Thursday, February 12, 2009

merrow // technology // our role in the community



this morning i had a note on my desk, it read:

If you produce a clothing line, you'll want to see the best sewing machine site on the internet http://bit.ly/NYp2w

today we're going to repost a blog post from the fashion-incubator. Why? the glowing review of merrow's website has something to do with it...

...but that's not all. We believe that at our core we're a member of a large community, and that our job in that community is to interact with this group and bring awesome sewing machines with us. The judgment of the community matters. When you write about us we're going to pay attention --

In 2009 our website is our public face, the days of being able to visit the community are largely passe. However interaction with the community remains critical -- and perhaps even more important considering the amount of information that is available today.

That's why we use Twitter, and I spend much of my time writing code, wrestling with SQL & PHP.

Merrow has built every piece of technology (or adopted & modified) that you see. And there's a lot you can't see that our agents & distributors use.  

Merrow is a sewing machine manufacturer. We do not forget that. But our community needs more from us than a sewing machine... in many respects our job is to illustrate not just 'how' to do something but 'what *else*' can be done. 

We need to represent why Merrow equipment and Merrow itself creates opportunity for people and companies who design and manufacture sewn products.

In 2009 we will work harder than anyone in our industry to do this -- to enable people to make things, and hopefully along the way use Merrow machines to do it. We believe that we can change the dynamics of this industry by employing technology, listening to the community and building great sewing machines. 

Regards,
Charlie Merrow
Merrow Sewing Machine Co.

With no further ado: the article from the fabric-incubator (reposted from this link http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/the-best-sewing-machine-site-on-the-internet/ )

The best (sewing machine) site on the internet

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm / Machines & Equipment / Trackback
Many web sites that serve the production needs of the apparel industry are awful. It’s not something most of us complain about as we’ve become accustomed to being grateful that they have a site at all when untold others still don’t. Until recently, the site amenities of the largest supplier in the industry was limited to pushing a button to make a globe spin or shoot off fireworks; the height of web site programming circa 1993.

I’ve been meaning to tell you about the Merrow website for a long time. This is the best example of what any industrial products website should be like as any I’ve ever seen. The landing page is friendly and accessible as you can see below.
Merrow manufactures industrial sewing machines; the only ones still made in the United States. If you’ve heard the term “merrowing” or merrow stitching, the speaker is usually referring to an overlock or serge stitching. Joseph Merrow was the inventor of the overlock sewing machine. Merrow had an interesting life; the family’s business was producing knit fabrics. When the family’s mill burnt to the ground in a gunpowder incident (Merrow’s dad had a gunpowder patent), Joseph went on to develop crochet sewing machines. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.

Today, Merrow is owned by Joseph Merrow’s two great great nephews Owen and Charlie Merrow (Joseph never married or had children). They are also, coincidentally enough, great grandsons of Lena Bryant who is better known as Lane Bryant. I suppose with a family history of innovation, it’s not surprising their site is so great. By the way, the company is really tiny with only 26 employees. The owners are also quite young, in their early to mid thirties. I can only imagine their youth is one reason the site is literally designed with today’s entrepreneurs in mind. In addition to the multi-faceted site with podcasts and videos, they have a ning forum, blog and they even twitter! I’ve never been wild about ning forums, they’re pretty but not as functional as other options but all in all, I’m not about to argue about it since no one else does anything approaching this magnitude of accessibility.

With most suppliers sites, you really have to wade through cryptic menu options to find out anything, or even to discover whether the information is to be had at all. Or what you even need, or what the thing does. For example, have you ever tried to find a sewing machine manual on a supplier’s site? It is the biggest headache ever but not so on Merrow’s site. Here’s a screen capture from their site with instructions on how to locate a manual:
I hope you enjoy learning about overlock sewing machines on their site as I have (maybe you’ll even buy one). I haven’t gone through but a tiny portion of the material because I keep getting side tracked with just how well all of the features are so nicely and intuitively done. The cut to the chase summary is if you ever have a question about overlock machines, Merrow should be your stop. All sites should be this nicely done.
charlie merrow Merrow

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

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