7 Employee Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! For many industries, that means the busiest time of the year is here and businesses will be  working extra hard to keep up with the demand. Whether your company is hiring seasonal employees or your year-round employees will be working longer hours, it’s important that the hard work and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed.

The holidays are a time to show our gratitude towards those around us, and your employees are no exception. There are many ways to show your employee appreciation, from throwing a holiday party for your whole team to gift giving. Here are some of our favorite business holiday gifts ideas to show your employees just how thankful you are to have them on your team!

1. Business Card Holders

Do your employees go to conferences and other external meetings? Do they enjoy going out and mingling with other professionals? Give your team members something classy to carry around their business cards in! These days, making connections means everything. A personalized business card holder is a great way to help your team members make a powerful first impression.

2. Travel Coffee Mugs

Pretty much everyone loves a good cup of coffee, but we don’t always love when our hot cup turns cold, or iced coffee gets warm. A custom travel coffee mug will give your employees an easy way to bring their coffee into work with them and make sure it stays at their preferred temperature. Personalize the outer sleeve with either your employee’s initials, or make them all uniform by adding the company logo.


3. Luggage Tags

Do your employees travel often for work? More and more companies are requiring work travel, and whether your team members take a trip twice a year or every month, you want to make sure their trip goes as smoothly as possible. To help add ease to their travels, give your employees personalized luggage tags so they’ll always be able to quickly identify their bags.

4. Fun Desk Plates

We all love a little desk decor. Our work space is our home-away-from-home, and it’s important we feel comfortable while we’re there. A funny desk plate is a great way to keep gift giving light and fun. We love trendy desk plates here at Holmes Custom, so we’ve got many designs to choose from! Give your team member a desk plate that will make them laugh or keep them motivated.

5. Motivational Signs

Speaking of motivation and decor, our motivational signage is a great way to keep your team members going. Not only will it add a pop of color to their desk or office, it’ll also be a gentle, fun reminder to keep working “like a boss.”

6. Funny Coffee Mugs

There’s a coffee mug for every employee in your office within our collection of fun designs. For the coffee lovers that always seem to have a cup in their hand, order them the “Coffee Before Talkie” or “But First, Coffee” mug. There’s also an option for every Harry Potter-lover, Proud Mom or Dad, and Veteran on your team.

7. Employee Awards

If you’re throwing a holiday party, it’s always a fun idea to involve employee awards. Celebrate anniversaries and reaching sales goals, or come up with a list of funny awards. At Holmes Custom, we’ve got a huge selection of awards to choose ranging in price points and designs.

There are so many fun, creative ways to express your gratitude this holiday season. Be sure you don’t let your appreciation go unnoticed and find the perfect gift for all of your team members at Holmes Custom!


The Business of Branding: How to Establish Brand Voice & Position

Have you noticed that the oldest and most established companies change their voice and messaging over time?  In the 1980s, for example, Pepsi’s “The Choice of a New Generation” campaign used Michael Jackson’s iconic music along with other popular culture idioms to attract the ears and eyes of a youthful audience. (As early as 1961 Pepsi branded itself as the cola for “those who think young.”) Through the years, Pepsi Co. successfully positioned itself as the brand for a younger, hipper generation. (This messaging adversely marked Coke as the soda for a more mature demographic.)

This kind of messaging is powerful and it keeps brands growing, thriving and competing with one another. Company branding is fluid and should be intuitive to the voice of its consumer base and a constantly evolving marketplace. As this week’s “The Business of Branding” post, we will focus on creating a brand voice that not only speaks directly to your target customer, but that also stands out amid a sea of competitors.

First, it is helpful to define what brand voice IS NOT. Brand voice is not music, jingles or sound effects. Once you have reached the point of creating your brand voice and position, you ideally have your visual elements in place, including your color palette, imagery, patterns and other cues that draw the eye in and create an aesthetic identity. Your brand voice should work in collaboration with visual elements to build a cohesive, unforgettable message.

Six basic steps to creating a brand voice:

  1. Define your brand’s personality in words. These words should precisely say who you are. They should speak definitively to your target audience. At this point in building your brand, you should have a strong idea of who you’re trying to reach. Are they young, energetic and ready for the latest trends, or are they older, more mature and established in their beliefs? For decades, Pepsi chose to reach out to a youthful audience, while Coke was the “classic” of soft drinks. Start with 3 words that define your brand, and build from there. (Example: Young, bold and energetic, or mature, established and steadfast.)
  2. Stand apart from the competition. Review what your top competitors are doing. What messaging and verbiage are they using to speak to their customer? Once you find out, DON’T copy what they’re doing. Say something unique. What do you offer that your competitor doesn’t? Reflect this uniqueness in your verbiage.
  3. Ask yourself “How does my audience communicate?” Are they sarcastic, funny or formal? Once you understand the way they speak, you can use this to communicate with them.
  4. Use a call to action; don’t be passive in your messaging. Your visual elements and written communication should work in tandem to grab your customer’s attention.
  5. Find a way to engage your audience. No matter how formal your business is, or how serious your products are, you can find a down-to-earth conversational way to engage your target customer. Speak to them. Consider what is important in their daily life, and how your brand can help solve their problem. Don’t be afraid to use humor or even daily annoyances to get on a human level with your customer base.
  6. As mentioned above, don’t feel confined to your brand voice. It can change over time and fluctuate in response your audience’s needs. Pepsi and Coke are 2 of the oldest and most successful commercial brands, and they continue to find ways to engage their customer while competing with one another in the marketplace.

Positioning your Brand and Product:

At this point, you have ideally pinned down the audience you want to speak to and you’ve begun establishing the diction and visual language you will use to reach them. These elements will also help you position your brand in the marketplace. Consider Pepsi and Coke once again. Which is your favorite and why? If you can answer these questions, you can begin to understand your own business’s position. Is your product essential and affordable, or luxurious and uncommon? Only you can answer these questions, but once you do, you’re on your way to a distinct voice and strong position on the market.

Information we found useful in the creation of this post:



The Business of Branding: Establishing your Company Culture

What is your company culture and how will it affect your business? You can think of your company culture as the personality of your business, from your workplace environment to team values, company-wide goals to overall expectations. Today we’ll be sharing the importance of establishing your company culture and how this internal element and your business’ brand are closely knit together.

When we think of a great company culture, many of us think of the napping nooks at Google or the tuition reimbursement provided by Starbucks. Many businesses understand that by taking care of their employees, they will in turn be loyal to the company and work hard at everything they do. But what many people don’t realize is that a company’s culture and the business’ brand should be integrated. The most powerful branding starts from within. If you have a team full of individuals ready to show the world how great your company is, whether it’s two or 200 people, you’re already a step ahead of your competition.

Now more than ever, consumers are showing their loyalty to companies they can relate to. They want to see the faces behind the business they’re supporting, which is why humanizing your brand and company culture has become so important. While we here at Holmes Custom have grown exponentially over the years, we value our small business status and our team of #Holmies. Our brand and values makes for a natural connection with so many of our customers because they too are either small business owners or a part of a small business team. We’re eager to help equip their small business with the tools they need and chase their dreams.

Once you’ve defined your brand, you have the foundation for your company culture. What do you value as a company and what is your purpose? If you’re an energetic fitness business helping your customers reach their health goals, your culture should be motivational and competitive.

No matter what your company represents, marrying your brand and culture will give you a powerful platform to create a company that’s both cohesive and authentic. Be sure you’re being unique when establishing what you want your company’s culture to be. It’s easy to look at successful corporations and mock their strategies, but if you create a company culture that is unique to your brand, standing apart will be easy.

When building your team, look for candidates that naturally possess the characteristics you want your business to have. If customer service is a top priority, look for friendly, out-going individuals who want to see your customer’s smile. If you’re opening a high-scale bar that serves craft cocktails, search for drink enthusiasts with keen attention to detail. By finding the right team and creating a solid, transparent company culture, you’re giving your employees the tools they need to succeed. By being clear with your company values, your team will never have to guess what is the right decision and will feel empowered to make judgment calls they know you will approve of.

Once your company culture has been established, let it be known. If you work in an office environment, set a small portion of your budget aside to decorate with motivational signs or other decor to represent your culture. Celebrate achievements with your employees, whether it’s with something as simple as an ice cream social or as big as a weekend retreat for the whole team. Be sure to document it in a professional yet fun and engaging way on your company blog or social media accounts. Not only will your customers enjoy seeing the faces that work so hard behind the scenes, your team will also know they’re a valued part of your company’s mission.

In the next “The Business of Branding” post, you can look forward to learning all about establishing your brand voice!





The Business of Branding: Small Business Spotlight featuring Grease Rags Clothing Co.

Here at Holmes Custom we are passionate about small business. We often receive orders from small businesses with big goals and even cooler logos! Here in our local Jacksonville community, many small businesses are succeeding and thriving, not through sales alone, but also through relationships with their community and passion for what they do.

As part of our “The Business of Branding Series” we are featuring Grease Rags Clothing Co. for our small business spotlight. We would like to introduce you to Cindy Platt, owner of this inspiring and unique Jacksonville based small business. Cindy has just recovered her shop from damage it underwent during Hurricane Irma and she has just had her grand re-opening!

We are excited to share Cindy’s unique point of view and the trials and successes that inspired her to spread her wings and become a business owner.

Q: When did you start grease rags?

A: Grease Rags Clothing Co. celebrated its 4th year anniversary at the beginning of October.

Q: What encouraged you to open your own retro clothing shop?

A: My prior background was in corporate banking. After completing treatment for Stage 4 oral cancer, I realized a few things. My brain worked a bit differently than before and my priorities had completely changed. No more banking for me, but I had to do something to keep me busy enough on my own terms so I could stop worrying about my health. I always loved the styles but they were difficult to find unless I shopped online.

Q: What keeps you passionate about running your business?

A: There have been moments when owning a business is too taxing on my energy. I still have late effects from my previous treatment and this makes daily life a challenge quite often. In those moments when I think I can’t do it anymore, I think about the community we have built around Grease Rags Clothing Co. I think about all of the good things I can do, such as starting my non-profit organization, to help others.

The shop is a home base for all of these other activities and also a safe place for people to come and decompress from things that are bothering them in their lives. It may sound silly, but this is more than a place to buy a pretty dress and I feel both committed and honored to provide such a place to the community.

Q: What damage did Hurricane Irma do to your business?

A: The storm surge flooded our dress shop and adjoining barbershop. The property owner had a crew down the day after the storm to tear out the damaged drywall, dehumidify the building, and replace the drywall. I believe the quick action saved us from having bigger problems. Luckily, the great majority of our merchandise was not harmed. The little things I initially thought were no big deal have really added up though. Most of our furniture had to be thrown out, we had to rent a commercial floor cleaner to scrub the floors (3 passes on that), replace all of the shop rugs, repaint the floors and walls, buy a new steamer, and more. Even though there has been some significant expense, I chose to look at this as a kind of reboot for the business. The rising water was a kind of forced de-cluttering so we are definitely more organized now too.

Q: What has been most difficult about recovering from Irma damage?

A: The most difficult thing has been trying to keep some sort of business activity going while trying to get the shop squared away. Our online community has done a great job at keeping orders coming in and we did some pop up shops at local businesses such as Steele Hair Gallery, The Volstead, and Hourglass Pub. We greatly appreciate how everyone has gone out of their way to support us and hope we have done a good job at expressing that gratitude.

Q: What has been most rewarding about recovering from Irma?

The most rewarding aspect of this process has been the activities we have participated in to help others. It has been very refreshing to see so many different kinds of people come together for a good cause.

Q: Tell us about your grand reopening!

A: Our Grand Re-Opening was held on Saturday, October 14 from 11 am to 7 pm. We had a huge cake along with refreshments, live music by Redneck Hummus and a sidewalk sale chock full of deals! The turn out was great!

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: You can find us all over social media so please feel free to check us out.

Cindy modeling one of her styles

It is the determination of small business owners like Cindy that keeps our team at Holmes Custom passionate about what we do! If you would like to learn more about Cindy Platt’s not-for-profit, visit www.rocstartjax.org. You can also follow Grease Rags on Instagram at @greaseragsclothing.

Grease Rags Clothing Co. is a great example of a small business owner taking her personal passion and style and turning it into a brand. From clothing tags to custom buttons, the company’s aesthetic and brand style is apparent the moment you enter this unique shop.

Check back soon for our next post on establishing your brand’s culture!

Welcoming Jax Beach Elementary on Manufacturing Day

At Holmes Custom, we love to give back to our Jacksonville community! One of the ways we choose to do so is by hosting an annual field trip for the Jacksonville Beach Elementary School first graders. This is a fun tradition we started in 2010, but something that made this year’s field trip even more special is it took place on Manufacturing Day! Manufacturing Day occurs on the first Friday of every October and it’s purpose is to celebrate modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. As we prepared for this year’s field trip day, we knew there couldn’t have been a better day to invite these students into our Jacksonville facility.

As the school bus pulled into our parking lot early Friday morning, team members from different departments were ready in their stations to welcome the kids. From customer service to shipping, product development to production, there were hands-on stations set up throughout the building to show the students what we do here at Holmes.

We started the day off with a welcome speech by our CEO, Bryan Croft, then the kids followed him over to the “clock in” area where each student “punched in to work”. Next, they broke into groups and traveled around to the different areas. In our production department, they learned how name tags, buttons, stickers and stamps are made, and at the end of each activity they got a fun gift to bring home.

They also visited our Marketing department to learn about product development and come up with creative ideas for products of their own, from coffee mugs to Halloween stamp designs. Our customer service team taught the students about how we prioritize our customers needs to ensure they’re always happy, and about some of the other products we offer on our websites. In the shipping department, they got to see all the different corners of the country we ship to on a daily basis, and of course, left with a few of our signature tootsie rolls!

“What started out as an opportunity to help my daughters’ school with a field trip to our office has really evolved into a fun event for us and the students,” said CEO Bryan Croft. “This one day a year when we open up the office for 80 or so first graders, we try to teach them what it’s all about here, but also work on what they’re learning in school. We teach them the importance of spelling correctly and taking your time as haste makes waste. We also talk about team building and brain storming new ideas for products.”

Every year there’s at least a few students completely fascinated by some of the manufacturing jobs we offer our community here at Holmes Custom. We pride ourselves on the products we make everyday, but to see how excited these children get about our company is a completely different joy of it’s own.  We can’t wait to welcome the next group of first graders in 2018! To learn more about Manufacturing Day, click here.

The Business of Branding: Establishing your Brand Style

Now that you’ve turned your brilliant business idea into actionable company goals, it’s time to create your business’ identity. What makes a business recognizable? Often times it’s their unique product or their friendly staff, but the way you visually present your company also has a lasting impression. For this week’s The Business of Branding topic, we’ll show you how to establish your brand’s style, from designing your logo to selecting the perfect color palette.

Get Inspired

Many aspiring small business owners dream for years of turning their passion into a full-time job, so finding inspiration for their brand style is easy. Whether you’ve already gathered elements for your dream brand or really aren’t even sure where to begin, creating an inspiration board will help you keep all of your thoughts in one space. Before you begin nailing down your style, look for logos, fonts, design elements and color palettes that speak to you. If there’s a brand you love or that makes you feel something you’d like your customers to feel, look to them for inspiration. While you never want to mock an existing brand, it’s ok to find pieces of inspiration in others. Just be sure your brand is unique in its own ways so it stands apart.

Create your Logo

Once you’ve found different elements of inspiration, the best place to begin is with your brand’s logo. While other elements of your brand’s style will be greatly important in branding your business, your logo is at the core of your brand and should be designed with that in mind. Many small businesses choose to hire a Graphic Designer because they know best how to take your inspiration and create the logo you’ve been dreaming of.

“Designing the perfect logo can seem like a very crucial or stressful task, but breaking it down into smaller steps makes it more feasible, and also a lot more fun,” said Graphic Designer Elizabeth Wyatt. “I recommend coming up with a list of adjectives or ‘buzz words’ that describe or convey what you want a customer to feel when they see your logo. Knowing whether you want your logo to be lighthearted and casual, sophisticated and serious, or anything in between, is a perfect first step that can tremendously help in guiding you or your designer in the right design direction for your brand.”

Whether you hire a designer or create your own logo, it’s a good idea to have different variations. Start with your main logo then design a smaller variation, like an icon, that will be easier to add to pictures, graphics, etc.

Choose your Font(s)

Many people believe their font(s) should be chosen before their logo is designed, but the opposite is actually true. Your fonts should be complimentary to your logo since your logo is the main point of focus. That being said, your typography is still a crucial feature of your branding. Different fonts have the power to make your customers feel a certain way, just like colors do. More and more companies are choosing to use multiple fonts in their branding, but if you do go that route, it’s extremely important your fonts work well together.

Select your Color Palette

When choosing your color palette, consider your company goals and think about what you want your brand to feel like. If you’re opening a holistic spa, you may choose shades of blue which represent loyalty and calmness. Choose shades of yellow if you want your customers to feel energized and positive when they interact with your brand. After you’ve determined what emotions you’d like your company to evoke, choose your brand’s main color and a few complimentary colors. Be sure they aren’t battling one another for your customer’s attention.

Pick your Design Elements

Finally, it’s time to choose your brand’s design elements. These elements can be many different things including textures, graphics or images, to name a few. While they may seem like a minor detail, you’ll be surprised how often you’ll use your design elements when creating your website, establishing your social media presence, etc.

Creating your brand style is one of the most important things you’ll do while getting your small business off the ground! Establishing a cohesive, memorable brand for your business will help you connect with your future customers, and will also make sure they remember who you are. Now that you’ve spent so much time developing your brand style, be sure to compile all of these elements into a brand style guide. Your style guide will help you stay consistent in your business’ branding and will also make it easy for new hires to quickly catch on. Next time, we’ll discuss how to identify your brand’s culture and make your business more relatable to consumers.


#Holmies Go to Haiti! 2017

Many things have changed for our small business over the past year, like our continuous growth and the evolution from Holmes Stamp & Sign to Holmes Custom, but one thing that will never change is the #Holmies’ annual mission trip to Haiti. This year, a group of ten men, including CEO Bryan Croft, Production Supervisor Jesse DeVaughn, and IT Manager Daniel Kellogg, raised $26,000 and collected other nonmonetary donations to bring to the people of Haiti. Their yearly adventure is supported by a nonprofit organization named Haiti180 that organizes mission trips, just like theirs, throughout the year every year. Learn more about Haiti180 and last year’s trip here.

Day 1:

Croft said this year’s trip started similarly to his previous five, with a full day of travel, beginning in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. and ending at Kay Mari, the orphanage the mission trips support. Here they were welcomed by the children’s caretakers and what seemed like millions of stars. After 17 hours of travel, the group headed to bed to rest up for the next day.

Day 2:

In the morning, bananas and coffee prepared them for a full day of work. Each year there is a main task the group focuses on, and this year they worked on the construction of the teacher’s housing. Roughly two miles from Kay Mari is a school. This school’s educators are responsible for teaching the 35 children of Kay Mari and the children of the surrounding village. Haiti180 believes that by educating these children, they are investing in Haiti’s future leaders. So when the team returned this year, it was their mission to construct a place these educators could call home.

Day two was spent moving truck loads of river stones to the location of the teachers’ housing and collecting roughly 700 gallons of water for cement mixing. The rocks and cement combined would later create the foundation of the housing, making them a huge step closer to the finished project. After swimming and bathing in a nearby river, they enjoyed chicken, rice, green beans, and french fries for dinner – a meal prepared by the grateful caretakers of Kay Mari.

Day 3:

On day three, half of the team stayed back to continue construction on the teachers’ house. They collected various elements of the house, like cactus to create a fence, and wood for the cement forms. They also worked to fix one of the roads that was severely damaged in Hurricane Irma. The village’s main road was washed out, causing anyone traveling along the road to get stuck in the mud. So next, they gathered broken boulders and used them to fill in the holes on the road.

The other half of the team went into Port au Prince with two primary missions. Their first goal was to work with a provider in Haiti to get a consistent internet connection to the village.  This is a challenge, as you can imagine, and will take some hard work and time.  But the internet was a game changer for our small business because for 40 years we serviced only select areas of Florida. When our small business dove into the e-commerce side of things, it expanded our opportunities for servicing customers on a national and even international level. Once we were able to service more customers, we were able to create more jobs for our community.

“Bringing internet connection to our village could be a game changer,” said Croft. “We could connect the medical clinic to help provide medical services, connect the school to provide better education for the kids, and finally connect to the village to improve the economy.”

They also worked with a logistics provider to get containers of supplies shipped from the east coast of the United States to Pour au Prince. From Port au Prince, the supplies would be delivered to the orphanage, creating a supply chain for the needs of the village.

After each group completed what they wanted to get done for the day, the team headed back to Kay Mari to relax for the evening and spend time with the children.

Day 4:

After two days of labor-intensive work, the team planned for a day of light work around the orphanage and visiting the homes of the surrounding villagers. Their first stop was to visit John Simone, a man who was left paralyzed from the neck down after a motorcycle accident a few years ago. When they first met John last year, he was in very bad shape and had a very low chance of survival. While his injuries remain very serious, he is now cared for daily by the caretakers of Kay Mari and the people of the village, and his survival rate has increased dramatically.

They continued their home visits, bringing them food, clothing, and other essentials. Along the way they met a family with a rare disease that makes it impossible to walk. There are a few cases of this disease in Haiti, but because of the limited resources they have available, no one has found a cure. The team hoped that by gathering information from the family, they could return later to the United States to consult a doctor to see what could be done for this family and others like them.

After delivering 28 bags of cement to the teacher housing, they made their way back to Kay Mari and were welcomed with BBQ chicken, rice, peas, corn, beans and other vegetables. They all agreed it was the best meal they had while in Haiti. The children gathered for chapel, and the team enjoyed listening to them sing familiar yet foreign songs.

Day 5:

Day five was spent transporting more broken boulders and continuing to repair the washed out road. After two more truckloads, the road began to look significantly better and could now be driven on.

Near Kay Mari is what they call the Elderly Home. Originally, this housing was developed as a hospice center for the elders of the village that could no longer be cared for. Often times in Haiti, families must choose to care for either their children or the elders of the family because they cannot afford to care for both. But the health of many of the members of the Elderly Home has improved since they’ve moved there, partially because they are visited frequently by the children of Kay Mari. They’ve said the children look to them as their grandparents, and this has increased morale for both the children and the elders.

Day 6:

The final day of the team’s trip was spent traveling back to their various parts of the country. For our #Holmies, they left the orphanage around 5:15 a.m., and finally landed back in Jacksonville, FL. at 11:15 p.m.

For many of the group, it was not their first trip to Haiti and certainly won’t be their last. Each trip helps the children of Kay Mari, their caretakers, their educators as well as the surrounding village to be a step closer to self-sustaining. Haiti180’s largest project over the past few years has been building a medical facility for the people, and the team was thrilled to report it’s nearly complete. Medical equipment is officially on its way to the facility. From the orphanage, to the Elderly’s Home, teacher housing to the medical facility – none of this would be possible without Haiti180 and its team of support. To learn more about Haiti180, the children of Kay Mari, becoming a missionary or donating to the cause, you can visit Haiti180.com.


The Business of Branding: Establishing Company Goals

Most small businesses are born from a dream. Business owners, especially of start-ups, are bursting with ideas and dreams, but without goals, these ideas often fail to materialize. When establishing company goals, it is vital to turn lofty ideas into actionable goals. This week, our the Business of Branding series will focus on how you can set company goals. These steps can help you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared to turn your great idea into a thriving business.

Who Are You?

Before you delve into writing actionable goals, you must first define who you are, what your company offers and how you’re different from your competition. Every successful company has a unique identity in the marketplace. (Businesses that don’t often don’t last.) Before you can start reaching out to customers, you must first know who you are and what you are going to offer your target audience. Think about what made you want to start your own business to begin with. Did a bad experience with a competitor make you want to do the job yourself? Do you have a unique spin on a product or service you frequently use? Do you possess a unique skill? Recalling what made you want to start your business can help you define who you are and what you want your company to prove to its customers.

What is your Product?

What do you want to offer your customer? Are you selling handmade bracelets, bacon flavored cupcakes or throwback style clothing? Are you offering landscaping services or painting shutters? You most likely already know what you want to offer, but you must also know what makes your product or service one-of-a-kind. Perhaps you have a passion for bold prints and patterns. You have everything you need to make retro cherry print skirts, tops and scarves. You also, for example, have a knack for paring patterns. You, and only you, know how to make houndstooth and cherry prints live harmoniously. Once you have defined what is unique about your skill set, your product and how you’ll create it, it’s time to define who your customer is.

Who is your Ideal Customer?

Do you dream of traveling and setting up pop-up shops, or do you want an established location where customers know they can find you? Knowing how you want to present your products will help you determine who your target customer is. If you are selling retro print clothing, for instance, your customer could be a rockabilly, an artist, a performer or all of the above. If you want to travel and set up pop-up shops to sell your patterned skirts and tops, you would need to stay up-to-date on concerts, trade shows, burlesque shows and other happenings that would attract your ideal customer. If you want to sell your wares from a brick and mortar store, imagine where it should be located. For vintage patterns and rockabilly clothing, for example, you would most likely want your shop next to antique stores, coffee and book stores and other small boutiques. Think about who you want to market to, and then decide how you will reach them.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Once you have defined who you are, what your product is and who you want to market to, you can begin to determine your goals. It is important to make your goals actionable. Use S.M.A.R.T goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound. For example, how much revenue do you plan to earn in your first 6 months? How many events do you plan to attend in order to sell your wares? When and where are these events? How many contacts did you make at each event? Every company will have very different goals, but these goals should always be measurable and attainable. When you reach a milestone or goal, remember to celebrate your success! Record when and how you reached this goal, and be prepared to repeat these successful steps. Also, don’t be afraid to fail. Failure will only help you learn what doesn’t work, and what to avoid in order to keep moving forward.

Once you know what you want to offer your target audience and what your actionable goals are, you can begin planning what your company brand will look and feel like. Our next post will focus on establishing your brand’s style, including choosing your color palette, selecting design elements and selecting other imagery that will attract your ideal customer.
Meanwhile, find out about the different types of small businesses and what the 15 most profitable small businesses are.

7 Things you Need for Tailgating this Football Season


Football season is officially among us, which means you need to be prepared for your weekly tailgate! Get ready for the football season with these fun but also useful products you’ll definitely need at every tailgate. Better yet, you can personalize each item to add even more team spirit to your pre-game party!

1. Stadium Cushion

Bring your personalized stadium cushion along for both the tailgate and the game! They’re perfect for both the tailgate of a truck or the stadium seats. Be comfortable in style while you cheer on your favorite team. Choose from a variety of different designs, plus add your own names, dates, messages – the possibilities are endless!

2. Custom Koozie

Koozies are one of a sports fan’s favorite accessories. Not only do they keep your beverage cool on a hot day, but you can also represent your team. Personalize your team-themed koozie with your initials to make it even more special.

3. Water Bottle

Staying hydrated during a long sporting event can be a challenge. Bring your custom water bottle along and never worry about getting thirsty. This 16 oz. bottle is stylish, affordable, and you’ll never have to wonder which one is yours!

4. Car Flags

Driving your car to the tailgate? Then you definitely need to be sure you’re representing your team with these personalized car flags! These fun designs are sure to turn heads because no one else will have anything like them.

5. Grilling Utensils

A seasoned tailgater will know it’s not a proper tailgate without a grill. Be sure not to forget your grilling utensils so you can make your hamburgers or BBQ chicken. Personalize the wooden box with your favorite team’s logo.

6. Cutting Boards

If you’re tailgating the right way, you’ll definitely need a cutting board. Chop up your veggies for your burger grilled to perfection or to add to your kabobs for a pre-game meal that will be sure to satisfy.

7. Custom License Plate

Your custom license plate will stay on the front of your card long after the season is over. But while it’s here be sure to let everyone know who you’re rooting for as soon as you pull into the parking lot.

With these personalized products, you’ll be the most spirited fan at the game! Not only will they help you throw the perfect tailgate, but you’ll want to keep using them all year long to bring back this football season’s memories. Get ready for a season of tailgating and cheering your favorite team on with us at Holmes Custom.