15709 Mon, 12/08/2008 - 1:03pm
Now that the company he founded just more than 12 years ago has been acquired by Marlin Equity Partners, Füritechnics’ Mark Henry can go back to what he loves doing full time: designing.
“I’ve always just wanted to be a designer,” said Henry, an industrial engineer. Those other business aspects of human resources, logistics and the like “drive me nuts,” he added.
Previously, however, when approached by other companies to sell the company, he turned them down, as he “wanted to build the brand myself.” But that changed when Henry met with Marlin. It was “perfect for their situation,” he said, and its formula: “If you’ve got the brand then you can create wealth.” Marlin saw what Henry did with limited resources, and wanted to see what he could do with more, he said.
And the timing was ideal, as the economy and the fall of such retailers as Linens ’n Things took their toll. Other retailers moved spring 2009 product introductions to fall 2009 instead and that left “a messy hole in the budget,” Henry said. But with the new company, “Now we are at least as strong as we were last year.”
Now called Füri Brands, the company has moved to City of Commerce, Calif., to share offices with UltraPro, a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer packaged goods that is in Marlin’s portfolio. UltraPro had a “more efficient” structure, Henry said.
Henry, however, works in an office overlooking the Bay Area in Sausalito. That was part of the deal, which includes Henry staying on with the company as executive vice president of product development for three years, along with Jeff Starliper, vice president of sales and marketing.
“I have the space now to develop product,” Henry said, adding that he able to roll out more prototypes than in the past. He wants to expand the knife sharpener category, and 15 products are planned to debut at Ambiente and the International Home & Housewares Show. Now he’s working on products “we never had the budget for and others that needed a lot of money” to develop, he said. — Andrea Lillo