In 2004, Rich Bergstrom decided he wanted to change the cookware industry. So he came up with a revolutionary idea that was rooted thousands of years in the past—100% ceramic cookware.
Drawing on his decades of experience in the glass and ceramics industry, Rich fine-tuned his unique formula and developed a handcrafted manufacturing process that took 20 days from start to finish. The result? Pure ceramic cookware that is versatile and safe to use at all temperatures. It also has another important advantage over other types of pots and pans.
“Other types of cookware, like non-stick, metal, and ceramic coated, can leach metals and toxic chemicals into food. I wanted to give home cooks a healthier alternative—one that was natural, non-toxic, and even made food taste better,” explains Rich.
After three years of perfecting his product, Rich and his brother, Bob, started the Ceramcor company and launched their Xtrema® brand of pure ceramic cookware. Bob’s son, Patrick, came aboard as director of marketing, rounding out the family owned and operated business.
While e-commerce sales were only in the hundreds of dollars at first, the family knew the business was destined to grow. “I told everyone at the start we’re going to be a big company,” says Bob. “No one else offers what we do, and we steadily gained loyal customers who keep coming back.”
From the very beginning, Rich and Bob also knew exactly who they wanted to help them with their shipping needs—UPS. They met with an account representative to get started with UPS® Ground shipping for their orders. And as the business took off, they soon found UPS was able to bring even more solutions to the table.
In terms of shipping alone, Ceramcor has experienced double-digit growth each of the last 5 years with UPS. But the relationship has gone beyond just ground shipping in the U.S.
“We had an unbelievable UPS account rep that got us involved in UPS i-parcel® services,” says Bob. “We were one of the first companies in the Northeast to use it.” UPS i-parcel technology helped the company reach a new group of customers by expanding internationally. They now ship to 25 countries, which accounts for 5% of their sales.
“UPS has really been the right company at the right time for us,” states Rich. “They’ve taken a very hands-on approach, which makes a huge difference.”
That hands-on approach also involved a recent makeover for the Xtrema brand and website with the help of a marketing agency recommended by UPS, Brand Innovation Group (Big). “When we did the total rebrand with Big, sales and average order amounts skyrocketed so much, that we actually started to have inventory issues,” says Patrick with a chuckle. “We’ve since corrected for that.”
As part of the rebranding, the company’s website was also moved to the e-commerce platform Shopify. “All of our orders go to Shopify, which is connected to ShipStation. This software makes it easy for us to process and ship our orders out with UPS,” explains Bob. “And if we ever have any issues with the software, UPS sends a tech the next day. They’ve been quick to react if something doesn’t work.”
From their humble beginnings, the Bergstrom’s have grown Ceramcor into a $2 million business. “We feel we’ve really set ourselves up for continued growth, and we’re ready to go for $3 million in 2020,” says Rich.
The brothers especially appreciate how the solutions brought to them by UPS have contributed to this growth. According to Bob, “It has been a very positive experience working with UPS. They have allowed a family owned and operated business to become a cookware contender in a huge market. We are now working with a senior account rep who has been a great resource to us as we continue to grow and ship out more products.”
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