If you're reading this, you either have an auto enthusiast in your life or you are one. Car nerds like us aren't always the easiest to shop for around the holiday season, so we've created this collection of 25 suggested gifts, each of which is sure to satisfy. We've done all the work; all you have to do is click "add to cart" and bust out the wrapping paper.
Additional reporting by Rich Ceppos, Darren Fitzgerald, Daniel Golson, Max Mortimer, Eric Stafford, and Alex Stoklosa
Need to protect your car's carpet from dirt, melting snow, and road salt, but hate the look of rubber floor mats? GGBAILEY's all-season textile mats could be a perfect fit. These mats are custom fitted and offered in either dark gray or beige. The tightly looped carpet easily traps liquids and dirt while the thick rubber backing and stitched vinyl edge help keep everything contained. These textile all-season floor mats are a great addition to your car's winter wardrobe.
Bob Bailey remembers a drizzly spring night in 1975, watching with his father as American hero racer Mark Donohue demonstrated a special Camaro on service roads circling New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Car and Driver scribe Patrick Bedard rode shotgun before later taking the wheel himself.
Bailey still has the Car and Driver issue that featured the Camaro. Much more impressively, he has the car, which his father bought and that he later inherited. A racer himself, the younger Bailey was involved from the start, having become business partners with Donohue, selling racing equipment and accessories through Racemark. The Camaro was about to become their flagship product.
“The name came from Mark and racing,” says Bailey, who still owns the company, which has become a major supplier of floormats for luxury car brands.
A racer himself, Bailey was driving a Porsche 911L lightweight in SCCA Trans-Am in the late 1960s when he met Donohue, who was then campaigning a Camaro for Roger Penske. In 1974, Donohue joined Penske to turn the Camaro into a race car for the International Race of Champions, better known as the IROC.
The series pitted a dozen top drivers from different motorsports against each other in identically prepared Camaros, and it became a fan favorite. It was too bad that, with the Z28 discontinued after 1974, Chevy offered nothing to bring IROC excitement to the showroom.
The production IROC Camaro was still more than a decade away when Bedard’s report called Donohue’s Camaro the “IROC GT.” But this was no Chevy prototype. By the time Hot Rod magazine published its report on Donohue’s Camaro the following year, it was called Racemark GT.
Donohue teamed with Bill Mitchell, a racer and former General Motors engineer, to infuse Chevy’s “Hugger” with some of the IROC character. That triggered the idea to build a small series of the cars. Donohue and Mitchell would extract more capability than perhaps even Chevy knew was lurking in the F-body platform.
The Camaro Z28 had been decent in the corners, but it lacked the kind of refinement in its responses, steering, and road feel that high-end European sports cars offered. Mitchell and Donohue’s work transformed the Camaro into a car that Bedard enthusiastically compared to Italian GTs, at least in handling.
They started with the highest-spec Camaro available in 1975, an LT with the Rally Sport Package and the 350-cubic-inch V-8 with four-barrel carburetor. All cars were ordered with the automatic transmission. The engine was rated at a measly 155 horsepower (165 hp in 1976), and that’s where it stayed.
“I was concerned about the legality of the emissions,” Mitchell recalls. “I didn’t want any trouble with that.” Individual customers, of course, were free to access the vast performance aftermarket if they wanted more power.
With the handling, the goal for the Racemark GT was not to achieve an ultimate G number, but to increase grip, reduce understeer, and improve tire contact without a harsh ride. That last part was critical, as Detroit had a penchant for simply stiffening up the suspension to gain agility at the expense of comfort.
“We really worked at it,” Mitchell says today. “We worked on the springs and different rear stabilizer bar. We had Koni shocks that I had specially valved for these cars.”
The Car and Driver and Hot Rod reports provided more detail. The front end was lowered by an inch and alignment was set for more caster and negative camber. The Camaro’s front stabilizer bar and a 3/4-inch Racemark rear stabilizer bar were adjusted for zero pre-load. The aforementioned special shocks offered more control without a ride comfort penalty.
The Camaro’s stock FR78 radials were ditched for an expensive set of Michelin XWX radials, the same tires used on Ferraris and other premium Euro GTs. They were 205/70VR14 up front and 215/70VR14 in back, installed on 14x7-inch Minilite aluminum wheels. A 14-inch Racemark steering wheel and bolstered reclining bucket seats put the driver in the right position—and frame of mind—to read what the modified chassis could communicate.
All cars were ordered in white with a Firethorn red interior. A Racemark IROC-style front airdam was the most overt exterior modification, and the car was dressed up with a so-1970s red, orange, and maroon stripe treatment. Euro-type GT equipment included Hella quartz-iodine headlights and Hella fog lights and a Sky-Top EZ-Glide metal sunroof. If the exhaust didn't sound like an Italian GT, at least the Racemark triple air horns did. The $9500 price was a 50-percent premium over the fully optioned Camaro Racemark started with.
The bumpy, rain-soaked course around J.F.K. Airport would have sent a stock Camaro flopping around. Instead, the Racemark GT had Bedard, also a racer, showering praise.
“The amazing thing is that the handling feels very much like the Ferraris and Maseratis that faithful enthusiasts hold in such untouchable esteem,” he wrote.
“It has the stiff-legged ride of an Italian GT car. No pitching. It hits the bumps, the suspension rebounds, then recovers immediately. The sensation befuddles one’s internal computer: there you are looking past a Camaro dashboard through a Camaro windshield over a Camaro hood… with Maserati motions filtering up through the seat. Can this be?”
Not long after that glowing review appeared, Donohue, who had come out of racing retirement to drive for Penske’s Formula One team, was killed in a crash during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix in August 1975.
“He was just about to sign with BMW to manage their racing team in the U.S.,” Bailey says. “That was never publicly announced.”
Mitchell kept going with the Racemark GT project, though production ended at about nine cars, including some 1977s, Mitchell says. Bailey still owns and drives his. About 10 years ago, he and fellow car collector Jim Taylor drove it cross-country in the Cannonball Classic, which was the Brock Yates-Martin Swig revival of the original Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, but as more of a driving tour to various racing venues. (Bailey, Taylor, and Yates were founders of the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York.)
“The car performed perfectly,” Bailey says. Still, he wished it had more oomph. Some time after returning from the tour, he sent the car to Mitchell to install a modern Corvette LS crate motor and a four-speed stick.
“It’s much more fun now,” he says.
The Racemark GT Camaro’s legacy lives on in the new Camaro’s 1LE package, which has been lauded for delivering all those qualities that Donohue and Mitchell sought 43 years ago.
Creating quality race-inspired car mats runs in the family
More than 50 years ago, RACEMARK was founded by race car driver Bob Bailey.
Today, it’s a family business. Bob’s wife, Ginger, is the CEO. His son, Cannon, is the president and his daughter, Emily, is the president of GGBAILEY & Aftermarket Partnerships. RACEMARK is a global Tier 1 OEM and direct-to-consumer automotive accessory business headquartered in Georgia with additional factories in Germany, Hungary and Switzerland.
Bailey was one of the youngest drivers for the Porsche of America Racing Team and won the 1971 Daytona 24 Hour Race, 1st in Class. During his career, Bailey became friends with Porsche teammate Mark Donohue, a Grand Prix racer who won the 1972 Indianapolis 500.
In 1964, Bob founded B&B Motors. In 1972, he and Donohue partnered to provide drivers and manufacturers with specialty racing equipment, such as customized roll bars, racing steering wheels and flame-retardant racing suits worn by drivers such as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Bailey and Donohue decided to call the new company RACEMARK.
It was founded on the principle of bringing engineering excellence into every product and has become the standard for innovative, premium-design car mats in the automotive market. RACEMARK is known for its dedication to exceptional quality and its products can be found under foot in millions of vehicles all over the world.
In 1971, RACEMARK became the first company in the world to create custom-fit carpet car mats for the auto industry. Prior to that, most car mats were made from coco and sisal fibers.
RACEMARK is the longest Tier 1 OEM supplier to BMW North America. It started supplying the German automaker with coco and sisal car mats in the late 1960s. It continues to supply BMW today and most automotive brands with textile car mats, including innovative All-Weather Textile products.
RACEMARK also continues to make custom-fit Coco Car Mats and supplies BMW Classic globally with this classic all-natural product.
The second generation of Baileys is proud to introduce custom car and trunk mats to celebrate the racing legacy of their father and quality products — for which the company is known — at ggbailey.com.
A division of RACEMARK, direct-to-consumer division GGBAILEY was the first luxury car mat maker and puts an emphasis on custom design. Family owner and operated, it was founded on the principles of innovation, driving products to new levels of functionality and design. It has built on four decades of devotion to the finest automobiles and accessories in the world.
GGBAILEY’s products are proudly made in the USA and ready to ship in just two business days, faster than anyone else in the industry.
The latest offering of custom car and trunk mats for GGBAILEY feature the RACEMARK brand. Inspired by the quality and legacy of RACEMARK International, these exclusive mats celebrate the longtime racing legacy and commitment to quality of the brand.
RACEMARK Heritage car and trunk mats are available when you use GGBAILEY’s Design Your Car Mats feature. With this feature, customers can create personalized, custom-fit mats. There are a variety of colors, edgings, heelpads and embroidery options, including a piece of racing heritage — RACEMARK-branded mats.
A recent industry first is the All-Weather Textile car mat featuring function and design. This is the first car mat that conceals dirt and is totally waterproof; just vacuum and hose off and your mat looks brand new, unlike rubber mats that do not trap water or dirt and ruin your shoes. It’s an all-weather product that also looks great in your vehicle.
Bailey continues to be active in the automobile industry. He is a founding member of the Saratoga Automobile Museum which is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of classic automobiles. He still races in vintage car rallies and is an avid collector of classic cars. Of the cars in his collection, he is most proud of his original race cars including his No. 22 burgundy Porsche 911 and his No. 5 yellow Porsche 914-6 GT.
The American family-owned company GGBAILEY has been offering customized carpets for all vehicles and now delivers them directly to Swiss customers. "The carpets are made in the USA, Hungary, Germany and Switzerland ", says Emily Bailey. Leopard? Not a problem. All patterns, colors and embroidery are possible. A set of four pieces cost between 65 and 250 francs, depending on the model. www.ggbailey.com.
"If you want to step into your car and say, "Baby, I'm worth it!" check out the GGBailey custom-fit, industry first, All-Weather Textile car mats. The woven fabric looks like a fine Berber carpet, traps liquids and moves dirt and sand away from the surface. Regular vacuuming and residential carpet cleaning products will keep them pristine. Front-row mats start at US$63 a pair plus shipping.
To really dress up your car, consider the GGBailey Car Couture mat made from 70 oz. plush carpet. Designs include animal prints and lovely Oriental carpet designs."
Want to class up your Ford F-150 pickup? Order some luxurious Oriental carpet floor mats, now available through a collaboration with Stark Carpet and Racemark International at GGBAILEY (www.ggbailey.com)
A set of front and rear floor mats either in Ishtar (red background) or Hereke (black) Ottoman Turkish designs will set you back $250, whether you drive a truck or Jag. The mats are made of durable Wilton-wave polypropylene that is backed with foam to prevent shifting underfoot. Dozens of sizes are available, just click in your car’s make and year.
Stark, maker of floor coverings for the decorating trade since 1946, has had frequent requests for luxury car mats over the years. “We’ve always had clients who wanted custom car mats, like the animal prints and other woven designs.” says Ed Haleman, general manager for Stark Carpet in New York. “The car mat is the only part of the car you can update yourself and make it look like a fresh new car again.”
Car Mats could become the latest seasonal decorating opportunity. “My wife has a custom antelope design in her SUV,” says Helman. “In the spring, she changes to a floral.”
Why be stuck with bland factory-issued car mats? If they’re worn out or even if they’re not - changing them is a creative way to improve the look of your interior decor, visit GGBAILEY (www.ggbailey.com) click on the Design Your Mat feature to find a carpet, edging and monogram or logo combination that suits your personality.
The Oriental mats featured on the site lend an air of sophistication. Check the site later this spring for more whimsical designs, featuring polka dots and ribbon trim. Mats start at $100 per set.
This sheepskin duster and wash mitt will get you started on your vehicle spring cleaning. The duster is ideal for picking up dust in hard-to-reach places, and stores easily. The wash mitt can be used on the car’s interior and exterior. Duster is $15 Washmitt $8 and can be found visiting GGBAILEY (www.ggbailey.com)
Gift buying for the many special occasions in June can tax you as well as your wallet, what with Father's Day, graduations and weddings popping up all month. But smart shoppers can find savings on dresses, jewelry, suits and even teen beauty treatments this month.
GG Bailey, www.ggbailey.com. This company, part of the Racemark group that supplies custom floor mats to automobile manufacturers, is offering an online special that men may like: Front seat floor mats, regularly $70, are $63 per pair, and a front and rear set, regularly $95, now is $85.50. To receive an additional 5 percent off, submit an order online and use the promotion code "Father's Day."
Mike Hendricks - The Business Review
Up in Granville, Kathy juckett, the great-great granddaughter of the founder of Telescope Casual Furniture, is CEO of the 101 - year - old company. Down in Westerlo, Elaine Hannay Gruener, is vice president at Hannay Reels Inc., where her father, Roger Hannay, is president and CEO. And in Malta, Emily Bailey is bringing the company her father started 30 years ago into e-commerce.
More than ever, daughters are making an impact in family business.
A recent survey by the MassMutual Financial Group/ Raymond Institute of Family Businesses reported that women run 10% of today’s family firms, but that is changing. The survey found that the percentage of small company owners considering passing on control of the business to their daughters had gone from 25% to 34% in just six years.
That rise of daughters in business is evident locally.
Before Emily Bailey joined her parents at Racemark International Inc., the company made racing accessories and high end floor mats for automakers. SInce joining the company, Bailey has extended the family business into e-commerce with her subsidiary, GGBAILEY, and revolutionized the way the company markets its product, taking Racemark into places it has never been. Now the company has an e-commerce business, a Web store and sells directly to consumers.
Bailey has introduced color choices and created a product that allows customers to design personalized mats while implementing 48 hour shipments.
Bailey started out in public relations after college. She believes she has created buzz about the business, getting the product high-visibility media-attention, including a mention on the “Today” show and InStyle magazine.
The latest in automotive accessories is specialty car mats you design. With GGBAILEY you can customize and personalize your own luxury-weight car and trunk mats from any combination of carpet colors, edging styles, heelpads, embroidery and logo options. These high-end woven mats are made with Stark Carpet.
For Classic cars and standard vehicles (not offered for nonstandard vehicles such as limos, RV’s cargo and passenger vans at this time) they offer a custom pattern taking kit, which comes with detailed instructions and the materials, needed to take your vehicle’s floor mat, trunk mat or cargo mat pattern. Once your mat pattern has been prepared by Bailey, you then place your order.
Online ordering makes selecting your custom mats simple and efficient. Use their Design Your Mat feature, which quickly guides you through your design options. Mats are made within 48 hours from receipt to order.
Click www.ggbailey.com or call 866-845-2245
Surprise Dad with something really special for his car
For the first time, GGBAILEY - a part of Racemark group based in Malta with other manufacturing plants in Georgia and Switzerland - is making their custom luxury vehicle mats available directly to consumers. These aren’t your run of the mill car and trunk mats, either.
Their new line is not only a custom fit for Dad’s vehicle but, by using their on-line Design Your Mat, you can choose exactly how they will be made. Select from embroidery options and themes for personal, business, sports teams, initials, numbers and much more - and all in your choice of colors, too. You can even choose from the compnay’s collegiate line to reflect Dad’s alma mater.
With high-tech ordering and manufacturing processes, mats are made within 48 hours of getting the order.
According to Bob Bailey, founder of the Racemark Group of companies and a former Porsche of America world class racecar driver, “ This direct to you, the consumer, is a new service for us. For 40 years, we’ve been supplying custom luxury mats to the world’s most prestigious automakers. We use only the highest quality materials available because we know that those automakers expect only the best for their customers.
GGBAILEY offers custom fit floor and trunk mats that can be designed and personalized with names, initials, business or sport team logos or numbers.
The customized mats fit all makes and models of cars, trucks, SUV’s and minivans. Combine carpet colors, edging styles, colors, heepads, and embroidery options for an unexpected gift.
Ginger Cannon Bailey, founder of GGBAILEY and co-CEO of Racmark International - a group of companies that supply luxury floor mats to automobile manufacturers - brings the mats to consumers through www.ggbailey.com.
The company offers 48 hour shipping or online gift certificates.
Mats with Pizzazz
Excess wear and tear on long trips and the stuff we track into our vehicle can shorten the life of the car’s carpet. Floor mats have long been used as a barrier to help preserve the original floor covering. But quality custom car mats can also spice up your car’s interior.
The Goods: GGBAILEY Automotive Mats The Price: $70 and up
The lowdown: GGBAILEY’s off-the-rack mats come in bold colors with contrasting edging. There are leopard and tiger patterns for the wild at heart, as well as designs called Chariot. Ishtar and Topkapi that resemble Oriental rugs.
You can also custom-design your mats to include your name, initials, or some pithy phrase. Trunk mats may also be ordered. All are constructed to the same standards as high-quality home carpeting - with a barefoot drive confirming their comfort.
Soup It Up Express Yourself with Mats - Special to the Detroit News
Want to show your loyalty to your favorite college? Maybe you just want to mark your place behind the wheel of your favorite vehicle. Either way, the company that produces carpets for sports car and luxury automakers now offers customized floor mats for consumers as well.
GGBAILEY is a new consumer brand from Racemark International of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. that lets buyers design their own luxury weight car and trunk mats from any combination of carpet colors, edging styles, heelpads, embroidery and logo options.
Company founder Bob Bailey raced Porsches well enough to finish seventh overall and first in class in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1971, and his car was 10th overall and second in class the following year. Bailey launched Racemark in 1974. The company has operations in New York, Georgia and Switzerland, and supplies original equipment floor mats to European and Japanese automakers.
Through the GGBAILEY website www.ggbailey.com, you can select floor and cargo mats to fit your vehicle, view and select colors and edging styles, and decide whether you want a heelpad for the drivers side. You also can select either a logo - college, holiday, patriotic and sports themes are available - or specify your name, initials or a customized slogan.
Add some couture to your car with GGBAILEY custom-made car mats. These creative mats use high-end carpeting that is designed for them. Choose from any combination of color, edging, style, embroidery and logo options that equal over 500,00 possible design choices. For a bolder statement, try an animal design, or Oriental rug design. Whatever your taste, GGBAILEY mats are made-to-order within 48 hours. Visit www.ggbailey.com with 2 day shipping guaranteed.
Nestled in the dense woods of Luther Forest in Malta sits a dynamic, innovative and growing manufacturer - and surprise! There’s nothing “nano” about Racemark International except its attention to fine details. In an area known for its explosion of development around the nanotechnology industries, the Racemark group of companies has been producing automobile floor mats for more than 40 years - all in a plant that’s just 7 miles away from the original family home in which the Bailey’s still live.
The family owned and operated business, originally named B & B Motors, was founded by Bob Bailey, former world class racecar driver for the Porsche of America Racing Team. The company started out selling specialty racing equipment like customized roll bars and other car accessories including floor mats.
“Through GGBAILEY, we wanted to be able to offer the consumer as many color options - whatever carpet and different designs- as we could make,” adds Emily Bailey, e-commerce director for GGBAILEY.
Innovation is everywhere in this company, from the proprietary backing and material cutting systems for the floor mats to the founding and launch of GGBAILEY itself. Through GGBAILEY’s website customers can pick their own colors, designs and embroidery - all for a mat that is custom fit to the make, model and year of their car. Some mats even include grosgrain ribbon edges.
“I was in a friend’s store in New York and all of her belts on her shelf were rolled up the same way we have our edging rolled up in our sample room here at the plant. I wonder if we could do car mats with that,” recalls Emily. “So we did all these different tests, sent it to engineering and came up with prototypes of pink and white polka dot ribbon.”
You can go directly to www.ggbailey.com and see all of the many combinations of custom fit and luxury car mats avaialble to ship in 2 business days.
Racemark International Inc. built its business by making floor mats for BMW and Mercedes-Benz.But the Malta-based company bets future growth will be driven by names such as Sweet Ice Willy. Sweet Ice Willy's real name is William Penn. He lives in the British Virgin Islands and is a tuner, an enthusiast who tweaks and customizes his car.
Ginger Bailey, Racemark's co-CEO, met Penn in January when he pulled his Mitsubishi Lancer into the parking lot of a hotel where was she vacationing with her husband Bob Bailey, Racemark's founder and other co-CEO.
The car's tail pipe glowed with neon lights. The interior was completely white. The nozzles on the hood that sprayed windshield wiper fluid glowed like eyes. "The only thing he couldn't get in his car was the floor mat to glow," said Ginger Bailey.
Racemark is working to change that. Through a new Web site, intensive marketing and an emphasis on customization, the company is positioning itself to attract more consumer business, from all-out tuners to people who just want hard-to-find floor mats for older model cars.
The company's online marketing division, G.G.Bailey.Com, was launched in November 2001. The site offers more than 200,000 combinations of floor mats. Buyers can choose the color, style and text they want on their mats. The will even be able to order embroidery that glows. Racemark executives are betting that the emphasis on Web-based marketing will help the company grow.
In November, around 17 acres of Racemark's property were included in Saratoga County's Empire Zone. In plans submitted to Saratoga Economic Development Corp., the company said it planned to add 105 new jobs over the next one to three years. Racemark is considering an expansion of the Malta plant, said Bailey.
The $26 billion market for customized car parts and accessories is growing between 7 percent to 8 percent annually. Growth in accessories, the segment that includes customized floor mats, is even faster, said Jim Spoonhower, vice president of market research for the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade group located outside of Los Angeles.
GGBAILEY, a company that manufactures and supplies custom luxury floor mats to prestigious automobile manufacturers, is offering consumers the chance to custom design and order their own luxury-weight automobile floor mats online.
Consumers choose their Make, Model and Year and create the floor mats using a Virtual Mat. Customers can choose from any combination of carpet colors, edging, styles, heelpad, embroidery and logo options. The company says its high-tech ordering and manufacturing processes allow it to custom manufacture and ship the mats within 24-48 hours of receipt of order.
If cars were clothes, fashion faux pas would be rampant..
Everybody would be showing up in the same thing (BMW) from the same year (this one, duh) in the same color (silver). The problem? There simply isn’t enough variety to make automobiles a viable fashion statement.
Unless you customize. (And licensed plates don’t count, “BG GUY 1.” The latest personalized floor mats, the quickest way to put your stamp on any car, from the H2 to the Rav 4. At GGBAILEY’s website www.ggbailey.com, you can choose the mats, specify the color, and pick the word and font you want emblazoned upon them. The obvious choice is a monogram, but if you’ve named your PT Crusier “Dottie”, you might consider that.
Either way, the mats add preppy flair to your otherwise unoriginal vehicle. And free you up to worry about all the other areas in your life where it pays to strive for uniqueness.
Like say your personality. GGBAILEY custom-fit car mats available online @ www.ggbailey.com
We know men love their cars and everything that goes with them, but so doe women. GGBAILEY has just introduced the latest in “Car Couture” with their exclusive line of custom leopard and tiger car carpets. Emily Bailey said, “We are so excited to have partnered with Stark Carpet, a respected name in the interior design community to develop the most elegant and luxurious custom fit automobile mats in the world. The exclusive leopard and tiger car mats are woven carpet made with 100 percent polypropylene fiber for superior stain resistance and are finished with a matching black serged edging. The carpet is backed with their open cell foam backing to prevent mat movement.
Not to be sexist, there are also many choices for male gender cars such as MTV’s “Pimp My Ride,” a wide choice of collegiate logo mats and more. If you order the Pink Ribbon logo on your own mats, GGBAILEY will donate 10% of the purchase price to Breast Cancer Research. Through GGBAILEY’s Design Your Mats line you can design your own car and trunk mats from any combination of carpet colors, edging styles, heelpads, embroidery and logo options.
Ginger Cannon Bailey can tell you why it pays to have decent floor mats in your car. Her reasons are simple - they protect the carpet, and they are nicer to your shoes- but Bailey is perhaps a bit more convincing in her arguments than the average person.
Bailey is CEO of GGBAILEY, an online subsidiary of Racemark International a family-run business that produces high-quality end automobile floor mats. For more than thirty years, Racemark has supplied mats to manufacturers in Europe, Japan and the US - including Audi, BMW, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Mits, Porsche, Saab and Volkswagen.
It used to be that car owners could only purchase Racemark mats only through a dealer. For a least a decade, Bailey says, she’d been trying to find “ a way to reach the end consumer more directly.” As of November, individuals can now design and order their floor mats directly from GGBAILEY @ www.ggbailey.com, selecting from about a dozen carpet, trim, and heelpad colors, and personalizing them with embroidered initials, words, or logos. (Racemark designed a one of a kind “007” floor mat for the BMW Z3 Roadster in the James Bond Film GoldenEye.)
Racemark headquarters are just south of Saratoga, in Malta NY, with additional manufacturing facilities in Georgia and Switzerland.
As overseer of the online store’s front-end, Bailey has had to learn a few things about online advertising and marketing tactics. “Doing business on the internet requires immediate response time, 24/7, she says. “We have to move at warp speed,” since orders ship within 48 hours of receipt. Finally, as a woman in the “ultra-conservative” automotive industry, Bailey knows her company must rely on technological and business savvy - not gender - to be a success.
Malta- For almost 30 years, Racemark International sold its high end floor mats straight to automobile markets. Customers who want a Racemark mat had to buy a new car, or at least head to a dealer for a replacement.
But in an age where automakers are insisting that suppliers find ways to costs every year, the company needed its own ways to boost revenue. So it created a new subsidiary, GGBAILEY LLC, and turned to the web to sell custom-made mats to the masses.
“We have to go out and get more sales to grow the business,” said William Van Patten, the company’s plant manager in the Luther Forest development in Malta.
So far the company has tip-toed into the market, putting up its site in November - www.ggbailey.com - and keeping a relatively low profile since then. But Ginger Cannon Bailey, Racemark’s co-chief executive, who is CEO and president of GGBAILEY, eventually expects the direct-to -consumer business to match the 1 million-plus mats made for the auto industry by Racemark last year.
Is that a tall order for car mats that cost $70 a pair, or $95 for an entire car? Not necessarily. The Specialty Equipment Market Association, a California based group, reported that people spend $2.3 billion on car-appearance products in 2000 and $25 billion in the automotive aftermarket.
While Racemark officials had the idea to sell on the web about two years ago, production hurdles loomed, its three plants were not running efficiently enough to handle the influx of customized business that the internet would bring.
So about 16 months ago, officials began shifting the three factories- in Malta, Georgia and Switzerland - to a “lean manufacturing” concept. The production floors would be re-arranged. Workers would operate in teams. Safety and cleanliness would be placed at a premium. The company would invest in new equipment to slash time and effort from the manufacturing process.
For example, the company bought a machine to cut the mats out of rolls of carpet after the plastic backing is applied. That operation used to be done manually, when the mats were put into big die-cutters. Now a computer guided knife slices silently across the mat.
Other benefits: Absenteeism has gone from 11% to 1.3%. Turnover has gone from 300% a year to 12%.
Going lean, Van Patten said, was key to being able to open the Internet storefront. Before the changes, the company was making 3,400 sets of car mats a day over three shifts.
After the shift to lean manufacturing, workers were able to make 3,600 sets a day over 2 shifts. And there’s capacity to spare. In Georgia, the extra capacity will be used to make the Internet orders. In Malta, the company will be able to solicit future business. On the factory floor, there’s actually an empty space with a sign hanging overhead saying just that.
It took more than extra equipment to get ready for the direct-to-consumer business. To sell custom-fit car mats, Racemark needed to know the custom-fit dimensions, information that the company couldn’t get simply by calling up GM and asking.
Check out the finished website and order your custom-fit car mat today visit www.ggbailey.com
A few days from now, Dad could be the proud owner of brand new, personalized car or trunk mats from GGBAILEY. Display his initials, his alma mater or maybe even a special message. They’re available for every car make and model and you can design them online in a snap with a Virtual mat too… 1-2-3 and ship.
Visit the website @ www.ggbailey.com
At GGBAILEY www.ggbailey.com starting @ $70-$95
Yes, customizing is a super fad. So why not car mats? But these aren’t run of the mill places to wipe your feet. These are by GGBAILEY, the company that makes car mats for most luxury vehicles. Now, you can customize down to color and font, and even your alma mater. My choice? Pink Script.
Give your car an elegant and playful tough with these custom-made mats by GGBAILEY. If you’re feeling creative, you can create you own design online. Starting @ $70 visit www.ggbailey.com or call 866-644-2245
Is your Infiniti in need of an Ishtar? Your Hummer missing a Hereke? Racemark International has the perfect solution. The luxury automobile floor-mat manufacturer teamed up with Stark Carpet to put style back in the driver’s seat with Oriental rug line inspired by classic Ottoman-Turkish patterns. The Ishtar and Hereke designs are also available as wall-to-wall trunk liners.
Contact GGBAILEY www.ggbailey.com 866-644-2245
Bringing the kids into the family business is one of America’s most cherished traditions. Typically, the youngster is given opportunities to learn the ropes, bond with staff and maybe take over. Until recently, that meant Pap & Son Company. But things, of course, have changed.
Women now own nearly half 48% of all privately-held businesses in the United States, employing more than 19 million workers and generating a whopping $2.5 trillion in sales, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. Women-owned businesses are also growing twice as fast as all other private companies.
Naturally enough, then, women are turning to their daughters to travel the paths they’ve blazed. In fact, the Center reports that 30% of women business owners plan to pass their businesses on to their daughters, while on 11% of men owners plan to do the same.
But the mother daughter relationship is notoriously complicated. And push pull between parents and kids can surface anywhere. Is it a good idea to work together? Where are the boundaries and stress points?
“She saw an opportunity to build an entirely new business”
Ginger Bailey and husband, Bob, founded Racemark International , an auto floor mat manufacturer, in 1972. Based near Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Racemark today has 280 employees, three plants in Georgia, New York and Switzerland and lucrative contracts with makes like BMW and Toyota, Ginger, now 58, oversees finances, technology and operations, Bob, a former race car driver, tends to business development.
Daughter Emily, now 29, graduated from Lehigh University , and, after working in public relations for a few years, joined Racemark in 2001. “I was shocked to see how hard my parents worked,” she says.
Besides marketing and PR, Emily took on E-commerce and product development, areas Ginger had targeted for growth but hadn’t time to develop. The upshot, conceived by Emily, was an innovative fashion twist for an industry built on utility. “It was a girl thing,” says Ginger. “We took on the motorhead marketing environment.”
Together, mother and daughter created GGBAILEY www.ggbailey.com , a Racemark subsidiary, to sell fashion car mast direct to online customers. Designs include Oriental carpet mats, a hot pink style with polka-dot borders, hip-hop mats stenciled, “Pimp My Ride” and customized designs. “I loved coming up with new opportunity,” says Emily.
“The auto industry doesn’t market to women very well,” says Ginger. “We figured the person making the decisions on mats would see it as a home extension.”
Convincing Racemark’s male team to retool production for such unconventional designs was a challenge. But when some of Racemark’s competitors went bankrupt because of US carmakers troubles, the guys got the message. It’s smart to diversify. The fashion forward mats are now the fastest-growing part of the business and GGBAILEY is looking to expand into home and pet mats. “We’re getting incredible press,” says Emily, who is based in New York City. “I’m doing car mat trunk shows, like clothing trunk shows.”