In 2011, Marc Stitzlein wanted to give some friends a unique wedding present. Unsatisfied with the options available, he took matters into his own hands and built a personalized wooden wine box. His friends loved it. He quickly saw a business opportunity and soon thereafter set up a workshop with Rich Norton, his business partner. “It has quickly grown into other products, based on our customers’ feedback and our own interest as designers. We have a passion for creating unique products,” Rich says. Artificer Wood Works’ products now include handsome wine boxes for all occasions, custom bottle openers, and a wooden passive amplifier for smartphones. These became popular with customers and corporate clients across the country, thanks in no small part to shrewd deployment of their attractive e-commerce website.
The founders have used AdWords, Google’s advertising program, from the start. “AdWords and Google Search in general had a big part in helping to bring awareness to our wedding and anniversary wine boxes,” Rich says. They also now use Google Shopping campaigns to promote their products, and 90 percent of their marketing budget goes to online advertising. The company relies on Gmail to communicate, Google Calendar to stay coordinated, and Google Analytics to judge the performance of their website. They also launched a YouTube channel to help keep customers informed and up-to-date.
Artificer Wood Works now has a 5,000-square-foot woodshop, where six employees handcraft each product. The co-founders work with an environmental non-profit organization to plant a tree for every product sold and so far have planted over 25,000 trees. “We realize that we all have a carbon footprint, and we want to do our best to minimize that,” Marc says. They also donate wood shavings to a nearby wildlife refuge as bedding and wood scraps to a local farmer who turns them into charcoal for filtering contaminants from soil. Meanwhile, the company continues to grow and develop new and clever products, blending their innovative spirit with the nostalgia of artisan craftsmanship. “The things we make become keepsakes that people are really going to cherish,” Rich says, “and that’s pretty cool.”