The Lows and Highs
D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and
MurrAy Cherin, President: I established the company in 1975 as
Murray Cherin Co. Then, in 1982, I changed the name to LEG Interior
Service, D/B/A LEG Motorized Systems.
Our purpose was to sell shades and drapery, and it was always LEG’s purpose
and intentions to stay a small private company that could make constant changes
with new innovations and technical applications. That remains true today.
A 1985 trip to Europe for a window coverings show started us importing motor
systems. We were the first to bring in Stehle and then Bautex systems.
Beginning in 1999, LEG became the exclusive North American distributor for drapery
systems from China, and all of their motorized products—the main ones being
the System-70 drapery tracks and direct-drive motors.
My world travels, especially the constant visits to Europe, China and Japan,
help LEG bring many new and exciting motor products to market. Last year we started
importing motors and hardware from Taiwan.
LEG Systems’ experience in electronics and motorization dates back to 1972.
As a company we cover both North America and South America specializing in motorized
window treatments with connections to third-party electronics.
This year, in addition to importing exclusive systems from China and Taiwan,
LEG Systems also started manufacturing oversized window shading systems with
AC motors. We’ve also placed more emphasis on IR controls due to better
Today, LEG Systems imports drapery motors and component parts, motor controls,
electronics and shade hardware. We motorize soft shades, draperies, vertical
blinds and Roman shades, all fabricated at LEG. We also offer job site supervision
of wiring and layouts along with CAD drawings for the installers and electricians.
The brand names we carry include: System-70 Drapery, Somfy, Elero, Silent Gliss,
SM Automatic, Hunter Douglas, Kirsch, Action, Hirschman and Arrow Hart.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products
do you handle today?
Cherin: Our business started out with doing reworking of draperies and new sales
of both drapery and window shades. As people started to ask, “Can I motorize
this?” or “Can I motorized that?” we evolved into a sales company
Today we offer and handle everything for interior window treatments that can
be motorized along with controls and interfaces.
D&WC: Give a percentage breakdown of these products. What one product or
line stands out above the rest?
Cherin: Fifty percent of our business is motorization of drapery rods. This is
our target area for sales today. Thirty percent is motorized Duettes®, and
the remaining 20 percent is miscellaneous controls and other products.
At one time, our main offering was motorized shades. But with the direct selling
of motors by our suppliers to our customers, this source of sales has deteriorated.
D&WC: What is your approximate sales volume? What was it after your first
year in business?
Cherin: Our first year in business we were happy to gross sales of $80,000. Today
we average $500,000 with three employees.
D&WC: Is your business computerized? Do you have a company Web site, and
how is it used to communicate with customers?
Cherin: LEG offers a Web site that is subject to constant change. For example,
we have started to add Flash to show movement in the products we offer.
The Web site is becoming more important than direct advertising as e-mail is
becoming more important than fax replies. All our customer inquires are done
by computer these days, and our catalog is now being put on computer disk and
we are doing away with a printed catalog. This offers the customer more information
faster and at a much lower per-unit cost to LEG. Mail and printing costs have
increased, so it is a big area to cut. With the catalog on disk the customer
is better able to use the specification sheets we supply and to make them part
of their own documents.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Cherin: The majority of our customer base is east of the Mississippi, but we
cover all of North America and South American along with the Caribbean.
D&WC: How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Cherin: When we first started there were just six companies in the United States
selling motorization. Your fingers were enough to do the counting. Now, today,
there are so many including both those that are good with a lot of knowledge
and those that are dangerous.
The technology of motors started with using add-on drapery motors to operate
almost everything and has grown into sophisticated systems that change with the
months of the year.
D&WC: Where do you see yourself and your company five years from now? Are
there additional areas within the industry that you would like to get involved
Cherin: This is a tough question—not one that I could answer fairly. Being
61-years-old I am looking toward pulling back rather than looking how to grow
I see myself more in product development and consulting in the years to come,
but it is hard to do. I had a consulting contact with one company a few years
ago but they picked my brain and paid nothing for the information I gave to them.
It was not a good relationship for LEG.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Cherin: Our niche is specialization and new products and services along with
hands-on service. We want to stay low volume and high profit.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Cherin: The key has always been the ability to travel, view new products and
bring these to market fast. Being a small company has given us the advantage
of making changes quickly, like the weather. I have been with large companies
before and their politics of making change is not what I want.
Our strength lies in specialization and in being innovative. LEG is distinguished
from others by our length of time in the business. We have been doing this since
1972. I think that gives us the right to stand up and be counted.
D&WC: What trends and cycles do you see occurring in the industry? How is
your business addressing them?
Cherin: The cycles change yearly. One year you could not make motorized verticals
fast enough. Today, you hardly get an order for one.
This year the solar shade is hot, but we see a trend coming back in motorization
of draperies. We also see lower-end equipment entering the market and the quality
suffering. With this confidence suffers. Along comes this trend to sell at lower
D&WC: Do you offer any products other than window coverings?
Cherin: We have started to manufacture hardware for the window coverings market
and also have started to extrude tubing for the shade market to increase volume
D&WC: Do you educate your customers?
Cherin: We only offer one-on-one training for our fabricators. Otherwise we are
always sending out flyers to educate customers on how to use our products and
how better to sell them. But, this is an area that we are not strong in.
D&WC: Do you work through distributors or sell direct to the retailer?
Cherin: The major part of our sales is to dealers and distributors. We stay away
from retail sales and refer them to the dealer in their area.
LEG Motorized Systems
20258 NE 15th Ct.
Miami, FL 33179
(800) 44MOTOR (446-6867)
fax: (800) 446-6442