A revamped version of CustomMade.com was launched in May to better link custom woodworkers to prospective clients seeking their services. The Web site was purchased in January by Boston-based CustomMade Ventures, a privately funded corporation led by CEO Mike Salguero and board chairman Seth Rosen.
"We purchased the Web site from Ted Whittenkraus, who started the site in 1997 to teach himself how to build Web sites, because we saw a bunch of very talented woodworkers and custom artisans, and a Web site that was in desperate need of an overhaul," says Salguero.
The site receives about 750,000 hits a year, which equates to around 2,200 visitors a day. It currently hosts about 400 woodworkers, known as subscribers. Visitors to CustomMade.com can search for custom woodworkers in their area and learn about specific styles, techniques and specialties.
It costs $180 to $275 to subscribe, depending on the package selected. The starter package allows for the posting of nine photos, while the enhanced package allows for 15 photos and the opportunity to be a "featured artist" on the site's home page.
"It's our belief that the more woodworkers that we bring in, the better that everybody will do, because it really becomes a one-stop marketplace to find the right custom woodworker. Based on the price that we charge, there's no better marketing vehicle out there in terms of exposure for people who are looking to purchase custom furniture," Salguero adds.
Michael Hauck, of Michael Hauck Design in Sutton, Mass., says subscribing has been a vital marketing tool.
"CustomMade.com is an excellent source for leads and sales and has been a definite plus for my business," says Hauck. "As a one-man operation, marketing time and resources are scarce. CustomMade has allowed me to expand my reach at minimum cost. I'm located in Massachusetts, but through CustomMade.com I have cultivated clients in places I could never have reached on my own."
Mike Huber, owner of Chesapeake Cabinet and Woodwork in Bowie, Md., says the site has allowed him to attract a national clientele. "I consider CustomMade.com the absolute best place on the Internet for the average homeowner to find custom furniture makers, cabinetmakers and artisans," he says.
Through a targeted sales and marketing strategy, Salguero says his business plan is to grow the existing subscriber base while helping to significantly increase the demand for custom woodworking services during the next three years.
"We believe that buying custom is the best way to go. Dollar-for-dollar, custom-made furniture offers an individual the best value proposition. By purchasing a custom-made piece, you are supporting a talented craftsman and ensuring that you will have exactly the piece of furniture you want, from desired materials to exact dimensions. It will be our job to get this message out to consumers."
Contact: CustomMade Ventures Corp., 83 Marlborough St. No. 5, Boston, MA 02116. Tel: 857-233-5125. www.custommade.com
This article originally appeared in the August 2009 issue.