High Cotton Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
“They search, we pop up, and they buy. It’s amazing.”James Hill, Co-owner & VP of Sales250 retailers sell High Cotton’s ties.link www.highcottonties.comWhen Judy Hill’s son, Cameron, was in medical school, she learned that doctors couldn’t wear traditional silk neckties in many hospitals because they can harbor harmful bacteria. So she whipped up a machine-washable, all-cotton bow tie for him to wear instead. That simple, brilliant solution inspired her to start High Cotton, her own family-owned, hand-crafted bow tie company, in 2010. “With less than $10,000 we started our business and hit the ground running,” says son James, Co-owner and Vice President of Sales.
While Judy was making ties at their kitchen table, Cameron immediately created a website to sell her colorful ties online. “Our website is so important to our success that I tell people all the time that we are really an e-commerce company that just happens to sell bow ties,” James says. They use AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to gain exposure and new customers. James also relies on Google Analytics to gain insights that help them keep their site fresh and relevant. “We eat breakfast and review Google Analytics each morning to make sure that we are on track,” he says. “It’s like the website is our heartbeat and I’m checking its vital stats.” The Google Apps for Work suite of tools, including products like Gmail and Google Drive, makes it easy for everyone to communicate and collaborate. Street View on Google Maps allows customers to get a feel for their Raleigh store before they visit. “The 360-degree photos in Street View have definitely gotten us some of our wholesale business, because it’s so much easier to actually show potential buyers who we are, instead of just telling them.”
Judy no longer sews bow ties at her kitchen table—a manufacturing partner handles that task now. But, she still designs two product lines a year, each with between 150 and 200 new items. The locally hand-cut and hand-sewn products support the revival of the North Carolina textile industry. Today, 50% of their revenue comes through the Internet; Google is the primary driver of site traffic. “Google is really our business partner. We went from a yard of fabric to making more than a million dollars a year. It’s really the American dream.”250 retailers sell High Cotton’s ties.link www.highcottonties.com
Acme Tow Dolly Company Kernersville, North Carolina
Acme Tow Dolly Company
Kernersville, North Carolina
“We went from being out of business to grossing $1.6 million our first year using AdWords.”Richard Brown, Founder$3.5 million in saleslink www.cartowdolly.comThe situation looked grim for Richard Brown. The business he founded in 2006, Acme Tow Dolly Company, was failing. "I wanted to go beyond selling products locally to establishing a national presence, but it was very difficult," Richard says. "There were a lot of issues we didn't anticipate. We were struggling." By 2009, the phone had stopped ringing. He'd laid off his employees. His bank account was nearly depleted. "I would come in every day, just visiting the corpse of our business," he says. "I couldn't let it go." That's when Richard decided to try AdWords, Google's advertising program. "I committed our last $1,500 to AdWords." One year later, AdWords had lifted up the business from the verge of bankruptcy to $1.6 million in sales.
"Now we have 22 employees and 42 vendors," Richard says. "It's been a dramatic turnaround for us." The company sells lightweight car-tow dollies for securely towing a car behind a truck, SUV, or RV. Retirees in the US and Canada are their number one market. Since 2009, they’ve invested heavily in the AdWords program, which continues to drive sales: in 2014 they grossed $3.5 million, with $5 million projected for 2015. Richard credits Google tutorials with helping fine-tune his AdWords strategy. "I realized I had to make my ads relevant to search inquiries, and my website relevant to the ads," he says. His company’s YouTube videos connect customers with helpful how-to guidelines, while Gmail and Google Drive power the back office.
Looking down the road, Richard has high hopes for his now-thriving business. He donates a portion of proceeds to his favorite charities—Paws for Veterans and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Google is integral in this business," he says. "The future of commerce is in Google AdWords and on the Internet. If you’re not showing up in organic search results and paid search results, you’re not in business. Google AdWords allowed me to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the industry giants."$3.5 million in saleslink www.cartowdolly.com