Customer Story | CustomInk "We’re so happy with Webdam. They have been so helpful and flexible. It’s been a great experience." Joe Nicolia Joe Nicolia Art Technology Specialist CustomInk
CustomInk CustomInk

Some people wear their feelings on their sleeve. But just about everybody wears them on the front of their t-shirt. CustomInk is the rapidly growing global online retailer that makes it easy to get those feelings (or company logos, family reunion name, etc.) on shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles and just about anything else you can think of.

The Challenge

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Digital assets are obviously vital to every CustomInk workflow – from the initial design of a t-shirt to how items are printed and distributed to customers. The company’s homegrown, barebones solution for managing and accessing these digital assets worked for awhile, but it soon proved insufficient and actually added to the daily workload.

Joe Nicolia, art technology specialist at CustomInk, said his team had loaded more than 10,000 individual files onto a rudimentary shared directory housed on a local server. The files were in a “to-be-reviewed” folder that was difficult to access and made searching for metadata impossible. Metadata and other information frequently got overwritten when other users connected to the folder. Though these files were being archived, they were often needed to repurpose designs or reprint existing designs.

Over time, CustomInk’s cumbersome and inaccessible shared directory continued to fill up with assets – with no easy way to access or view the valuable files inside.

“We had 8,000 to 10,000 assets that just sat there, and no one was able to spend time addressing them,” Nicolia said.

The Solution

Finding Comfort in the Cloud

Nicolia said the CustomInk team evaluated many platforms to better manage the company’s huge collection of digital assets, but none met the team’s needs.

“The off-the-shelf solutions were all resoundingly horrible,” Nicolia said. “All the other options were too pricey and didn’t do the simplest things we wanted them to do.”

Finally, as CustomInk was opening its third office in Reno, Nevada, Nicolia came across Webdam and found that it closely met the rapidly growing team’s needs.

“Webdam has always been in the cloud, which makes a lot of sense for us, especially as our team spread further and further,” he said. “I was completely smitten with it from the start.”

The Results

A Modern New Look

Nicolia was able to get the CustomInk Webdam account – custom folder structure, metadata and all – up and running quickly by himself, with no additional IT support or extensive training.

“My own folder structure was imported very gracefully,” Nicolia said. “It all worked the first time around. I just let the account setup process run and it worked so smoothly.”

Today, CustomInk’s entire pre-press artwork team – creative professionals that prepare artwork before it goes to any print shop or screen-printing facility – uses Webdam every day to manage, access and collaborate over thousands of creative files. Not only did Webdam make it easy for users to access files anytime, anywhere, it also captured the important metadata that helped determine how assets could be used and repurposed.

Webdam has also given administrators control over who can access which assets and for what purpose.

“We have three different groups accessing different things, and it was really easy to set up permissions in Webdam,” Nicolia said.

Webdam plays an integral role in many CustomInk workflows. Members of CustomInk’s merchandising team review assets to decide what is displayed on the website. And Webdam has been a huge time saver for CustomInk’s pre-press art team.

“If a pre-press artist looks at an order and sees a firefighter emblem, they can now look through Webdam to check if we already have any assets that match what the customer is looking for,” Nicolia explained. “Lots of simple elements can be found in Webdam to integrate into an order and close it much more quickly.”

Nicolia said that having to draw an element for an order by hand could take more than an hour. With Webdam, that time is reduced to 15 or 20 minutes.

“We’re using Webdam for a very simple process, but it’s a huge cornerstone for our company,” he said. “It’s been a huge timesaver – exponential, actually.”

Since Webdam stores and manages all the logos used for CustomInk’s products, future orders will be completed quickly because the core assets are already available.

“At the very least, we only have to work on things once,” Nicolia said. “And we have different versions of assets saved so you don’t have to create a new one every time an order comes in.”

Nicolia and his team are so happy with Webdam that they recently made the decision to upgrade the account and bring another 80 users on board.

“As soon as the team heard we were adding more users, they started cheering,” Nicolia said. “And the archiving team already started pitching using Webdam for the rest of the company.”