Talk about a leap of faith! O&E Customs opened up shop on Main St Jewett City smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. Who does that? Apparently Jesse Beck does, and he must have known something because he’s doing well in town. already earning the business and trust of different organizations locally. Below, Jesse answered some questions pertaining to his new business in hopes to give you an idea of what products and services are available to you! It’s all about Local Local LOCAL!
What is your name and what is the name of your business/address/phone?
- My name is Jesse Beck and my business is O&E Customs. The store/showroom is located at 1 East Main St. in Jewett City, and our phone number is (860)373-0623, or you can email email@example.com
How did you choose the name of your business?
- Well, I chose the name of my children, which in turn chose the name of my business! O&E stands for Owen & Elliot, my two sons!
What business are you in?
- Custom apparel and accessories! We do a little bit of everything here, from screen printing to custom mugs, to embroidery!
What do you sell?
- Mainly shirts, hats, etc. If you come into the store you’ll see some Jewett City and Griswold merch, as well as a bunch of samples of things that we can customize for you! This year I plan to expand the local merch a lot, I want O&E Customs to be THE place that people stop into to get their town or state gear from, so expect to see a lot more of that soon! Besides that, we sell in bulk to businesses, whether it be making their staff shirts or gear for them to sell to their customers. The thing I love about our store is that if you’re looking for 1 shirt or 1000 shirts, we can help, we try to offer no minimum quantities on everything that we sell!
Do you have a website, facebook page, or both?
- Yes! OandECustoms.com and our facebook page is facebook.com/oandecustoms
What are your hours of operation, or if a store, times you are open?
- The store’s current hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 12-4, and Friday 11-3. It’s a one man show right now so the store hours are a bit shortened so that I can work on actually completing orders before and after helping walk in customers!
When did you open for business?
- I started O&E Customs in early 2020, but we didn’t open up the store until May 2021!
What locations do you have as well or have had?
- In 2020 I started out of an office in my apartment in Norwich but very quickly outgrew that. When sales started to pick up I found a 2 car garage in Jewett City that I rented for about 3-4 months before finding the current East Main St location. Now I occupy 2 units there, one of which is the store, and the one next to it is mainly used for production!
What got you interested in the business you are currently in?
- If you know me, you know I’ve tried to start various clothing brands over the past 10-15 years, all of which did amazing (just kidding). With most of these brands I outsourced the printing, but back in high school, probably 2011, I decided to give screen printing a shot for myself. I stopped a few years after, but then in 2020 got the itch again and purchased some different equipment and the rest is history!
Is this a business that you have a background in? Training? Experience?
- YouTube, YouTube, YouTube! There’s really no formal training for what I do, so I just take in as much info as I can from other successful people in the industry. Whether it’s YouTube, podcasts, or books, I just take in as much info as I can and apply it to what I’m doing. It’s a lot of trial and error, like with most things, so I’m always learning and adding techniques to improve quality!
Are you the sole owner, any family members involved?
- All me! Owen and Elliot hang out a lot too though, and they helped name the place, I guess they deserve some ownership credit!!
Why did you open this business?
- I’ve always known that working for somebody wasn’t my thing. I had a bunch of jobs, but I always knew I had to figure something out for myself. I’ve had too many “businesses” to count, I would try new things all the time, one after another, often times multiple at the same time, and I finally found something that I love to do and have actually been able to make work. The industry itself is great too, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of!
What can customers/clients expect when they come into your location?
- Before anything else, great customer service! I try to keep the place as laid back and comfortable as possible, I want people to feel good and have fun when they’re doing business with me. I try to never be too serious, but at the same time I know that there’s work to do, so customers can definitely expect a good product every time!
Oh and expect to take a shot! (with a basketball) I have a little basketball hoop in the store and if you’re able to make your first shot, you’ll get 15% off of your retail order! Nobody has made their very first shot yet, it’s not easy, come be the first!!
What’s in the future for your business?
- Lots of growth. I don’t want to grow the business too big, I like the local business feel, but I definitely plan to bring on up to 10 employees over the next couple years, and as that happens we’ll also definitely need a bigger space. Right now the plan is to work here for as long as possible, and then eventually get a warehouse space to move production to. I like the storefront spot, so as of right now I plan to keep that around for as long as possible!
Besides that, I’ve been working on a t-shirt subscription service for months now, so I plan to release that within the next month or two. The idea is to sell a monthly Connecticut themed shirt at a very affordable price, and subscribers will get these shirts shipped to them automatically each month. I want to collaborate with CT artists to make designs, some designs will pay homage to CT landmarks, stuff like that, just something to shine light on the cool parts of the state that we live in!
Tell me, in a brief, 100 words or less, the story of your business. Also, list other information that you feel is relevant to your business that we haven’t asked that you would like to communicate:
- For the most part I told it in answering previous questions, but to sum it all up; I started O&E Customs about 2 years ago from my apartment, mainly selling generic shirts on online marketplaces, then started getting local orders and expanded to our first production location, a 2 bay garage. A few months later I moved O&E Customs over to East Main St and opened my first retail location! Since then I’ve met a lot of great people, made some friends and customers, and I look forward to continuing to grow within JC and give back as much as possible!