Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 132
It now also routinely uses adhesives, alongside needles
and thread, to bind together its products' components.
"We're still passionate about the superiority of 'cut-andsew' design over 'circular-knit' techniques when creating
functional intimate apparel. But we've found that bonding beats sewing when consumers demand smoothness,"
The company has patents pending related to its Back
Magic® waist-shaping feature and other innovations
now in the development pipeline that the company
hopes to introduce soon. It uses the newest fabrics that
are lighter-weight, provide more compression and adjustability, and even cool the skin.
In many cases, the company has developed its own machinery to use these new materials, apply its new techniques, and construct its new garments. The company
also hasn't been afraid to alter the way it organizes the
flow of its production floor, as products, processes, and
the relative cost of inputs have changed.
Like most apparel makers, Cupid used to rely heavily
manufacturing-today.com MAY/JUNE 2017
on traditional sewing lines. It later switched to a reliance
on modular sewing, where teams of sewers construct entire garments by performing all construction operations.
Today, it uses these two organizational methods alongside a third one - skill centers. These are groups of operators specialized in particular operations. This system
requires less operator training, floor space, and capital
investment than the modular method.
Cupid Intimates' operational flexibility extends beyond its routine operations. The company employs a
comprehensive disaster-planning regimen to make sure
it can react quickly to events like fires or natural disasters
and minimize disruptions.
Cupid's flexibility isn't limited to the production side of
its business. Meeting changing customer needs has been
vital to its growth.
For example, it now provides order-fulfillment services
to some of its .com retail partners. While brick and mortar retailers still require bulk warehouse shipments, some
.com accounts ask for individual shipments to end users.
The company also takes a multi-faceted approach to
product merchandising and distribution. It sells garments under its own brands, like Cupid®, Naomi &
Nicole®, and TC®; brands it licenses from others, like
Miraclesuit®; exclusive brands, like Inside Magic®; and
private-label brands of specific retail accounts. And Cupid competes in most American retail channels. Though
most of its sales take place in the United States, Cupid
sells directly to retailers in Mexico and Canada, and
works with distributors throughout Europe.
Cupid's use of product testing also demonstrates its
sales flexibility. Rather than rolling out new styles in
the largest quantities customers are willing to purchase,
Cupid insists on running smaller sales tests first. After
assessing the initial performance, designers make any
necessary garment changes, sales analysts flag underperforming styles and minimize total markdowns, and
accounts decide which doors will best facilitate sales.
Experience has ingrained flexibility into Cupid's culture. Management knows that for any company to survive and thrive for 75 years, it has to anticipate the next
challenge before it's visible, and be ready to confront,
understand and capitalize on it. As David Welsch, President and CEO, reminds every Cupid Intimates employee, "Good news is no news, and no news is bad news. But
bad news is good news when it comes early." mt