If you’re a home renovation enthusiast or have a passion for interior design, you may have heard the name Rockler through the latest Dwell made episode or home fixated how-to. The 65-year-old, family owned business, has made a name for itself as a woodworkers' go-to resource for everything someone need to complete their DIY project.
Evolving with their woodworking customers
From humble beginnings as a small mail order business in the 1950s – Rockler looked like a new company by 1996 with 15 physical stores and a physical catalog mailing list of over 6 million. That same year the company launched its first website, allowing customers to request a catalog and sign up for a free trial subscription to ‘Today's Woodworker’. 40 years after the company first started, they moved their catalog online, launching a full ecommerce website.
Rockler continued evolving with its customers, launching sites like Women in Woodworking and Woodworking.com in 2000, and receiving accolades for their early ecommerce success in 2004 for Rockler.com as a Top 50 website by Internet Retailer magazine.
Today the company continues to grow, meeting their woodworkers where they are, with a physical retail presence in over 37 stores around the US, even more partner stores, a growing ecommerce presence beyond domestic borders, and products available through third party sites like Amazon.com.
Engaging the DIY community
What makes Rockler unique is how their evolution never ends, finding ways to bring their passion for woodworking education to their customers online and offline through content. An early indication of their DIY ethos was the launch of their industry publication called “Today’s Woodworker”. Later changing the name to Woodworker's Journal, the magazine had over 200,000 subscribers by 1998. The success of their magazine and e-zine led Rockler to pivot again, morphing their how-to content into a three-disc DVD series called "The Way to Woodwork," keeping their content relevant for the time based on how their community wanted learn about the woodworking trade. They continued to find new ways to bring education to their woodworking enthusiasts, through educational classes in their stores, and moving their content onto their website. Now when customers go to Rockler.com, they can visit a library of over 1,500 ‘how-to’ articles and a massive series of ‘skill builder’ videos that provide customers with knowledge on everything from how to build cabinet door frames to which woods are best for your outdoor furniture projects.
Building their brand through videos
With over 12 years of content and 128k subscribers on their YouTube channel, Rockler is a textbook example of how to build community through educational content. After finding a format that resonates with their customers, Rockler has been consistent with their approach, sharing woodworking videos for woodworkers of skill levels every Thursday. The company has is adept at weaving their products into both their educational videos as well as incorporating product reviews and other content into their owned channels in a way that allows viewers to authentically discover and consider their offering. A stand out example, is the creation of the Rockler gift guide during the 2018 holiday season. The video guide is one of their higher performing videos on their channel, yielding over 150k views after a few months.
For Rockler, part of their secret sauce is their ability to turn their passion for woodworking into a resource for their community.
Learn more about Rockler.
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