Once in a while a customer will call and change everything. In this case it was a customer several years ago who couldn't believe we wouldn't sell her thread. We had a meeting, thought about, and after a quick discussion decided that unless we could offer some specific value around thread Merrow would not sell thread. Our informal policy was that we would only begrudgingly offer thread to order.
But the more we talked with people, the clearer it was that the world of thread was confusing for the Customer at best, and downright un-navigable at worst.
The business side was more grim. Margins are ridiculously small, the quantity of colors and sizes make inventory a nightmare. Customers often need custom dye lots.... Enough of a hassle to make the most organized among us shed a bit of a tear at the prospect of tackling such a beast of a problem.
So we developed a game plan that would aggregate knowledge, inventories, and specialty applications -- leverage technology to manage the bits & pieces. Most importantly we decided that the way people shop for thread is by color, and we worked hard to mimic the process.
The result is the beta release of Boston Thread.
We are starting with common cottage industry applications and thread selection from two great companies. The project will change and evolve over time, it will become a store tailored to color based, application specific, thread selections.
The site has lots of interesting and innovative features -- we'll probably profile them here in time. Meanwhile, take a look: your suggestions will shape the site, SO please let us know what you think -