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October 11, 2016 Manufacturing Insights

Shirley adhesive maker seeks to disrupt clothing industry

Lacey Johnson, global brand manager, Bemis Associates, Inc.

Innovation and sustainability are key at Bemis Associates, a manufacturer of bonding products based in Shirley. The company’s adhesives are meant to replace traditional cut and sew methods in the production of sports garments, soft goods and consumer electronics. It was established in 1910 and has 450 employees.

Global brand manager Lacey Johnson spoke about the company’s global operations, workforce needs and long-term plans.


What does your company make?

Bemis manufactures Sewfree adhesives that replaces traditional cut and sew methods in the construction/production of sportswear garments, soft goods and consumer electronics. Sewfree technology allows garments to move the way a body moves, eliminating bulky seams that are unnatural to fit and feel. It also creates sleeker lines, softer corners and stronger seams in everything from technical mountain jackets to sneakers to waistbands.


We offer an alternative method of make that enhances the performance and aesthetic of the finished good while also improving factory efficiencies and transforming what we make and how we make it.


Which markets do you serve?

Bemis operates worldwide, collaborating and innovating with designers and developers at the world's best technical, performance, luxury and lifestyle brands to create and construct cool stuff.


How do you stay ahead of the competition?

At Bemis, we are driven by our vision of replacing sewing with bonding by delivering a new method of make…Innovation is in our DNA. In order to do this, we are continuously observing, tinkering and building new ways to improve, apply and use our technology and products.


In addition, we invest in our brands, factories and people, allowing continuous learning and innovation through collaboration and partnership.


How do you ensure quality?

We are committed to consistent product quality, to ensure our standards are met we have several systems in place during the manufacturing process to ensure quality control.  


In addition, our technical centers in both the U.S. and Hong Kong work closely with brand and factory partners to test fabrics and evaluate which Sewfree adhesives should be used for specific designs. Our durability and product testing standards are incredibly high to ensure our partners have the highest quality ingredients in their products when they reach the end consumer.


Sustainability is a key pillar at Bemis. We create our products so that minimal waste is generated and what waste there is can be reused. We want to do more and use less.


Describe your international operations.

Bemis operates worldwide, collaborating with innovative brands and factories both in the U.S. and abroad. The company has two complete technical centers. Our U.S. technical center is located in Shirley and our Hong Kong technical center is located in Quarry Bay. Both locations are open to our customers for hands on training, collaboration sessions, demonstrations and testing of their fabrics and concepts.


How do you recruit new employees, and which positions are you currently recruiting for?

We believe in a commitment to innovation, hard work and passion in all that we do. These are the values that guide us throughout the journey of our work and in how we engage with our peers, vendors, customers and community. We look for talented like-minded individuals to join the Bemis family.

We are currently recruiting for some key new positions within our organization to drive growth and continue with our mission of replacing sewing with bonding. These include a director of business development to seek out new ways in which our technology can be used or implemented in new markets and/or products, global sustainability manager to drive our strategy of doing more with less in all that we do, and designer for apparel innovation.

What are your long term plans for the company?

We are on a trajectory that promises continued innovation – the collaboration opportunities we find with our best-in-class partners puts us in a unique position to explore and innovate with them, arm in arm. As the apparel industry changes and we find new and innovative ways to use our products and process, there will be an ever-growing place for our technology and ecosystem to provide both leadership and new innovation in our current and future markets. Cut and bond is here to stay. 

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