Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stitch together (part-6)

The true colors of Todd's lunacy were about to blossom.

I took my camera to work with me a few times, so I was able to capture some of the madness that was brewing at the Minnow sewing shop. I remember saying to Todd, when I first started, "you should get some video cameras in the building to document the company being built". A few weeks later, I said to Geoff, the graphic designer, that I felt like I Minnow was like a reality TV show, "a cross between the classic movie, Office Space and TV show, The Office. Although this place was even crazier, because this was real. I was ready for the camera crew to come out of the woodwork and tell us all we were on a spoof TV show. This place turned out to be even crazier than make believe and I didn't know anything yet. Once Josh, the fashion designer started working, the place really began to take shape.
From what I thought, Josh and I were going to head around to different designers around the country and be somewhat of a traveling roadshow, preaching the virtues of the Minnow sewing machine to all who would listen. It didn't work out that way.

Todd had Josh laid up in a dark room, creating designs and sketches for clothing, one day it was jeans, the next, chiffon blouses and tee shirts. I'm thinking- o.k. this is fine, now let's get some sewing machines set up, so we can get this party started!!!
The Minnow machines created a purported 1000's of different stitches with their over 300 different sewing machines, but after working there for about a month, I had yet to really see one of these sewing machines sew anything. This vision for a design studio was to have a model of the most popular machines set up for research and development, probably 10 in all.

For some reason, Todd kept stalling with the machines. "Josh doesn't need any machine right now", he would say. I'm thinking, how do you hire a clothing designer and not have a sewing machine for him to work on. That's like hiring a logger and not giving him a saw. After a weeks worth of badgering, I wrestled out the real reason why Josh didn't have a sewing machine., there was none for him to have.

I'm thinking, how can there not be any machines, I see hundreds of them downstairs in the manufacturing space. What I didn't know was that all those machines I saw, stacked on shelving throughout the manufacturing plant, were either used or made in China. They weren't making sewing machines down there, they were buying Chinese knockoffs, putting a Minnow badge on it and shipping it out the door. But these Chinese made machines were only the slow speed 1950's technology machines, used in textile finishing.
The speed demon machines, capable of sewing in excess of 5000 stitches per minute, like the PK-5X, PK-5DRZ-1 and the rest of the PK family were in fact, not made in China. These glorious machines were actually used machines bought from dealers and bankrupt American garment/textile manufacturers, repainted and sold as new. And these were the machines that were in high demand, selling for $2500- $5000 a piece.

The place was a sham and Todd, a snake oil salesman.

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