small antechamber. Through this door is a second antechamber, small with sinks. Taking a hard 90 degree turn, invariably it's not straight on, through another door this time unmarked and you arrive at the desired place. Presumably you've chosen wisely and there aren't wildebeest or something else that surprises you there. Regardless of how hasty your retreat is prepare for the worst. Because when you decide to leave the chances are good, not great but good, that you will make a mistake on the way out and end up in the utility closet.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

rare birds


Poznan is a simple smallish show. It is not well attended by customers (end users) but full up with exhbitors.

If asked 'how is the show' the standard reply would be 'shite, but we must be here and we had a good Presence this year don't you agree?' or 'it's good, good, the show is very good don't you agree?.'

In my opinion the show is neither. There are certainly some people buying things but it is an exhibitors show. Lot's of peacocks preening. And not enough oggling.

Was it worth the trip? Sure.

Despite this, the Poznan show may go the way of the dodo. I'm not sure how long a show like this can be justified for just the peacocks.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

poland pics


charlie merrow Merrow

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

Monday, March 3, 2008

panhandling in Prague


the travel industry doles out humility as a good barman might beer.

This time it was a muck up with the transmission or something with the plane in egypt. So a delay. But the look on the woman's face in Prague when I asked that instead of waiting 24hrs. for the next flight to Berlin i take a plane to Warsaw (it’s the same distance).... i swear she took a long deep breath ‘did he really ask me THAT?’

A great bit of shuffling around to offices behind the Travel Adjustment Desk and I was sorted. But not before I was reduced to begging.

The kid rollerblading around the terminal with maintenance people chasing her has cheered me up.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, March 2, 2008

my day in Egypt


600 pictures. the 1/2 day off on saturday was my egyptian trip.

i’m at the airport, it’s monday morning 2AM -- i’ll be boarding a flight at 3AM to prague and then berlin. From Poland where I arrive tomorrow night i’ll post more.

Today was great for business. We met with 4 large egyptian and one syrian customer. Good business, good orders, and great fun.

...enjoy the pics of the pyramids. I'll spare everyone pictures of sewing machines and finishing plants ;)

charlie merrow Merrow

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

egpyt fair...


The industry shifts -- geographically as it has restlessly done for the last 50 years.

It is the rule that whole factories close down overnight and reappear in more affordable places. And people in the industry are dulled to this, almost tired, tolerating decades of uncertainty.

Turks move to Egypt. Pakistan grows, India shrinks, Vietnam is booming, bangladesh not so much. Russia, lots of money. Estonia slow.

But the net is a ridiculously cosmopolitan group, our businesses depend on governments, economies, trends and culture. Talking with any of the manufactures is to speak of a myriad of countries and political situations. People have been--- everywhere.

We get on airplanes, land in strange cities and follow the business. It's really kind of wild, exciting, challenging.... and almost no one agrees with me.

Visiting Cairo is work -- it's 1AM. This is an exhausting day. But what a day it was...

Here are some pictures from the drive in, the show etc...

charlie merrow Merrow

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

Friday, February 29, 2008

trade show


after 1/2 day a the tradeshow a couple of observations:

1. should have brought business cards from past shows.... lots of familiar faces
2. it's overrun by turks and chinese
3. there are NO high-end sewing machines... and no butt-seam machines on display (there should be....)

The collection of equipment and vendors is impressive enough to warrant the trip -- the customers here are good customers. But the real value of Egypt for Merrow are Factory visits. Tomorrow and the day after we'll see another 5 or so.

And no upstream data to speak of-- so no pictures for the time being.
---
charlie merrow Merrow

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

to the Desert!


I just don’t have enough information. To write anything about Egypt or Cairo that would be reasonable should take longer than a days' observation. It has intimidating depth, this city.

So-- gross generalizations out the window -- a little travelogue with some color:

On the first full day in Cairo we began a trip out to the Desert rd. on our way to Sadat City. Cairo is a city of 17 million (unofficially) with 7 Million commuting into the city (unofficially). Lot’s of traffic. The process of getting to the Desert rd. was slow, and 1/5 of the distance we were intending to travel took 1/2 the trip. On the way out there are things that remind you that Cairo isn't kansas....



















The Desert Rd. was aptly named. I had never seen the desert, and this Rd. to Alexandria (which is 200km north) took us into into it. The abruptness of ‘City’ turns into of all things ‘Green Farm Land’ with labor and oxen, turning again in the span of 50 feet into endless gigantic golden desert... where there is nothing.

















Or apparently nothing. As we drove past an inconspicuous if not wide sand dune I was told it housed the Egyptian airforce (and it is the inconspicuous sand dune in the actual picture to the left...) Yep. After Israel annihilated their airforce in one day in 1968, the Egyptians moved the planes under the sand and I was told they come squirting out of gates (which I saw) with wings folded and in one motion unfold the wings and fly... reminded me of larva turning into mosquitos.











I met some Turks...


















and we ate well. No lunch -- but kebobs and pigeon for dinner.


















One thing that I think I can generalize about; Cairenes enjoy relaxing. There was a pace in that coffee bar, laughter and backgammon and water pipes, that seemed essential to Cairo. There isn’t alcohol to speak of, and the apartments are too hot in the evening. These open breezy coffee bars (where they serve juice and water pipes largely), seem designed to slow the pace down and give people a chance to wait out the heat until it’s cool enough to return home comfortably.

I enjoy Cairo even though I don't understand it... but this is probably ok.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

5,000 years later i arrive



CAIRO

this city that revels in the joys of noise
-----
in the hotel after a day traveling and dinner with our Egyptian agent. I am here

that is the Nile. In the morning the pyramids should be visible....

I am in Cairo.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Next Trip



On February 26th I leave for Cairo.

On March 3rd I'll be in Berlin.

On March 4th I'll be in Poznan

__________










_____

I grabbed tickets yesterday using Kayak, and ultimately paying cheaptickets.com. To prepare for this leg, which should be 11 days or so I went back to my journal and found a packing entry I drafted in Shanghai. Here it is...

things I should have packed....

1. a good GSM phone with address book synced to macbook
3. extra video camera/cell phone batteries
4. luggage locks
5. toilet paper
7. one camera/video bag 8. a satchel for the gobs of power cords and adapters
9. more gifts for my hosts
10. two pairs (not one) of jeans
11. lens cloth or cotton swabs
12. a good black long sleeve heavy shirt
13. more socks
14. one pair dress pants (not two)
15. one dress shirt (not three)
16. gloves/hat/scarf
19. extra pair of glasses
20. pocket calculator
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

you've noticed the layout changed...





With an odd hundred or so visits a day it's time for a new layout.

After visiting several sites to determine the most efficient and ruthlessly effective information distribution layout.... we're going to test this one out a bit and see how she feels...

Obviously if the posts aren't interesting the layout is moot-- so i'm done with this one. On to new adventures!
charlie merrow Merrow

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

Eating