This is for the UO Wallpaper contest that is currently taking the student life by storm. I only hope it makes it through the craziness.
Archives for Uncategorized
APR 24: The website is coming along. I have bought a domain name on Bluehost, stephosaur.com, and have been looking at templates in which to use. Dreamweaver will be a part of my quest for the perfect site, and also perhaps wordpress and themeforest.
The use of a logo is a big part of my illustration work and identity. It will help to create an environment that surrounds my work and perspective as an artist. The logo will be used as an identifier and as an icon! Yay! CyberDuck for FTP use.
MAY 2: So the website is up and running, though content has yet to be finalized. www.stephosaur.com is all mine! Insert evil voice-over. I have matched cyberduck and dreamweaver to the site (insert actual tech lingo) and so far things are semi-straight forward with the process. I am becoming closer in delegating a logo for myself and have just created a FB page to house another outlet of my work. The goal with this website is to also promote the use of social media and to become proficient in its use and depth of connections. I am finding the hard part is to have a matching name for all of the various interfaces: twitter, facebook, email, I want them all to be the same, but I fear it just cannot be so :/ But that is fine.
The reason for my delay in actually picking a permanent template for my site is the fact that the majority of the sites that I have found are “one page interactive.” Cool. They seem to be… let us say… not what I am looking for. I realize now that this post is rather journal-esque, and have decided to keep going with it, though I shall make some more concrete bullet-points at the end for easy reading.
> site is up, albeit not done
> Content is on the rise
>Social media is looking up, progressing every day
Moving forward, many things have been introduced in this class that will continue to be a big part of my administration experience. Learning about various forms of marketing strategies was invaluable; I have a strong urge to dissect every ad I see already, most especially a commercial or infomercial. Picking out various points in the marketing and how it makes me feel and how it portrays the subject is a mental hobby of mine. I had a great experience with iMovie and editing videos! Secretly, it has been a huge goal for me to make a video, and I loved being able to be creative with it in this class. Technology interfacing is always a valuable tool and so thinking about how to incorporate those tools to best market an organization is going to be much needed in the future.
Case Study Analysis Part I
The company I chose to reflect on is based in Springfield, Oregon and specializes in creating functional premium quality wooden doors and windows. It uses traditional crafting techniques that capture the essence of the Douglas fir tree. A brief history of the Douglas fir tree is necessary to describe the heritage of the company. The tree is known as the Oregon pine and is Oregon’s official state tree as it is very common in the Pacific Northwest. It has a fast growth cycle, which makes it ideal for logging and timber companies. Recently, NW has adopted more varieties of wood to use in the product line, from oak transported from the Eastern US, to African timber, similar to teak. The variation of wood provides differences in color, texture, grain, and strengths. It is truly a unique company, making everything by hand and by each unique order. It is a very skilled and labor-intensive career. This company has strong ties to the community and surrounding coastline.
High end, custom work, organic, craftsman style, natural, skills, and traditional/authentic: logging culture; Oregon has a long history logging and working with wood. Following the laws set by the state; Northwest Door and Sash uphold values in sustainability; views on this subject can be tricky, as I learned from the owner. They use old growth trees, which will last for decades longer than trees that usually grow on lots considered sustainable by the state. Economically speaking, some people are willing to invest more money in their home, and are willing to buy local products, which support local economies and businesses. Having natural products in the home can be an added benefit too.
Northwest Door and Sash is fairing very well economically, earning anywhere from 1.5 million annually. There are some minor concerns regarding competition, for example, Home Depot will have prices that reflect on the lower production costs, as will other hardware stores. But for the type and quality of product that NW provides, they are one of the leading companies in producing handcrafted wood products. They are one of the last handcrafted, small companies in the nation that produces the quality of work associated with the craft of window and door making. Factors that contribute to their product include the type and age of wood, where the wood is harvested, how the wood is cut and shaped, and how the wood is crafted and finalized. Some outside influences that concern the company involve unexpected environmental issues such as forest fires, or excessively dry or wet conditions.
Northwest Door and Sash is for anyone looking for handcrafted and long lasting wooden doors and windows. There is a tradeoff of price versus quality in any industry, and you certainly get what you pay for with this company. In general terms, it tends to upper class purchasing the product and ‘high end’ consumers. Each and every aspect of the window and door that this company produces is handcrafted- literally. Every piece of wood that enters the warehouse is handled by a skilled woodworker, not a machine, and is run through a series of wood shapers and workshops. The company does rely on outsourcing for their panes of glass as well as hardware attachments.
The company has expanded its digital scene by implementing online services. They are in the midst of revising their website to make it more visually appealing. They do not currently have a marketing position within their company; they do not need one. They do very well by word of mouth alone.
Strengths: All of the products produced by Northwest Door and Sash are handcrafted, locally made, sustainable, and stylish. The products are made by highly skilled workers, and are impeccably crafted to suit the clients’ needs. Providing excellent customer service is a priority as well as producing outstanding products through this dedication. They are the only company in the Pacific Northwest that offers such a customizable window and door, and always work closely with the client. NW also works closely with the architects of homes and will initialize the sketches for the custom order. Woods used are of old growth and are more resistant to time degradation; this is important because the wood will last for an impeccable amount of time because it is so dense, as compared with “sustainable” farming of trees that produce 10 year trees with less dense grain, which makes it more permeable to moisture, rot, etc.
Weaknesses: Albeit lovely and local, Door and Sash tends to be expensive. Any kind of craftsmen product will be shadowed by a higher price. From an outsider buyer’s perspective, this could be seen as a lack of versatility, and ultimately, a lack of company durability. Aside from price, this company primarily offers wood products, which may hinder some building projects looking for a different variety of product. This is a niche company and it profits within the niche it has made for itself; that could be seen as a weakness for those who find themselves beyond the reach of this niche. Not to say that this is a weakness, but the company does have to rely on certain other markets and businesses for their hardware and glass that they use in their product. They allow for absolutely no flaws or defects in their work, and end up having to turn down some fine product because it does not fit their standards. This has frustrated some companies, but they have a buying power that keeps the peripheral businesses doing business with them.
Opportunities: There are some potential opportunities for this company, especially being here in the Northwest where they have found a place within the community and have exploited the vast resource of lumber to be found here. I think many people have found the value in having wooden doors and frames and it seems like more and more are turning to more handcrafted items. Being the mid-size company it is, Northwest Door and Sash would probably not be able to sustain it’s working environment and its normal clientele if it expanded to encompass more of the mid to Eastern United States. There is definitely a potential to reach out to those areas, however, the company is not looking for more work; they have been fortunate in that they have seen no lack of business dealing solely on the Western coastal areas. I think their primary opportunity is to continually get their company some recognition where it deserves. It does interface with some home-improvement conferences in Portland every year, exposing their custom, local, and solid project based company. My idea is for the company to manufacture key chains made of the different types of wood that they use; it would not only get samples out to the public, but get their name and product together in a useful way.
Challenges: Immediate challenges that Door and Sash face are the competing companies that sell windows and doors and the prices that Home Depot, Menards, Pella or other hardware stores. Another challenge I see is perhaps the media aspect. For instance, the website does a good job documenting pictures of their product, but I found it to be a bit stiff and hard to maneuver. It was relatively dark, but that was kind of nice to look at. For a better audience participation I would suggest a lighter color for the background. Maybe branching out and having a Facebook page, however maybe they want their market directed at a more sophisticated audience, and as such may want to target another social media website. As stated previously, they do not advertise their company on any level aside from windows at the front of some house that they custom designed. It would be hard to advertize the fact that they even have a Facebook page or some other form of social media because there is no vehicle to display such a thing. Some people don’t want custom windows, ornate isn’t their thing. Some people want more versatile pricing, not an expensive window or door. Some people just don’t get it. Perhaps the location weans the attendance of potential buyers….
PRODUCTS: Products are custom, and as such hardly comparable to even Pella products which do produce “custom” work, however, it is produced mainly through machinery on a line. NW uses a hand-on approach to every one of their products. Pricing of this product is reflected in the care and craftsmanship. To a trained eye, or one with guidance, noticing the difference between custom framing and non custom framing is quite broad. Custom framing allows for windows to be placed anywhere in the wall, at any width, at any height. The window is a view into the outside and can create a portrait of what is outside; it is important to consider how one sees through these portals beyond the home. From start to finish, the final product will be ready to install from 3 to 8 months.
PRODUCT ACCESS: The product is viewed and decided upon primarily through a visit to their warehouse. NW will visit onsite locations to draw up a custom image for the homeowner to decide upon, based on their request. Wood samples are provided at the warehouse and may be shipped. The only location for the company is located at the one and only address, in Springfield, Oregon. There is no online orders; all orders must be made through contact with owner. Shipping is done through a rented truck, service; loading is done through employees of NW and requires the custom jobs to be screwed in place to frames that are installed in the truck bed. This provides a rigid structure for which the frames will be highly protected with no room for damage.
PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS: There are no promotional efforts with Northwest Door and Sash; all of their business is done through word of mouth. There are no brochures, no handouts, no collateral aside from the website. They conduct their business with honest and real conversations, with no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
AUDIENCE ANALYSIS: The existing customers are people who can afford the high quality of product and craftsmanship that goes into the pieces. The demographic of their audience are made up of higher income families. Other demographics may be reachable through other sources of transmedia or promotions, but I doubt they will change their method of business. The way things are running right now make this company highly sought after for those who want the best quality windows and doors. On a side note, their advertisements are on every home that they customize, and it is very noticeable when a house has custom framing and high quality products. Strangers have come knocking with questions regarding such before!
Since the company that I am reviewing is an interior design firm based mostly in wall finishes, I wanted collateral items that reflected wall ideas as well as the nature of the owner, who tends to be very eccentric!!
When I think of collateral I think of things that can be left behind. I think of things that are useful, that will capture someone’s attention. The whole point of having collateral projects is to make a difference in someones day, and make them remember you and hopefully your brand. I thought matchbooks would be a pretty neat, especially because they give off natural light and are an item that everyone should have at home. I have seen this done before and I really like the outcome. Another idea that I have used in the past is utilizing magnets as a form of business card. The shape makes it familiar, and a useful object for holding your son’s picture on the f ridge. It is ok to be outrageous too. As long as someone remembers you 😉
Blogging should not be a new experience, but it is. Oh well, as artists, we like change. Mostly.