Ever catch the latest headlines and sports scores while checking your appearance in a hotel mirror? Ever watch your favorite TV show while luxuriating in a hotel bath? If so, you’ve likely enjoyed the handiwork of Electric Mirror, the Everett-based maker of mirrors with TV screens that magically appear on command.
While Electric Mirror also serves commercial and residential markets, its specialty is selling to hotels and resorts, especially higher-end properties that want to offer guests the latest high-tech amenities. Its website lists projects at such storied properties as The Raffles in Singapore, but the company has also been adding more mid-level hotels, such as Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn.
Electric Mirror got its start in 1996 making mirror defoggers. When a hotel customer asked for an integrated mirror/light fixture, the company came up with one, then added a line of TVs that are invisible until switched on.
CEO Jim Mischel describes Electric Mirror as a developer of “products that integrate the digital world with the physical world.” The company recently introduced Vive, a Bluetooth-ready smart mirror. Mischel, a former patent attorney, predicts mirrors that can display a guest’s schedule for the day and other information.
Electric Mirror has translated innovation into growth. The firm now has 200 employees and recently completed its fifth expansion, a record all the more remarkable given the brutal downturn in the hospitality industry. But new hotels are being built again and older ones upgraded. Says Mischel, “There’s been a rebound because you can’t put off your renovation forever.”
One other feature of Electric Mirror: It makes most of its products itself, down to electronic assembly and sheet-metal and mirror fabrication. Many of its products are custom made, so designers and engineers are just steps from the production floor. “You need a huge amount of control over quality,” Mischel asserts.