Sugar Bob's Finest Kind Founder
"When you’re a small business, you need to find the levers that are able to move the most weight, and Image Relay is one of the most powerful levers we have.”
With more than 30 years as an experienced maple sugar maker under his belt, Rob “Sugar Bob” Hausslein started Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind in 2015 with a passion to bring people closer to “the woods, their food, and each other.” Based out of Southern Vermont, Sugar Bob's Finest Kind Foods sells their handcrafted products to retailers around the nation.
Although their staff is small, Sugar Bob’s carries a disproportionately large number of SKUs. Best known for their iconic Smoked Maple Syrup, Vermont-based Sugar Bob’s also offers a growing selection of increasingly popular maple-infused products, from BBQ sauce to maple srirachas to spiced nuts.
Like a lot of brands, before partnering with Image Relay, Sugar Bob’s relied on a disorganized and outdated system for asset management and storage. This “system” ranged from DropBox to Google Drive to computer hard drives, “not to mention just piles of papers on desks waiting to get scanned.” Looking back, Rob admits, “it was pretty chaotic.”
The biggest drawback was that without consistent, cloud-based storage, Sugar Bob’s lacked a reliable, central source of truth. This made it hard to communicate with external partners and present their brand with the consistency and polish they desired—and they knew their growing fanbase of customers, as well as retail and media partners, would expect.
Two years ago, Rob and his team partnered with Image Relay, hoping that Image Relay’s DAM solutions would be a game changer that would help them get organized, and help them grow. The bet has more than paid off. The Sugar Bob’s team immediately loved the simplicity and ease of Image Relay’s intuitive platform, which makes things “So simple” and provides a “gold-standard” for branding, product information, and valuable company assets. Having all their assets organized and stored in one place freed up bandwidth internally. And by making asset Collections, they could quickly and easily share accurate and up-to-date assets with anyone, from retailers to journalists to designers. A recent project to develop in-store shelf talkers, which would have previously taken endless emails and tracking files down from various locations, was a designing breeze with Image Relay’s organized storage and easy sharing tools. “We just gave our designers custom access to our asset library and then let them loose.”
Rob also loves having all the brand assets in one place to take advantage of future media opportunities. “By having our library well organized and well populated, we’re always ready to respond to our next big PR opportunity.”
“By having our library well organized and well populated, we’re always ready to respond to our next big PR opportunity.”
With a staff of only 4-5 people, and a large number of SKUs to manage, the team at Sugar Bob’s all wear a lot of different hats. Add in the fact that the brand has been undergoing a top to bottom re-brand, updating their product labels, and gearing up for a huge location change for the past year, they needed to make every minute count. “We’re at a scaling moment,” Rob says. “And to scale, you need to free up bandwidth, and to free up bandwidth, you need to be organized.” Sugar Bob’s has also been in the process of launching new products, not to mention expanding their products into new markets. Being a small business owner can be a tiring, relentless experience and having Image Relay in their corner has “allowed [Sugar Bob’s] to sort of Superman through these last 12 months.”
“We’re at a scaling moment,” Rob says. “And to scale, you need to free up bandwidth, and to free up bandwidth, you need to be organized.”
Image Relay’s tools help Sugar Bob’s level the playing field with larger companies that have more staff and more resources. They need to be able to respond to requests from prospective retailers at a moment’s notice, but often feel stretched thin in terms of personnel. By storing all their brand assets on Image Relay, Sugar Bob’s can present the same consistent, united face to the world that larger brands have entire teams to manage. “I love the idea of a small company acting like a big company and punching above their weight. Image Relay allows us to stand on the same platform as of the great big Vermont brands.” Beyond sharing assets, Image Relay’s Product Hub offers the ability to set and forget customized export channels based on individual retailer’s requirements. Sugar Bob’s has the ability to map their in-house product headers to meet their retailers’ needs. This functionality frees up the most valuable asset of all: time.
“I love the idea of a small company acting like a big company and punching above their weight. Image Relay allows us to stand on the same platform as of the great big Vermont brands."
As they grow, Rob and the team at Sugar Bob’s see enormous potential in utilizing Marketing Delivery further. Features like Collections to assemble related images in a visually-pleasing way, Catalogs for sharing a custom range of products with potential retailers, and Marketing Templates for quick and easy creative work are all available to expand what Sugar Bob’s team can take on by themselves. Growing brands like Sugar Bob’s are at an optimal point in their journey to adopt solutions like Image Relay. Rob shares that “when you’re a small business, you need to find the levers that are able to move the most weight, and Image Relay is one of the most powerful levers we have.”