True Confessions: SARTONK Epic Fail and Best Business Decision
The Epic Fail:
When you ask most small business owners to describe their epic fail, they say, “which one?” When you ask Edward S. Majian, founder and president of SARTONK, he has a very different perspective. You see, instead of starting with a clean slate, SARTONK was the rebirth of a beautiful family business that, through no fault of its own, was in the throes of decline.
“I don’t think that we’ve had an epic fail yet, because the situation was so bad when we started the business that there was really no place to go but up,” he said. “In retrospect, the epic fail would have been deciding not to take this on; not to fight for my grandfather’s honor, to just walk away. We took the different path. We believed that the marketplace would support authenticity and justice, which has proven to be true.”
The Best Decision Ever: Branding Their Championship Belts and Cases
It is the quintessential victory. A boxer, fight-by-fight, moves up through the ranks and ultimately, is crowned champion. Battered and bruised, he or she stands proudly, arms raised, to grasp the very thing that makes all the training, the sacrifices and the injuries worthwhile: the iconic championship belt.
“Our best business decision to date was upholstering and putting our logo inside of our belt cases. When they are opened in that one magic moment, there is the signature belt, upholstery and brand for the world to see. By caring for it in this way, we’ve amplified the profile of the belt,” Edward said. “Many champions are so moved by winning that they go home and take a picture with the belt in the case. That has gained us recognition, and elevated our brand and the integrity of the product champions receive.”
Like most great decisions, this one didn’t come easy.
“We were timid at first—particularly about including a logo on our belts, because we thought we’d get a negative reaction from our customers, “ Edward said. “The first run featured a smaller logo but, thanks to the approval of our clients, the standard is a little bigger now.”
That logo has become as symbolic as the iconic boxing belt itself. Both represent traditions. In many ways, both represent fights well fought.
If you have any doubt that a distinctive case lining and well-placed logo can have an impact, consider the most unexpected result: product placement in a music video.
“The UK band, The Rudiments, became interested in using a belt for a music video. They wanted the case to open and reveal our belt, representing a culminating moment in their boxing-themed ‘Powerless’ video.”
Yes, this was amazing product placement, but it was something far greater: recognition as the original. Exactly what the company was fighting for in the first place.
Lesson Learned: Actually, a lesson confirmed. Fight for what you believe in.
Best Decision: Create a distinctive, visual brand for your packaging.