Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Little History Behind the Needlepoint

Part of the thought behind creating the blog is that we want you to be able to get to know the guys behind the scenes at S&B a little better. With that in mind, here’s a little of our story:

My name is Peter Smathers Carter and along with my good friend and business partner, Austin Branson, I founded Smathers and Branson™. As many of you know, we launched the company in 2004 after graduating from Bowdoin College. Our girlfriends had made us needlepoint belts and we decided to do some research on the product. To our surprise, we discovered that no one was selling finished needlepoint products at the high quality and affordable price that we were looking for.

We searched for nearly a year until we were satisfied with a group of stitchers and a producer that we knew could create the quality product we had set out to make. Today we employ and provide opportunities for over 2,000 people in 16 villages in Vietnam. This continues to be one of the most satisfying parts of our business.

At first, we set up our headquarters in Austin’s parents’ attic in Bethesda, Maryland. While the surroundings were comfortable, as our company continued to grow we realized we needed our own space and moved into our new warehouse/office that we still call home today.

As our working space has increased so has our inventory. While men’s belts continue to be the heart of our brand we have since expanded into women’s belts, children’s belts, dog collars, cummerbunds, key fobs, and now wallets, flasks, headbands, and coin purses. In response to heavy demand, in 2008 we created a collegiate line comprised of schools from around the country. And as always we continue to work with country clubs, stores and individual customers creating custom patterns for all of our products.

We just attended our five-year college reunion and upon reflection, these past five years have certainly been a blur. We now sell our products in nearly all fifty states and eight countries around the globe. To have moved from Austin’s parents’ attic to the global operation we are today has been quite the experience but our goal has and always will remain the same: to provide you with the finest quality needlepoint and the customer service to match.

Now with this blog we hope not only to get to know you a little better but also for you to get to know the people behind the needlepoint; the S&B team. Whether you've known us for a while or this is the first time you've heard of us, check us out on our website, and remember, “anything else is just a waist.”®

All the best,

Peter, Austin &The Smathers and Branson team