Top Etsy Wedding Store Brings Life to Local Weddings
By: Shawna Serig Kelsch
Two days before they said “I do” back in 2011, Holly and John Zarski had a design dilemma to address for their wedding.
Holly Zarski had looked (and looked) for numbered table decorations for their reception and found nothing that suited her vision. So, she turned to her partner (who happened to have a small hobby CNC Router in the garage that could handle the project), handed him a design of exactly what she wanted, and put him to work.
Five years later, the process still works the same way, said John Zarski. Except now, instead of working out of their house that was jammed with orders, materials and shipping supplies, their manufacturing business spans over 8,500 square feet in an industrial park o U.S. Route 1 and Robert J. Conlan Blvd. in Palm Bay, and employs 17 full- and part-time workers.
Under the shop name Z Create Design, the company started taking orders through the online artisan marketplace Etsy shortly after their wedding, and soon became a star seller on the platform. They now also host their own web store, they can be found on several other e-commerce sites such as Amazon Handmade, and they sell wholesale to various specialty boutiques across the U.S. Recently, they set their sights locally crafting the brand ‘I Do Wedding Décor’ to market their wedding creations to local couples and wedding professionals.
Social media has served them well, and not long after they started, they built their online reputation and presence to rest near the top with viral content, most notably on Pinterest.
The couple has carved a niche market out of a simple idea: to make the wedding a more personal experience with custom and memorable details for a one-of-a-kind event.
Though no easy feat, in their first few years in business, they cracked the code for mass customization, offering over 36 color options, add-ons such as glitter or moss, and personalized cutouts and engravings – all in high volume with lightning-fast turnaround times, an essential for busy wedding planners and couples.
The birth of the Zarskis’ first child in 2013, son Asher, spurred new lines of creativity such as custom baby products and photography props for capturing milestone dates.
The company touts a new way to shop local, in the comfort of your own home via the Internet, while still supporting a local business and the creation of jobs in the community.
Branching out way beyond the original table numbers, the newly branded website, www.idoweddingdecor.com, features more than 400 items that can add elegance, a rustic touch, or whimsy to your wedding day, wedding shower and more.
Some of the customizable items available include:
- Chair signs for bride and groom
- Cake toppers with almost any saying desired that can fit on a cake
- Photo props for wedding portraits and cards
- Personalized tote bags (great bridal party gifts)
- Decorative tabletop signage for a smattering of needs: guest book, cards and gifts, etc.
- Wedding apparel and accessories
- Specialty printed pillowcases and kitchen towels
The young husband and wife team are astounded at the speed and breadth of the company’s rise: Since 2012, sales have at least doubled year over year, and, out of necessity, the manufacturing capability has exponentially increased. They credit their success to hard work, almost ‘round the clock, since they started the company.
Holly Zarski’s willingness to help clients with specialty projects and her husband’s ability to transform (sometimes abstract) thought into tangible and functional décor is, perhaps, what sets them apart.
“If she can think of it, we will find a way to make it,” said John Zarski, noting that the company is fulfilling about 2,500 orders per month.
“Yeah, we don’t say ‘We can’t do that’ to Holly,” echoed Judi Thomas, operations manager, “because she will find a way.”
They have also been smart about their growth.
“We are a zero-debt company,” said John Zarski, “and we wait until we have cash on hand to increase capacity or purchase new machinery.”
The company’s design shop brings to life all kinds of creative ideas with custom embroidery, direct-to-fabric printing (for small custom orders), screen printing (for large custom orders), vinyl printing, laser cutters and computer numerical control cutting machines (or CNC routers), which use high speed router bits to carve objects from solid substrates, such as wood or plastic.
“The real fun begins when we use multiple processes for one product, creating something really incredible,” said John Zarski.
Some of the capabilities are so detailed that custom, individualized products – such as glitter swizzle sticks featuring guest names – are possible. And that’s one amazing (and affordable) way to customize the guest experience for a wedding or special event, said Thomas.
As the company continues to expand, Thomas (who attended Palm Bay High with John Zarski and joined the group in 2016) will focus on streamlining operations so the Zarskis can focus on new product development and sales growth while also enjoying some much needed time outside of the shop.
“We’re trying,” said Holly Zarski, noting that the couple has plans to travel the country to be able to spend some more quality time with Asher.
But then, likely, she will see something she wants taken through design, and John Zarski will, of course, reply “I do.”