Sword & Plough Denver, Colorado
Sword & Plough
“Google products have really helped us communicate and grow in ways that otherwise would not have been achievable for a startup.”Haik Kavookjian, Creative Director90% of Sword & Plough’s sales are made online.link www.swordandplough.comSisters Betsy Núñez and Emily Núñez Cavness grew up in a military family, and Emily is now an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army. In 2013, they founded Sword & Plough, which uses surplus military materials to make tote bags, handbags, backpacks, and other accessories. The company supports various veteran-owned businesses and donates 10% of the profits to veteran-focused organizations. They have relied on the Internet, and Google products, from the very beginning to bring their business to life.
With Emily deployed in Afghanistan, and the rest of the team working remotely from Boston, New York, and Denver, they used Google Apps for Work to stay connected and build their company. Emily recalls, “One of our most memorable magic moments happened on April 15, 2013, when Sword & Plough launched on Kickstarter. We had four of our team members and our parents crowded around the laptop to press Launch. And we did a Google Hangout with our creative director, Haik Kavookjian, so that we could all be together for the momentous occasion. Within two hours of pressing the Launch button, we hit our goal of $20,000! And by the end of the campaign, we raised over $312,000!” Products like Gmail, Google Sheets, and Google Hangouts continue to help this distributed team run the business. One time, a meeting held on a Google Hangout was interrupted when Emily’s base came under mortar attack. “She's thousands of miles away in a remote, war-stricken region, and still able to communicate with her sister and co-founder to provide leadership for this business on the side,” Haik says. “It's pretty incredible.” And as the orders continue to pour in via their website, they monitor their sales and site traffic using Google Analytics.
Sword & Plough now has five employees and they subcontract their manufacturing and design to support veterans working in other companies. The sisters have also begun partnering with other brands, and may expand into physical stores around the country. “Google products have really helped us communicate and grow in ways that otherwise would not have been achievable for a startup, especially one started and being run so remotely,” Haik says.90% of Sword & Plough’s sales are made online.link www.swordandplough.com
KOTA Longboards Denver, Colorado
“We are a successful company with a growing international presence. I could not have done that 20 years ago without the web.”Michael Maloney, President & CEO240% annual growthlink www.kotalongboards.comThe KOTA Longboards website describes the eight-person company as "thrill seekers, veterans, pilots, skiers, bikers, athletes, outdoors nuts and, of course, longboarders." Former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Michael Maloney founded the company in 2012, after working as a commercial pilot and, later, as CEO of a clean-coal technology company. "I’m 52 years old and I represent the first generation that grew up with skateboards," he says. "I wondered, why did we ever stop skateboarding?" Traditional skateboards weren't marketed to people his age. "I thought, we can fix this with a longboard product that would appeal to a much broader demographic, particularly to action-sports enthusiasts."
The company website markets the brand's values as well as their products. “KOTA” honors the intrepid Knights of the Air dogfighters of World War I. "Our name connotes a code of honor, integrity, courage, and esprit de corps that defines how we conduct ourselves in the marketplace and how we challenge our constituents to conduct themselves," Michael says. He uses Google My Business and Google Maps to drive foot traffic to his factory showroom. His social media presence, which includes Google+ and YouTube videos, engages a community around his "action-sports aspirational brand." Google Analytics provides valuable data on traffic coming from mobile users and other countries, which is helping Michael develop a new responsive, e-commerce website.
Michael has shared his good fortune with other veterans by hiring them, offering them discounts, and supporting veterans' causes. "There was a rich entrepreneurial story to tell with our website," he says. That story has garnered national media attention, including from ABC News. Michael looks forward to exploring more Google advertising and marketing tools to keep his KOTA Longboards brand flying high. "Everything we do online impacts our brand," he says. “We’re completely retooling, based on what we're learning from Google."
240% annual growthlink www.kotalongboards.com
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