Culver City’s Dogeared just connected with potentially its biggest customer yet – Minneapolis retail giant Target Corp.
The 24-year-old jewelry company, which locally designs and crafts necklaces, earrings, bracelets and tote bags for department stores and online retailers, has created a holiday line of necklaces just for the national retailer.
The Venice and Violet by Dogeared line features 18 pendants in the shape of wishbones, crosses as well as other geometric designs. Each sells for $39.99.
A mass-market retailer such as Target is a new type of customer for Dogeared, which normally sells its products in high-end department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc.
Dogeared’s pieces usually retail for less than $100, said Marcia Maizel-Clarke, who co-founded and owns the company with her husband, Merlin Clarke.
Maizel-Clarke said she and her staff had to consider certain factors before agreeing to create the line for Target. The chain has the most locations of all its customers, so making sure it would be able to deliver on the potential volume – and do it locally for a Target-appropriate price – was crucial.
“One of our tenets is to be made in the U.S., and we also had to hit a price point that would resonate with the Target customer,” Maizel-Clarke said. “Manufacturing was as big a consideration because Target has 1,800 stores and that’s a lot.”
This is also the first time Dogeared has created a brand for a specific customer, she added.
“Overall, Target’s very well thought of in the mass retail market,” she said. “We like that, and we saw it as an incredible opportunity for us to connect with more women all over the country.”
The line is now available at Target.com and in all its stores nationally, Maizel-Clarke said. Under the agreement, Dogeared will create more items for Target under the Venice and Violet by Dogeared brand next year.
Keeping It Local
Manufacturing veteran Jeremy Goodwin felt local manufacturers, product designers, engineers and materials suppliers needed an innovative way to connect on projects and keep manufacturing alive in Southern California.
The Santa Monica native and a team of partners spent two years creating SyncFab Inc., a Santa Monica online marketplace where businesses and individuals in all aspects of manufacturing could connect, pitch ideas, bid on projects, create products and then rate their success dealing with one another.
“The city of Los Angeles did a story and found that the area had 12,000 manufacturers and 57 percent of them were underutilized,” Goodwin said. “A big cause of that is a lack of transparency. A lot of people don’t know these manufacturers exist.”
On SyncFab, users access a statewide database of local companies mapped by location and categorized by service or product, processes, materials, certifications and additional services.
Secondly, entrepreneurs and inventors with product ideas can use SyncFab to bid out projects publicly, Goodwin said.
Users can also hire Goodwin and his partners for $50 an hour to help them find and vet service providers, he said. The public bidding has been controversial, Goodwin added, but it’s needed.
“We need people to be more competitive so that they can compete with the offshore manufactures,” he said.
A local manufacturer’s version of a popular hip-hop movie has turned the company into a social media star.
“Straight Outta Commerce” showcases Phil Polishook, owner of DeskMakers Inc. in Commerce, rapping his own lyrics about his desks, credenzas, filing cabinets and conference tables for open floor plans.
He first used the “Straight Outta Commerce” phrase jokingly during a staff presentation on financial results. It was a hit among employees, so he wrote lyrics to rap about DeskMakers in a song.
Polishook hired a production company to make a professional-looking video about the company. It cost less than $10,000.
“I thought this could be a great way to get publicity for the company and tell our story,” Polishook said. “This price tag is probably equivalent to buying a page in an interior design magazine. I think this was more bang for the buck for us.”
The company posted it on several social media sites and emailed it to 5,000 contacts, including sales people, interior designers, resellers and end users. It garnered more than 100,000 Facebook views and several hundred comments – most of which were positive, Polishook said.
Now, sales staff use the video to kick off customer presentations and he plans to use it at trade shows and as a recruiting tool for employees.
“This really helps to position us within our industry as a cool, forward-thinking company,” Polishook said. “A lot of people who specialize in furniture at design firms are pretty young, so reaching them is important.”
Staff reporter Carol Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.