Blog: Karim Motawi

Co-founder and vice president of Motawi Tileworks, Karim Motawi is half of a brother-sister team that turned their custom tile garage startup into a $2 million business.   An entrepeneur and innovator, Karim explains how new ideas can bring small start ups big help.

Post No. 5

He who has the best brand wins.

Everybody knows how important a strong brand is for larger companies--think Pepsi and Coke. But I’ve come to believe that a strong brand is even more important for smaller companies.

With the advent of Internet marketing and cheap shipping, even small manufacturers are facing national and even global competition.  A small good company with a local client base now has to compete with many other small and some times giant companies.  Who will win out as even small companies across the country are literally forced to compete with all comers?

Other factors being equal, price, quality and service the company with the better brand, even if it is a small brand will be the winner. 

In our own small industry of handmade tile, we have seen a growing awareness of the importance of a strong brand.

In the past, and in some cases even now, tile retailers literally disguise the brand name of a product.  They do this to keep customers from trying to source the same tile from another retailer at a better price.  As a manufacturer we didn’t like it, but we lived with it as we figured we would get the sale in the end.

But now, as even the art tile market is being flooded with imported look-a-like products, the use and defense of our brand has become a serious issue. We are working hard to maintain our brand and encourage our retailers to join us in supporting it.  A good brand, and a good product, will command a higher price, and who doesn’t like that?

So think about your brand and if you don’t have one, make a good one.