Castle Merchandising: A History of Creating and Profiting From Brands
Castle Merchandising came to the world of brands first by creating its own: The Time America watch line specifically designed for the recognition market. It has since branched out to offer a full line of brand-name time pieces, sunglasses, jewelry, and other lines, including the Alex and Ani jewelry line.
Almost every successful company starts with a niche and grows by identifying new opportunities: Garden City, NY-based Castle Merchandising is no exception. Founded by Bernie Costelli in the late 1980s, Castle got its start by creating a new watch brand specifically for the recognition market on behalf of a leading recognition firm. Inspired by retail, the Time America watch brand still exists solely for the corporate market, giving Castle unique expertise in all areas of watch design; offshore manufacturing and importing for almost any application.
The company that started in a basement office now occupies 8,500 square feet warehouse in the New York metropolitan area multi-modal transportation hub. Today, under the direction of Bernie’s son John Costelli, who runs the company while his father enjoys retirement, the company has leveraged its design, manufacturing and logistics expertise and location to create a diverse master fulfillment operation that provides related but diversified services:
Customized watch design using any movement, technology, and style for organizations seeking to create its own brand and line for corporate identify or related purposes. That includes analog quartz watches, digital watches, smart watches, and heart rate monitors, and step counters.
Drop-ship, bulk sales, and customization and personalization of leading brands for incentives, recognition, loyalty, promotions, and business and event gifting. Costelli says the company provides dozens of leading brands including time pieces, sunglasses, handbags, and fashion accessories for any authorized corporate use. Casino programs are an important part of this business, and Castle provides merchandise for event gifting programs. See Castle’s Brand Media profile.
• Fulfillment for online retailers: Castle keeps its warehouse busy by handling retail ecommerce fulfillment services.
While the bulk of Castle’s business remains in the incentive and recognition business, Costelli says that online retail fulfillment has become significant and is growing fast.
Brands are at the core of Castle, whether the brands it helps clients create or the leading brands it sells for corporate use. Respecting each brand’s rules and story is critical to success, Costelli explains. “Brands want to make sure their distribution is protected.” Costelli admits that the appeal and perceived value of brand names has always kept a check on the growth of private label brands because people generally prefer brand name watches. Since introducing brands over 15 years ago, Castle’s line list has steadily broadened to include not only many of the leading names in timepieces and fashion accessories but also housewares and electronics.
The appeal of brands also helps explain why fewer companies request imprinting on brand name watches, Costelli points out. Most messages now are etched on the back of the case, he says, because people appreciate the brand name on the watch face. For those organizations that wish to customize and personalize the experience, Castle provides pad printing for many of its items, as well as customized packing slips and inserts. In the sunglass category, it offers customized cleaning cloths, pouches and hard cases. It laser-engraves jewelry and pad prints on small leather goods as well.
Concludes Robert Hoffman, National Sales Manager, “Fast response, competitive pricing, long-term established relationships, great referrals. This is the key to our getting new programs. Clients check the customers that we’ve done right by. We listen to their needs and wants. As a family-owned business, we have a pride in what we do that sets us apart.”
For More Information
Brand Media profile story: BrandMediaCoalition.com/brands/Castle-Merchandising/
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