Catherine Mariasch, owner of Mariasch Studios, has been delivering cotton kitchen towels, aprons and other accessories featuring her artwork to retail customers for more than 25 years. The secret to her success? Offering quality products that can be customized at low minimum orders, all from her Lynbrook, NY-based studio.
“By hand-printing our products we can do short runs, such as a store or city name drop, with a minimum of six pieces. Or we can do a complete job with a 12-piece minimum,” she explained. “It’s a different look at personalization. This is not adding on a monogram in-store. What we are providing is a specialized, custom piece that can be ordered by and delivered directly to the stores.”
Mariasch didn’t always provide customization, however. With a back- ground as a portrait painter, Mariasch had prepared herself for a future in business and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she earned a Fine Arts degree and soaked up the knowledge and tools necessary to launch her career.
“I started the business in my parents’ basement in the early 1990s,” she explained. “At that time, the towels and accessories were all hand-painted, which was an important trend in the linens business. I maintained that for about five years and then when I learned about how printing technology had improved, it opened so many more doors. You can produce much more by printing rather than hand-painting.”
Noticing the importance of changing as the industry changes, Mariasch made the decision to switch to printing. Shortly after, the demand for her goods exploded, she said. “When we came into the printing of the products, that was when we started to be able to do this customized work with low minimums. With printing the artwork, we still maintain the specialty or customization as if we were doing hand-painting.”
Today, she said her customers range from local stationary stores and gourmet shops to national retail chains like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as well as supermarkets and Ace Hardware stores.
For more information, see the Nov/Dec issue of GOURMET INSIDER.