Small Connections Can Become Your Best Customers
Are you new to heat pressing and already found a customer that you really connect with? Or do you have a customer that has been with you from the very beginning and you would not want to see them go? This is the connection that East Beach Specialties has with one of their first customers, who is now their biggest customer and even has their own television show.
Joe and Leah Snyder are the owners of East Beach Specialties in Ocean Springs, MS. Joe started this business in 2000 and his wife, Leah, joined him in 2002. Their company sells a large array of items from decorated apparel shirts and koozies to custom mugs and erasers. He was in the customized merchandise industry long before he had his own business; Joe has been in custom apparel for more than 20 years now. It was actually one of his competitors who referred him to Transfer Express. Joe’s wife and business partner, Leah, joked that the reason Joe wanted to start his own business was “so he could go fishing,” which explains their slogan, ‘because having fun is serious business,’ and the fish on their logo.
When Joe first started his business, he made calls to local businesses to try and gain customers; that was when he connected with the family from The Shed. The Shed is a restaurant that has its own television show on the Food Network, and has been a customer of East Beach Specialties from the very beginning. When Joe first contacted them, The Shed family owned a camp ground and Joe and Leah would do small orders for them. Now that they are doing big business with their restaurant, they are sending Joe many large orders. Talking about the family behind The Shed, Leah said that they’re “all part of the family.” Though they may not actually be related, their relationship is so strong that Joe and Leah consider them family.
As a method to promote their business, East Beach Specialties participates in the Peter Anderson Festival, and has even partnered with the festival committee. Over 100,000 people visit this festival every year. Joe and Leah provide t-shirts to the vendors, and they are vendors themselves. They bring their heat press to the event and create t-shirts on location. They plan to participate in more festivals in the future as a means to promote their business even more!
East Beach Specialties sells to schools, events (lots of weddings), and government agencies. Leah said that their t-shirts and koozies (which they call huggers) are their best sellers and that “everybody loves them.”
When asked if they have any tips for those who are new to running a heat press business, Leah said that it is important that you “don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver.” She says that it is better to say ‘no’ than to commit to providing products and keeping a deadline that you cannot follow through with.
Joe and Leah’s story is a great example that what starts out as a small business opportunity can turn into your biggest customer. This is why it is so important to make connections, whether big or small! We are so glad to see Joe and Leah’s business growing and wish them the best of luck as their business continues to grow!