Making It: Stay Socially Distant In Style With Custom Designed Decals
Editor’s note: This is part of a series exploring how Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs and small businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and their plans for moving forward.
Maker: Merrie Casteel
Business: Social D Products
I imagine you had to adapt and develop these new products really quickly?
I would say 10 days. A Web site, full design, launched, ready to go. As soon as we heard, we couldn't wait. We were nonstop for ten days and we were working some pretty long hours. It's not that hard to set up a Web site. It's not that hard to do the design work. It's just hours. It was just my time, and my business partner’s time. And then we hired a marketing company that can help you turnkey start business in a matter of weeks.
Integrating it with our current business wasn't a problem. And that was the beauty of the idea. And that's why we settled on it. We had the printers, our suppliers got us the proper sticker material. We already have our whole production line and shipping department. Everything was in place.
Casteel's other company, Simply Color Lab, had just upgraded its printers in January. [Jean-Marie Papoi, ideastream]
What have been some challenges you’ve encountered since launching Social D Products?
Really it was starting a base for this. Reaching owners of small businesses is a really difficult task. So that's why we used Facebook. I'm still kind of perplexed how to continue to grow that market. They’re kind of a well-hidden group. We all are. There are small business owner associations, but you can't market to them. So, you know, the guy who owns the liquor store down the street, the guy owns the salon down the street… There's not like a place to get to a lot of them really efficiently.
Social D Products offers many designs with fun sayings and inspirational quotes. [Social D Products]
Has it been difficult for you to remain optimistic?
I don't like not knowing where I'm going, especially when I'm coming up on a busy season. But lately, I think everyone's in the same boat, and I think that's the thing that makes you feel better. Every single company and every single employee is experiencing the same crisis. And that's really rare, and to be lasting this long. There's nobody who doesn't wonder if their job is on the line or their company they own is going to survive. I'm hoping that since everyone's experiencing it at the same time, everyone will kind of work together and rebuild together. But I've never been through this. You've never been through this. You know, it's been generations since anyone's been through this. So I wonder, you know, I wonder if we'll come out of it for the better.
Floor decals are cut by an employee before being prepared to ship. [Jean-Marie Papoi, ideastream]