Q&A with Jim Talaric
Last week, Co-Founder of Fusion Specialties and industry legend Jim Talaric stopped by the offices to give some insights into how he created one of the largest, most successful mannequin producers in the world. Jim had a wealth of stories to tell about the early days of the company. Most were funny, but all of them held some truth that made Fusion what it is today.
Be on the Same Side of the Table
Early in the history of Fusion, Jim noticed that there was a particular dynamic between customers and salespeople. The customers sat on one side of the table, and the salesperson on the other. This was both physical and mental, as the salespeople were only focused on the sale. Instead, Jim focused on being on the same side of the table as the customer. He talked about what the customer needed, and focused on being a consultant first, salesperson second. Jim said he always wanted to talk to the designers, to get a better idea of what the brand needed.
There Were no Wood Beams in the Catalog
Fusion Specialties is known for its custom designs, and since the beginning we’ve been all about customization. Jim talked about how a customer once came in complaining about how difficult it was to get wood beams that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Rather than move on and focus on mannequins, Jim heard this as an opportunity. So, Fusion made wood beams that were indistinguishable from the real thing, and cost only a fraction of the amount. Wood beams weren’t in the catalog, but they were needed, so we made them.
In production, you can have things Fast, Good Quality, or Cheap, but you can only pick two. Jim had heard this before, but he wasn’t convinced. He wanted to see if there was a way to make a mannequin quicker, better, and cheaper than was currently being done. This desire to bring a better product led to the creation of our patented E-Flex technology. E-Flex allowed us to produce mannequins that were more durable, used less material, and could be produced quicker than the traditional fiberglass mannequins.
In the end, Jim Talaric’s approach to Fusion Specialties was reminiscent of the movie “Field of Dreams”. “If you build it, they will come”. As long as you build a good product, care about the customers you are working with, and focus on their needs, success will find its way to you.