HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - When Nicole Shyrock closed the doors on her Unique Assortment gift shop in Dobbs Ferry three years ago she wasn't expecting to be back in business so soon - online.
Shyrock, who said she was forced to close due to the struggling economy and a decline in business, created Hastings Custom, which sells a line of event invitations, shadow boxes and trophies from her Hastings-on-Hudson home through Etsy online store where samples of her products can be found on her Etsy page.
"Since closing my doors, I decided to come back (online) and feature select products and services that I used to do at Unique Assortments - a reinvention of sorts," Shyrock said. "I do invitation printing and still deal with some third party invitation vendors for thermography (raised printing) like you would find on wedding invites."
Shyrock said she decided to try Etsy after having done a full online shopping site for Unique Assortment during the years the store was open in Dobbs Ferry (2005-2010), since Etsy has more of an audience built around custom creations.
"My two biggest areas hands down are the invitations and the shadowboxes." Shyrock said. "I am trying to get more trophy and plaque business, however I have to compete with the big box places like Crown Trophy, which makes it a little difficult for the small business owner."
Shyrock specializes in creating custom invitations and announcements, shadow boxes, awards, trophies and websites. From her experience, she has really enjoyed how each custom-crafted project she works on is unique and different - just as each client and recipient are unique.
Shyrock said one of the highlights of the past year was when U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Townsend “Tim” Alexander attended the 2012 Hastings Memorial Day festivities and was presented a custom created shadowbox from the Hastings Fire Department that was made by Hastings Custom.
Etsy was conceived by Rob Kalin in early 2005. A painter, carpenter and photographer, Kalin was in search of a viable marketplace to exhibit and sell his creations online. He and two partners designed the site, wrote the code, assembled the servers, spliced the cables, and launched Etsy on June 18, 2005.
Unlike larger companies, Shyrock said she offers each client a "part of herself" - her time, her expertise, and her commitment to quality workmanship.
"There is no better compliment than when a client, or a gift recipient, contacts her to express their appreciation," Shyrock said.
For more on Hastings Custom, log on to the Facebook page.