Retailers Love High-End Sewing Machines

Crowd_goes_wild
[WARNING:  While the purpose of this post is to salute some of America’s best business men and women, it does contain some bits of shameless self-promotion for Tacony Corporation and Baby Lock USA.  Please forgive this somewhat biased reporting as I believe it’s necessary to make the point. mb]

On Saturday evening I sat in a packed theater with several hundred successful sewing machine retailers.  They’ve gathered in St. Louis for one of the industry’s premier annual events, Baby Lock Tech.  These men and women have taken several days away from their businesses and traveled here, at their own expense, to learn, to visit with old friends, and to see the new products from Tacony Corporation and Baby Lock.In the sewing industry this is new product season.  Baby Lock’s competitors are holding similar events.  But since I’m not invited to any of them (go figure), I’ll confine my comments to just this one.

The highlight of Baby Lock’s presentation was the introduction of two new sewing machines.  I was going to say these aren’t your grandma’s sewing machines, but then again, maybe they are.  In fact I know several grandmas who are very much into high tech sewing.  These machines each carry a five-figure MSRP.  And with each introduction, as they say, the crowd went wild.

Why would they be so excited about such expensive machines?  Given the high price of gasoline and other commodities, the problems in the housing market, and all the other gloom and doom that we see and hear every day, why would these very successful people be so excited about sewing machines that cost as much as a decent used car?  Shouldn’t they be demanding new products that compete on price with the big box stores?

Hopefully you already know the answer.  They were excited because they’re sales professionalsThey sell things.  They know that cheap sewing machines aren’t sold.  People buy them from stacks of boxes piled up in a discount store or warehouse club. To a real pro, these new machines represent opportunity; the opportunity to make sales to serious women (and men) who take their art, their creativity, seriously.  You just know that most of the retailers who’ve seen these new machines already know which of their customers will buy them.They have a mental list of the people who will trade in last year’s top-of-the-line machine for one of the new ones.   They also know who’s waiting to see the newest and the best before they invest their hard-earned dollars.  They know that there are more than enough prospects out there to make them a lot of money selling the high end.

Creative sewing takes time, and time is a commodity that most of us can’t afford to waste.  While a truly creative sewing artist  spends hours on a project, she or he doesn’t want to spend time unnecessarily.  A machine that makes the project easier and saves time is worth its weight in gold.

And high-end sewing machine sales lead to other high-end sales.  Nobody’s going to sit such a valuable piece of high-tech equipment on a card table! No one is going to spend hours creating a thing of beauty using cheap thread that’s going to fail in a short time or with $1.00/yard fabric.  Michaelangelo didn’t buy his paint and brushes at Wal-Mart and look how long his stuff has lasted.

I’ve said it here many times, the independent business owner is the backbone of our economy.  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” must have been originally said about American entrepreneurs.  While one big company lays off a thousand workers with lots of media coverage, a thousand small companies hire two new workers each, unnoticed by anyone except those directly involved.

So on Saturday night in St. Louis, a night when the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers, playing just down the hall, could manage just 13 points between them, Baby Lock scored touchdown after touchdown with exciting new products to support America’s finest retailers and in turn support America’s economy.

I’ll have more on Baby Lock Tech as the week goes on.

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