Salt Lake City, Utah
Vasilios and Victoria Karpos saw the potential of the web early on. In 1995 they put their business selling Greek and Roman figurines online and called it Statues.com. Then someone asked if they could build a custom statue. The easy answer would have been “no,” but they talked to local artisans, and before long were contracting with sculptors, and doing molding and casting onsite in a 7,000-square-foot studio. “We became experts, even developed our own casting mixture, which helped us establish a reputation for beautiful statues that stand the test of time,” says Victoria. In the early 2000s, the statuary marketplace became crowded, and it was harder to stand out. “We had a great product, and a great URL, but we relied on that too much,” says Victoria. So in 2015, they began investing in Google Ads campaigns. In three years, sales tripled.
Then COVID-19 hit. “Things changed overnight,” says Victoria. She kept the Google Ads campaign in place, and in June orders began to pick up again. Summer was busy. ”Today, we are beginning to rise to pre-pandemic levels, plus more," says Vasilios. "We are seeing an increase in new inquiries." The great news: Their average order value has doubled from the previous year. COVID-19 actually offered Victoria and Vasilios an opportunity to reevaluate their business. They dug into Google Analytics and Google Ads to identify the top five keywords for their market. Surprisingly, several historic U.S. presidents were among the trending terms. They redesigned the website accordingly. Visitors were already lingering 1.5 minutes on their home page, and Victoria is hopeful that the new site—which is more interactive and now has an historical focus—will help them sustain a strong business. For 2021, Victoria and Vasilios are prioritizing international sales and Google Translate makes their website multilingual. They’re increasing the number of Google Ads keywords they bid on, and look forward to using other Google products as well. “Our whole business is on the internet. Google is it for us,” says Victoria.
Betsy Mikesell owes her kids a debt of thanks — for not doing their chores. One day when her twins wouldn’t make their bunk beds, she went to show them how to do it and discovered it really wasn’t so easy. “It was such a pain to tuck the bedding around the rails while I was on the bed,” she said. “I realized I wasn’t being very fair with my kids and wondered why no one else was complaining about this.” To solve the problem, Betsy created her own bedding set — a unique, one-piece unit that zips together and goes on the bed like a fitted sheet. Two years later, Betsy teamed up with her running buddy, Angie White, to launch Beddy’s (bed ease) on a crowdfunding website, raising over $100,000 in 40 days. Not only did they have funding but confidence that there would be demand for their product. Betsy and Angie stuck to digital to keep informing people about their unique bedding. “Our biggest challenge is just telling the story, because it’s a more expensive product,” said Betsy. “We’re trying to educate people about the concept and function of zippered bedding.”
Beddy’s uses YouTube to share informative videos about its products, and Google Ads to get out in front of users searching for zippered bedding or similar items. Since last August, nearly 9% of the company’s website traffic has come from Google Ads, which contribute to 31% of its total sales. Betsy reports the return on ad spend from Google Ads is more than 24%. Beddy’s also uses G Suite tools like Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, and Drive to stay organized. “It’s how we keep track of things with our graphic designer who’s out of state. If she updates something, we can see it live through Google,” said Betsy.
Last year, Beddy’s was named one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. “Google’s helped us from day one,” said Betsy. “We have had such rapid growth, and we can thank Google for that.” The co-founders pay their success forward by donating bedding to various charities and fundraisers, and they hope to start their own foundation aimed at providing comfortable bedding for homeless and foster children in the coming months. Both Betsy and Angie say they didn’t anticipate the impact their business would have on so many families. “We’ve gotten letters from moms, who tell us that their kids finally feel like they can accomplish something,” said Betsy. “We set out to change beds, but the fact that we’re making even a small difference for people is really gratifying for us.”
Wine Racks America
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jeff Ogzewalla was a digital marketer who had spent years advertising and reselling products online. “For a one-man show in his basement, I was moving quite a lot of merchandise,” he recalls. “But then I realized that when it came to paying the bills, the margins for reselling products weren’t good enough. I needed to sell something that I could make.” Looking around, Jeff ruled out products made from textile, metal, and glass—”anything that needed giant facilities,” he says—before deciding on wooden wine racks. “I had ordered one earlier that year. It wasn’t complicated, not finished very well, and I remember thinking, ‘I could make a better wine rack,’” he shares. In 2002, Jeff launched Wine Racks America, building and selling wooden wine-cellar components out of his two-car garage.
Wine Racks America has always made high-quality products, but for many years, “our edge was that we were first and foremost digital marketers,” says Jeff. The company was an early adopter of AdWords, Google’s advertising program, which they still use to reach customers across the U.S. and Canada. “It is by far the largest revenue generator we have,” he notes. Google Analytics equips them with the customer insights to continually refine their marketing campaigns and online presence. G Suite tools, such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive, keep their internal operations running smoothly. And aside from the occasional trade show, all of their marketing budget goes to digital formats. “Google really has created a magic recipe to connect businesses and customers via their platform,” Jeff adds.
Today, Wine Racks America is a 50-person team operating out of a 29,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. They have grown at a double-digit rate in recent years and, on average, fulfill 1,500 orders per month. The company has also expanded their product line to include complementary products, such as wine-cellar cooling systems. “When I started this business, I was just a digital marketer looking for a product to sell. I didn’t really understand how special wine cellars were to our customers,” Jeff shares. “But now I do. It’s one of those things people want to do. They think about it for years, and plan for it, and save up. Then they find us through this magical thing called the Internet. We never meet the person. We don't really know each other, but we have this bond.”
Brothers Tony and Terry Pearce have one passion: making the world a softer place. “They're honestly ecstatic about helping people live life more comfortably,” says Purple’s Director of Marketing, Bryant Garvin. The two engineers spent 20 years inventing revolutionary polymers that companies use to cushion everything from wheelchairs to basketball shoes. But their greatest creation is their newest, a hyper-elastic polymer called Purple. They use it to make some of the world’s most comfortable mattresses and pillows. “Purple is the color of royalty, and we want everybody to feel comfortable—to feel like royalty,” Bryant remarks.
Purple began selling exclusively online in 2016. They leverage YouTube to help consumers get a feel for their mattresses by showcasing the technology and its benefits through entertaining videos. Their approach is working–the videos garner hundreds of millions of views. “YouTube gives us a key opportunity to tell our story in a unique way that engages audiences,” Bryant explains. They count on Google Analytics to track their web traffic and gain valuable insights about their customers. AdWords, Google's advertising program, helps them drive revenue and build awareness internationally, while G Suite tools Gmail, Docs, and Drive keep their employees as flexible as their polymer. “If Google products didn't exist, it would be a lot harder for us to see this kind of growth,” says Bryant.
Today, Purple sells more mattresses in one day than they once did in two months, and demand is still growing. They've hired 500 employees in a little over a year, and operate a 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Alpine, with another 574,000-square-foot facility opening in Grantsville. “The biggest thing we do is bring manufacturing jobs to the state of Utah. We drive community growth,” Bryant says. They plan to hire several hundreds more employees as they introduce new products and expand internationally. “We should be in most major international markets within five years,” he adds. With a company as innovative as their space-age material, Purple feels comfortable about their future.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Finch has 300 clients worldwide
Partners Bjorn Espenes and Eric Maas founded Finch in 2009 to improve online performance for digital advertisers and grow their profit. They built a software platform specifically to handle large product catalogs and manage retailers’ Google advertising programs. Their inspiration for the company’s name was the small, adaptive bird species that played an important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The toughest business challenge for a company like Finch is building brand awareness among prospective clients and separating themselves from “thousands, if not tens of thousands,” of competitors, Bjorn says. “It's very competitive in the marketplace.”
Finch primarily provides expertise in AdWords, Google’s advertising program. They do this by focusing on increasing the campaign quality score while expanding market size for their clients. Their goal is to achieve a “Finch moment,” when a client sees significant growth in online sales or customers. The company has used AdWords for themselves, too, since the beginning. “We need to see a hard return on our advertising budget, which is exactly the same challenge all our customers have,” Bjorn says. In addition, Google Analytics helps them judge online ad performance both for their clients and for Finch. They also use nearly every tool in the Google Apps for Work suite, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Hangouts. They also have a YouTube channel.
The business has 32 employees, with a presence in a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. “We're a very small company relative to our footprint,” Bjorn says. Inc. Magazine listed Finch in 2013 as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. They aim to continue their rapid growth, which today totals 52% annually. Bjorn realizes that their customers “take a leap into our world” and trust Finch to come through for them. “It takes the whole company to produce the moment when the customer realizes what they've purchased is actually working,” he says. “That’s a magical moment for us.”