EVERETT — If Snow White’s stepmother had owned a Smart Mirror, she might have been more chill.
Instead of fretting over who’s the fairest, she could have watched a TED Talk or put the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” on repeat.
Electric Mirror, a family-owned business that makes traditional and tech-infused mirrors, is betting that homeowners will want a Savvy Home SmartMirror on the wall.
Like the smart mirrors the firm recently developed for hotels and resorts, the version for the home blends a mirror with a touch-screen display.
Because everything is smart these days, you have to ask: “What’s so smart about a smart mirror?”
Teresa Wenta, the company’s executive director of global marketing, took first crack at an answer.
With the power off, it’s a mirror. Switched on, it’s like a big smartphone, Wenta said.
Any app that’s available on the Android platform, such as Twitter, Instagram or Netflix, can be downloaded. It can hook up to a speaker.
“You can even call up Heraldnet.com and read the headlines while you’re brushing your teeth,” she said.
Paired with a smart-home system, the Wi-Fi-enabled mirror can control the lights or security system.
Depending on size and features, home versions sell for $2,500 to $10,000. The first are scheduled to ship in April.
The company began taking orders at the beginning of the year.
One big advantage over a smartphone: “You don’t run the risk of dropping it in the toilet,” Wenta joked.
The Savvy Home SmartMirror made a big splash at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Last Vegas. Business Insider named it the Best Lifestyle Technology product, said Jim Mischel Jr., the company’s president and CEO.
That guy you’ve seen at the department store make-up counter, obsessively checking the mirrors? It might be Mischel.
“I also check the mirrors at hotels and trade shows. It’s second nature. It’s how I get ideas,” said Mischel, who is a patent attorney.
Electric Mirror’s sales exceeded $60 million last year. Its traditional products, mirrors and lighted mirrors, make up the majority of sales, Wenta said.
“Smart mirrors are a relatively new product line. We expect our smart mirror product category to continue to grow and make up an ever-increasing percentage of total product sales,” she said.
In 1997, Mischel Jr. and his parents — former dentist Jim Mischel Sr. , who goes by Doc, and Faith — and siblings Aaron and Mia launched the business in the family’s Lynnwood garage.
They sold their first product, a mirror that didn’t fog, to hotels.
With success, “mom kicked us out of the garage,” Mischel said.
Since then, Electric Mirror has moved to various locations in the area. In 2016, it opened a 125,000 square-foot plant in Everett.
Today it employs more than 300, including engineers, machine operators, polishers and support staff, Mischel said.
With new products about to ship and the plant running two and three shifts, the “now hiring” sign is always up outside the Electric Mirror plant.
The company buys the raw glass from suppliers. Electric Mirror applies coatings, builds frames, designs the technology and even builds its own shipping crates.
“We’re a sheet-metal company, a glass company, a lighting company and an electronics company,” Mischel said.
Its traditional mirrors can be found in the Hilton and Hyatt hotel chains, at Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas and at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
About two years ago, Electric Mirror introduced the Savvy SmartMirror for use in the hospitality industry.
The Marriott’s Sinclair Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, which is opening in April, will be the first hotel to offer rooms with the company’s smart mirrors, Wenta said.
The company said smart “hospitality” mirrors can be programmed to display a restaurant menu, swimming pool hours — whatever the hotel wants,” Wenta said. “We can help them customize the content,” she said. Guests can use a smart mirror to control room temperature, close the blinds, lock the doors or communicate with hotel staff, Wenta said.
“If you forgot your toothbrush or need more towels — you can tell the mirror and it would let the desk know,” he said.
A year ago, Electric Mirror rejiggered the concept — made its smart mirror more like a smartphone — and scaled it for the home.
“The thing about technology is you want it when you want it, but when you’re done with it — you don’t want to see it all the time,” said Mischel.
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods