Custom Cork Coasters Case Study: How Stella Divina Grew Its Business

Stella Divina & Frank Lowe: Coasting on a Mutually Beneficial Partnership

Stella Divina - Cork Coasters

Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in San Bernardino County, California; Stella Divina masterfully crafts eye-catching, upcycled, and functional home decor art pieces.

And by upcycled, we mean taking discarded objects and transforming them into timeless or branded artwork — fit for a museum.

One of Stella Divina's core products are custom coasters made from tile recycled by demolition and construction contractors.

One-by-one each coaster is handmade, hand-painted, or hand sprayed to immaculate perfection for:

  • Breweries
  • Wineries
  • Wedding favors
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    School Gifts
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    Sales Organizations
  • check-circle-o
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    And more

For more than seven years, Stella Divina's owner — Sara Jo Antonucci — has turned to Frank Lowe for high-quality cork backing for her coasters. The relationship began when Sara Jo needed a custom manufacturer willing to take on smaller orders, considering she was just starting out. Since humble beginnings, Sara Jo's business has continued to grow and thrive — so has the relationship with Frank Lowe.

Less Like a Custom Manufacturer — More Like a Partner

At Frank Lowe, we don't view our customers as an order number — we view them as partners. As a result, we always get to know the business and its people, so we can only suggest solutions in line with the mission, vision, and culture of the business.

With Stella Divina, we knew they focused on sustainability and utilizing eco-friendly products, so our suggestions for cork backing materials were in line with their mission. Business owner, Sara Jo Antonucci explains:

"Randy at Frank Lowe has been awesome with design processes. When I first reached out to them seven years ago, we talked about my tile coasters and how they could potentially help improve the product. They knew I wanted cork or some other type of recycled material.

Even though they're in New York and I am literally across the country in California, they were able to meet my needs. They put together a sample package of different recycled materials like cork, materials made from recycled tire rubber, and other stuff. Then Frank Lowe shipped the materials to us and explained the different qualities of each material to help us make the best decision."  

It's Our People That Sets Us Apart

Although virtually anyone with the right equipment can create die cuts, we pride ourselves in delivering world-class customer service. Everyone at Frank Lowe is empowered to go above and beyond to help our customers meet their goals. We know it's our people that truly set us apart.

In addition to helping Sara Jo choose the best materials, we also helped her understand  different cork thicknesses. She continues

"Randy at Frank Lowe sent different thicknesses of cork. We didn't know whether we we wanted a quarter of an inch, an eighth of an inch or how thick we wanted the cork backing. So Frank Lowe made a bunch of squares in different thicknesses and materials, so we could try them on coasters and see which ones we liked the best.

I thought this was really cool because a lot of companies in custom manufacturing do not offer this level of detailed service. As a matter of fact, Frank Lowe was the first and only custom manufacturing firm to provide this level of service."

Exploring, Pursuing, and Creating with Stella Divina

Over our seven or eight year relationship with Stella Divina, we've been there to provide our custom manufacturing expertise. We use our knowledge to help our customers grow and thrive in any environment. It's simple, when our customers grow, we grow — just as with any other partnership.

Sara Jo explains how our explore, pursue, and create attitude has helped her business:

"Anytime I had a new idea, they were great about helping me engineer it. After coming up with the idea of creating hangable coasters, I found the perfect six-inch, hangable tile while on vacation. I loved how it looked.

So I sent the actual tile to Frank Lowe. They took it apart and actually reverse engineered it to discover the best way to make something like that. How awesome is it that Frank Lowe takes the extra time to go through those steps to help my business? "

We Go the Extra Step, So You Don't Have to

Since all of Stella Divina's coasters are handmade, we've been able to add tremendous value and improve manufacturing processes. We laminate the backing with a specially formulated peel-and-stick adhesive, and then we die cut the coasters to Stella Divina's exact specifications.

While it's a small step for us, it results in significant time savings for Sara Jo and allows her to focus more time on creating the most eye-catching coasters. She describes:

"Another thing Frank Lowe helped me do is find the perfect adhesive. Then, they die cut the cork backing and laminate it with the adhesive.

So when I get the backing, all I have to do is peel the sticker off and stick it to the tile. This has saved my business countless hours and allows me to quickly meet larger orders."

Meeting You Where You Are — Helping You Get Where You Want to Be

When you partner with Frank Lowe, you form an alliance that moves at the speed of business. We get it — just as we can't always anticipate our customers needs, we don't expect you to. And with Stella Divina and all of our customers, we're able to quickly fabricate and deliver products in timeframes other custom manufacturers would deem as impossible. Sara Jo clarifies:

"If you need something fast, Frank Lowe offers the ability to quickly expedite orders and the flexible distribution options to best meet my needs. Most other professional manufacturing die cutting companies never rush or expedite anything.

There have been multiple times when I received  large unplanned orders — especially when I first got into wholesale. Regardless of the size of the cork order, they always seem to have the stuff to make it happen. It's wild because they must truly have excellent control over their machines, people, and factory."

We largely attribute our ability to quickly meet Stella's needs to our state-of-the-art facilities as well as our highly trained and passionate team of professionals. Besides, it's our people that truly sets us apart.  

Contact Frank Lowe for Custom Manufacturing Solutions

At Frank Lowe, we're proud of the relationship we've fostered with Stella Divina and several other thriving businesses. Regardless of the size of your business, we have the equipment, people, processes, and decades of expertise to help take it to the next level.

We are unique in that we offer large scale custom manufacturing capabilities to businesses of all sizes — not just companies with large orders. Most importantly, we'll do it to your delight — offering the best of both worlds. Just ask Stella Divina business owner Sara Jo Antonucci:

"Frank Lowe feels like a mom and pop sort of company with how they deal with customers, but they have the professionalism, large scale capabilities, and resources of a Fortune 500 company.

They're always thinking about their accounts and thinking about their clients. It's like being a part of a family. It's a really awesome relationship you don't normally get with custom manufacturing companies."

Contact Frank Lowe today to experience why all of our customers say we're simply a cut above the rest! 

About the Author Randy Cohen

Since 2002, Randy Cohen has served as the Senior Vice President of Frank Lowe — leading Sales and Marketing as well as a variety of Administrative operations. Randy has 25 years of experience with a background in sales & marketing, production and business management, serving both government agencies and private industry. He holds a B.A from Syracuse University and a Masters and Professional Diploma from Fordham University. Randy uses his unique set of experiences to help businesses and entities across all sectors explore, pursue, and create better solutions.

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