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).
Unknown 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