Holmes Custom, a rubber stamp, sign, and corporate awards company, launched a new division, 904 Custom, on March 15, 2018. The transition has been in the works for up to 18 months.
The division stems from its Etsy store that has offered personalized products such as stamps, embossers, cutting boards, pet accessories, and more since 2014. In that time, it has acquired nearly 18,000 followers.
The Etsy store will continue to act as the main source in order to introduce customers to the new brand, however, as President and CEO Bryan Croft points out, “It makes more sense to have another source where if someone thinks, ‘Well, they sell one particular product here, what else do they do?’ there is a better connection between all of our divisions.
“What we’re trying to leverage is we do a lot of products. You might have purchased an engraved cutting board, but if you really want to see more, yes, you can stumble through our Etsy store, or you can go to our website and see everything in one place.”
He adds, “I think if we want to build a multi-million-dollar brand, it makes sense to have other places beyond an Etsy store.”
A part of that rationale, Croft explains, is the added opportunity to offer paid advertising on the website: “Right now, Etsy only allows us to do certain marketing because they throttle the amount of marketing they allow on their site. Now, we can go to different platforms, whether it’s Google, Instagram, or Facebook, and can drive new potential audiences to our website.
Another major change that customers will see moving from the Etsy store is Holmes Custom’s Design Wizard – a software that enables proofing before purchase. “We don’t have the ability to show a live preview on Etsy – there’s a lot of internal emails and back-and-forth between (representatives) and the customers, so it creates a better experience and a better confidence-builder for the customer when they know exactly what they’re going to get,” Croft explains.
With technology evolving, Croft elaborates that there is pressure for businesses to evolve with it. “This is what the customers are demanding these days,” he says. “Customers may say, ‘Sure, I see the template, but my name is 19 letters long – how’s my name going to look on there?’ Well, they can type that in and hit ‘Preview’ and see what it looks like right away.”
Although the Wizard launched roughly three years ago, this is the first time the company will fully apply it to a brand. “The technology behind it is pretty complex for a company that’s focused on making personalized products … there is still room for that to evolve and get better.”
With 904 Custom taking off, Croft unveils that the company has purchased just over three acres of land across the street from its home base in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Although the expansion is merely in phase one – “That’s just dirt as of right now”—Croft says it reflects that “A) We are investing in our community, and b) it is a direct response to our company’s growth, which will allow us to make more products.”
Commenting on this growth, he says, “Personalization in our economy is very hot right now. The people that live in the United States right now love personalized products – so until that changes, I think we’re in a good position to continue growing a business.”