Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022 - 49

up. They also handed out koozies
imprinted with the business's logo
to keep their company top of mind.
She also advertised on the local radio
station and still does today.
Frost Reeves says one successful
marketing strategy was joining the
Lake Havasu Marine Association. Her
company was one of the first small
boat businesses to join and exhibit
at the annual boat show, which has
grown to be one of the largest in the
region. While it rarely results in direct
sales, it's a good way to connect with
potential customers.
The company also has a website
and a Facebook page. Similar to the
boat show, Frost Reeves says that while
these platforms alone don't generate
sales, they are a first step to showcase
the company's work. " It's the beginning
of the relationship, but it doesn't sell
the product. Usually, a phone call and a
meeting with the client is what sells it, "
she explains.
A contractor maintains In Stitches
Customs' website and Facebook page.
Using her digital marketing expertise,
she positioned the company to appear
in the top three Google search results.
Frost Reeves says she did try a service
that promised her website would be
first in Google searches but she found it
costly, and it didn't change her ranking.
Speaking of what hasn't worked,
Frost Reeves says that she has tried pennysavers
and ad coupon magazines, but
they didn't generate business. And while
at one time the phone book was key, it's
no longer useful in the digital age.
" We make a habit of asking people
how they found out about us, which
is an important strategy, " says Frost
Reeves. " It's gone from the phone book
to an internet search, and we are one
of the first to come up. They go to
our website, which entices them
enough to call. "
Generating buzz
Like Vorei Frost Reeves, Patricia
Wallace's first strategy to market her
upholstery services was to show off the
custom work she did on her own boat.
The owner of Bear Paw Custom Design
in Portsmouth, N.H., recalls that when
she first started out, her work was on
display on her boat at the local marina.
The dockmaster started referring
customers to her and as people got to
know her work, they'd stop her to chat
about it. " My husband would get upset
with me because it would take me 40
minutes to get from the parking lot to
the boat, " she says. " I told him I can't
afford not to talk to these people. "
Wallace, who left the corporate world
(she was a vice president and controller
for a financial services company)
to start Bear Paw Custom Design,
agrees that word of mouth is her most
powerful marketing tool, accounting for
more than 90 percent of her customers.
It's kept her in business for 30 years
doing upholstery for marine, home,
restaurant and commercial clients.
Bear Paw Custom Design doesn't
have a website or social media pages.
Wallace does rely on Yelp and Google
for customer reviews. Now semiretired,
she no longer advertises because she has
enough work to keep her busy.
You're as good as your last job
Matt Forbes specializes in auto
upholstery in the custom car
market in his one-man shop, Matt's
Motortrimming, in Havelock North,
New Zealand. He also does some
marine and small aircraft work.
Forbes started doing upholstery
because he's always liked cars,
especially muscle cars, but didn't want
to be a mechanic. His target market
is high-end builds and show-quality
interiors. His customers come to him
primarily through word of mouth.
 In Stitches Customs gave this Fountain
Powerboats-brand boat a facelift with
upholstery done in straight radiating
diamonds. A 38-foot Fountain logo design
stitched into the upholstery adds drama.
Photo: In Stitches Customs.
 Matt Forbes of Matt's Motortrimming
says most of his work comes through
referrals. He uses social media to
market his upholstery services,
displaying examples of showpiece
designs that demonstrate the intricacy
of his creations. His shop recently
won IFAI Achievement Awards in the
categories of Marine Interior Upholstery
and Technical Miscellaneous.
Photo: Matt's Motortrimming.
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 49
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Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022

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