Monthly Archives: June 2008

MacGregor Golf: Interview with Innovator

Greg Norman

MacGregor Golf is a 100 year old golf company, one with a new CEO. Michael J. Setola shares with us his vision and strategy for keeping the innovative brand strong.

NATALIA: Please give folks a bit of insight as to what your role entails.
Michael: As CEO of MacGregor, my primary role is to manage the investments and direction of the company. As it relates to product, inventory is our largest investment, so I keep a keen eye on product and product development.

NATALIA: How did you first become interested in fashion?

Michael: Funny story, but my first job was with Hanes Underwear. I was selling boxers and white briefs. Suddenly for the first time, colored underwear came on the scene and I saw the effect of fashion on something as simple as underwear. I was hooked on the excitement of newness and the effect great product has on business.

NATALIA: How would you define good innovation?

Michael: Good innovation is the combo of design, merchandising and sell through to the consumer. It needs to be relevant as truly new, but have meaning to the consumer.

NATALIA: Is innovation important to you? MacGregor?

Michael: At both the Greg Norman collection and in our MacGregor Golf Club companies, innovation is what separates us from the field.

NATALIA: How is innovation realized in your business?

Michael: Design, product development, technical services and production all must work together to bring innovation to the market in sync.

NATALIA: Any challenges or successes you have had bringing innovative design to market?

Michael: There are always challenges in getting all these components firing at the same time. Often, one area is ahead or behind in the ability to deliver innovation, so a project may be delayed.

NATALIA: What are some of the current innovation projects you are working on?

Michael: In apparel, climate controlled fabrics are becoming more important for the active golfer. Body temperature regulating developments are in our market and improvements are in the works. In golf clubs, we have a new metal that we are introducing to the clubface for game improvement.

NATALIA: Do you feel technology in fashion is just a trend?

Michael: Everything is a trend. It’s just about how long it stays with us. Technology will be with us for a long time, the consumer likes it.


NATALIA: In a few words please share with us your vision for the future.

Michael: Companies that innovate and develop consumer centric products will excel even more in the future. The combination of economic challenges and modern expectations will raise the bar for products to succeed.

Michael J Setola

Digital Downtown

Digital Downtown

New York held its new annual Digital Downtown, a consumer technology showcase at the World Financial Center Winter Garden this past weekend.  It featured the latest innovative trends on consumer electronics, from high definition televisions, mobile devices, audio, to energy saving and gaming devices.

Flat screen HDTV’s dominated the majority of the atrium with the new ultra thin 1.5 inch Hitachi standing out. The images were so clear, consumers stood for minutes admiring the image quality.  But, Roland, the world’s leading manufacturer of electronic musical instruments had the most amazing demonstrations of what the future brings.  One demonstration that stood out is known as “the parent’s dream” the silent drum set made of rubber, is attached to headphones that allow each hit, tap, snare to be translated to the original instrumental sound.  Another demonstration that stood out was the double keyboard with a microphone attachment that allowed you to sing into the microphone out of tune as it translates your tone perfectly into pitch. The instrument allowed the demonstrator to sing orchestral back up to Mariah Carey’s a cappella. With this new product soon to be in consumer hands, can anyone be the next Mariah Carey?

Technology is redefining our future and the way we communicate. New York, now being apart of the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) can now spread the innovative developments through its global entertainment and media.  HANNA

Digital Downtown

Step it Up

The Renegade Craft Fair was held in Brooklyn this past weekend, showcasing the talents of various arts-and-crafts vendors, and promoting the increasingly popular form of “do-it-yourself” design. Fashion companies, such as Threadless (http://threadless.com) and Urban Tailor (http://urbantailor.com) are jumping on the DIY bandwagon by allowing customers to design their own garments or create their own graphic tees online. User-friendly web pages allow customers to click and create customized clothing based on provided styles and textiles. With the help of Internet technology, customers can instantly create and preview their own customized clothing.
Sneaker goliath, Nike, takes this trend one step further with their latest creation: Nike PhotoID. Combining mobile technology with the DIY trend, Nike PhotoID allows fans to create sneakers based on snapshots taken by their cell phones. The new program analyzes dominant colors in the photograph and then transfers those colors into a sneaker template. An image of the shoe is sent back to the mobile phone, and users have the option to save it as a wallpaper or order the actual footwear. The customized color-ways are available on Nike’s classic 1985 Dunk high-top basketball sneakers. Currently, Nike PhotoID is only available in Europe. WU

BMW Fabric Car

Most automobiles are fabricated in hard plastic, glass and metal, requiring many parts and joints. The team at BMW has rethought this approach and presented a seamless skin concept. The outcome is both ergonomic and beautiful.

Design Futurist believes the best innovation not only makes objects more beautiful, it makes them more functional. General complaints from drivers have little to do with the surface and everything to do with poor durability, vulnerable electrical systems and complicated repairs.

Seamless design can mean more graceful lines, simpler parts, and fluid transitions. We hope BMW, extends this thought process to the internal design of future cars. NATALIA

A Cooler World

a cool world

Social networks such as Acoolworld.com and Asmallworld.net are private online communities. Actors, fashion designers, royals, and media makers are only a small percentage of what make up these networking sites. If Facebook is Democratic, they are Republican.

Asmallworld.net is an exclusive social network that only sends out invites to qualified individuals. It provides insight on global events, marketplace, forums on various topics, fashion, and city guides.

Acoolworld.com has brought design to exclusive social networking through the clandestine nature of its members only website. It is a social networking website for strategic connections to the most elite and private hideaways and adventures. Great power people gather here.

These networks provide people with the opportunity to view your profile and your company information in order to set out possible connections. It also acts as a guide to high-end travel, fashion, shops, sports, and nightlife.

So what is the difference between Asmallworld and Acoolworld? Both promote exclusive online interactivity for the privileged, but Acoolworld emphasizes the visual more, it was designed to be graphically chic and arresting, dare we say cool. Then there is the Diamond Lounge, a recent addition to the field. A new market for members only is forming. HANNA

Apple Wages War Against Android

In 2007, tech giant Google caused quite a stir by announcing the development of a new open-source software for mobile devices, called Android. Google’s new project was dubbed the gPhone and has been eagerly anticipated as a better alternative to Apple’s iPhone.

However, Google does not actually intend on releasing an exclusive gPhone. Instead, they are offering their new Android software to existing cell phone companies, such as Samsung (picture above). Google hopes to compete against software companies that utilize Microsoft and Macintosh operating systems, the predominant choice for mobile devices. Android powered phones will run on 3G wireless networks, which allow for high-speed internet connections. They will be seamlessly integrated with Google’s computer-based communication services, and offer GPS and a seamless interface. Most importantly, they will be affordable, and available outside of the US.

This week, Apple officially unveiled its own new iPhone, which has all the features that Google advertises for Android. The iPhone 3G is also fast, features GPS, a new MobileMe system, is relatively affordable, and will be available in over 70 countries.

Google started with a great concept, but Apple beat them to the execution. Currently, Android powered phones are in the works for 2009, while Apple’s new iPhone will be available in stores July 11th. WU

Dior and Everybody

Dior and Everybody

Dior’s new line of luxury will be put to the test when they follow along with Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Prada, in fusing the ubiquitous cell phone with an exclusive luxury brand.

Does a newly diamond-studded alligator casing capture the idea of luxury? Cell phones are a mainstream item that everyone owns. Whether or not it is encased in diamonds or uses alligator skin, they all have the same functionality.

Dior will maintain exclusivity by selling the cell phones at a higher price than its competitors. The company expects the phones to sell best in brand hungry Russia and China. The starting price is $5,100, priced to rival Nokia’s Vertu phone.

Dior is expecting to sell between 30,000 to 60,000 units within the next year; however, competing designer luxury brands sold around 500,000 units. We found that many thought the Dior design resembles floor tiles.

There is a new market being created, one very similar to the high-end industry of sunglasses and handbags. Which ubiquitous item will be next in-line for a brand upgrade. HANNA