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Ironing out a new product.

For all you domestic types out there wishing you had just a bit more space, Seymour Housewares Corp. has the perfect ironing board for you--the WorkWizard, with 54 percent more working surface than traditional ironing boards.

Seymour Housewares' ironing board is superior not only because of its increased ironing surface, but also because of its accessories. The WorkWizard Advanced Ironing Center, as the new product is officially titled, comes with an attachable clothes rack and a holder for spray bottles and starches. And across the board rather than at the end, the WorkWizard has an iron holder and cord minder. Increased space and accessories make ironing less of chore by decreasing the time normally spent finding places to hang ironed clothing, rearranging cords and retrieving tumbling spray bottles. The WorkWizard functions as a total laundry center.

In addition to its other hot features, the WorkWizard has four large, square feet to give the ironing board more traction and stability than traditional ironing boards. The front of the board is "noseless," or flat, so that it fills out garments, making it easier and quicker than ever before to iron shirts, blouses and larger items.

Seymour-based Seymour Housewares Corp. already dominated the ironing board business--with more than 75 percent of the North American market for its product. It achieved that success without a formal marketing plan, which it has now instituted. Seymour polled its customers to find out what they wanted in an ironing board. The results: More than three-fourths wanted a bigger ironing surface and more than half wished they had a rack attached to their board on which to hang clothes.

Something else Seymour Housewares found out was that today's ironers often iron in a flurry and leave their ironing boards standing out in rooms; they're not as likely to fold them up and shove them in a closet or utility room. Therefore, the company set out to design color-coordinated board covers. Now you can cover your ironing board in one of nine new fashion designs, including solids, floral prints and geometric patterns to complement almost any room decor in your house. The covers have triple padding and elastic drawstrings with special fasteners to keep them from sliding, and the StainGuard and UltraFit covers have 3M's Scotchgard coatings to retard stains and scorches.

The WorkWizard, introduced in January at the National Housewares Show in Chicago, retails for $49.99 and is sold nationwide at mass merchandisers, discount retailers, department stores and at hardware, drug and food chains. The Poulter, a European brand of ironing board, is seen as the WorkWizard's main competitor--in product line, that is, but not in price. Poulter retails between $75 and $100.

One may take the ironing board for granted and not envision it as providing a massive manufacturing business. But figures show that consumers spent nearly $90 million to buy 4 million ironing boards from Seymour last year alone. "How could we buy that many ironing boards?" you ask. Many boards are purchased as gifts for weddings, divorces or children moving away from home. Others are replacements or improvement boards. Whatever the reason for purchasing, they are always in demand.

Seymour Housewares Corp. has been located in Seymour for nearly 50 years. It started in 1942 under the name Seymour Tool and Engineering. The company produced metal kitchen stools, wooden sleds with steel runners and small parts under contract for the Air Force. In 1966 the company changed its name to Seymour Industries Inc. with two divisions, Seymour Housewares and Beauti-Glide Co. which manufactured metal bed frames. Since then, Seymour Housewares has made several acquisitions to expand its product line, which now includes wooden indoor clothes dryers, children's wooden safety gates, retractable clotheslines and shopping carts. The Seymour company employs about 400 people.
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Title Annotation:Seymour Housewares Corp. introduces WorkWizard ironing board
Author:Baughman, Nena
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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