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

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