A ripcut is a technique used in woodworking in which a cut is made parallel to the grain of wood. While the founders of local business Ripcut Media don't spend much time with table saws, they offer what could be described as brand woodworking - they use their expertise to help companies define and shape their brand and to make their presence known in the community.
Ripcut is a collaboration between Eric Fetherston, who specializes in programming and development, and Bill Mauro Jr., who focuses on design. The two had been offering freelance services in the Williamsport area separately but found that when they worked together, they could substantially increase the quality and quantity of services offered.
Fetherston and Mauro met in November of last year at a networking event hosted by Williamsport-Lycoming Young Professionals and began lending a hand to bits and pieces of each other's projects.
Bill Mauro, left, and Eric Fetherston run Ripcut Media, a website development and marketing business.
"He was doing his own design shop but didn't have the ability to do any big development projects," Fetherston said of Mauro. Meanwhile, Fetherston had created Ripcut Media while "doing work for friends," but found that he preferred the development aspect of his projects to design work. "The only way it could succeed was if I had a designer to work with," he said.
The pair officially combined forces in January and already have worked with several clients, mostly based in the Williamsport area. Ripcut offers a plethora of Web offerings, such as websites, applications and mobile apps, as well as e-commerce design. Additionally the pair can create other marketing tools such as logos, print marketing (such as advertisements, signage and billboards) and identity packages (which include items like business cards and letterhead).
A focus area for Ripcut is working with businesses to figure out which marketing tools will be the best fit. Fetherston emphasized the desire to find out "what the client wants to do with their business, not with their advertising," that way he and Mauro can make suggestions for the most efficient and effective tools.
"There are a lot of buzzwords that people hear, and they think they need them," he said, adding that different marketing efforts work for different types of companies. Ultimately, he said, he and Mauro want to create advertising that "will have the most return-on-investment for (the client) ... I think the thing that we've been really successful at is showing clients that their needs are always going to be first in the relationship."
Mauro added, "They trust that we're going to do what we do best to help them look their best."
One of their first joint projects was the website for Special Olympics of Lycoming County, which can be viewed at www.solyco.org.
"That was kind of a passion project," Fetherston said, adding that the goal of their work on the site is to help the organization increase its donations from the community.
With the Special Olympics site complete, they continue to make nonprofit work a priority. Ripcut tends to work on multiple projects at a time, so nonprofit projects can take a bit longer as they are squeezed in between paid projects, but Fetherston emphasized that he and Mauro provide the same level of quality and effort for nonprofit projects in order to aid these organizations in their goals.
"We both come from a perspective where we're not just in this to make money," Fetherston said. "The idea has always been to let the for-profit work cover the overhead for the nonprofit work."
One of the perks of working with a nonprofit organization is the ability to take risks and try new things.
"That flexibility is nice," Fetherston said. "It keeps us sharp and allows us to test out new technology in a way that we wouldn't be able to do with corporate clients."
The company's mission is to provide high-quality, yet low-cost design for local businesses.
"I think both of us have fairly high standards for what we want to do, for both design and development," Mauro said, with Fetherston adding that their goal for the business is to "raise the level of design," as well as the expected level of customer service.
"Just because this isn't New York or Los Angeles or Philly, doesn't meant that the companies (in Williamsport) shouldn't have the same access to technology and design," Fetherston said.
Once the website for a company or nonprofit organization is complete, that company's relationship with Ripcut isn't finished; instead, Fetherston and Mauro will continue working with the company to provide content updates for the website.
"Most clients ... either don't have the time or don't have the confidence or the tools to (maintain the website) themselves," Fetherston said.
While the majority of Ripcut's business so far has been obtained through word-of-mouth recommendations, Fetherston and Mauro hope to expand their client base throughout the area to help local businesses put their best foot forward.
"We really want to grow with the companies in the area," Fetherston said. With the influx of growth in Lycoming County, he said, Ripcut's aim is to "help build businesses that are here, from the ground up."