Merchant Spotlight: A Different Kind of Mug Shot

In this week's Merchant Spotlight, we interviewed Richard from

Tell us a little bit about your business!

“ is a special online business we opened to offer people creative and unique designs for their coffee mugs and tumblers. We provide customers with high endurance tumblers and stemless wine glasses and offer the power of personalization.  

Columbia Awards is the parent company, which offers a wide variety of awards, recognition pieces, and promotional products. We manufacture the tumblers and glasses right at Columbia Awards, but designed a separate identity for 

What motivated you to open up an online store?

“I was the first ever Canadian to be voted in as President for the Awards and Personalization Association. This association is an international trade association for businesses involved in both awards and personalization. When I served in the association, I learned that the personalized tumbler craze was huge in the USA and has not yet started in Canada. So, I did some research and created a website aimed at that popular product.Personalization is key.  Studies have shown that once you personalize the gift, the perceived value skyrockets to 10-25 times higher.”

What are your marketing goals for 2021?

“To be able to effectively promote the website using paid ads as well as the use of influencers. I want to effectively use testimonials to reduce any fears from potential customers.”

What do you love most about digital  marketing? What are three tactics / channels you use that provide you the highest ROI?

 “I like the fact that you can do all the digital marketing yourself (of course, with expert help from Social Lite).

I have the ability with graphic software to create the ads. So creating a design and getting that on the internet can be as quick as 20-30 minutes.

Here are some tactics I have had luck with:

I have partnered with Pet Companies and basically use them as advocates to spread the word. I like this method because it is sort of pay-for-performance. I only pay them with a commission based on sales, which originate from their own customers. I have had a surprisingly good response from this method of marketing.  

Facebook: This will be my go-to for social marketing.  Of course, trying to find that illusive magic formula of who the perfect customer is and how to advertise to that customer is challenging.

Self-promotion: On all our designs, we will laser engrave our web address right below the design. The web address is engraved very small, yet it is still legible. This is effective because it takes us only about 10 extra seconds to laser engrave that right into the design. Plus, when people admire their design, they will always see our web address. And when they show off their mug to their friends, they too will see where it came from.”

If you're interested in scaling your online store, make sure to: