A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: Maps from the Past.
What: Maps from the Past, a Suquamish, Kitsap County, company selling antique-map reproductions
Who: Randy and Karen Redwine, founders
An unusual find: Randy Redwine, 50, said that 25 years ago he found two atlases dating to 1856 in an attic in his grandmother’s South Dakota farm.
A new idea: Cut to 2002, and Redwine and his wife are truck drivers hauling across the country. One day, Karen Redwine says she saw an antique-map reproduction in a Pottery Barn catalog. Brainstorming is easy when you’re stuck in the cab of a truck, and soon they were thinking about how to sell the maps in the old atlases.
Going online: The couple created Maps from the Past, scanned in some atlases’ maps, found a printer and hired someone to create a Web site. Then came the real challenge: getting people to the site without spending a fortune.
Enter Bob Barker: Karen Redwine got an idea while watching “The Price Is Right.” What if she could get maps on the show? The producers were open to the idea, provided the company paid $150 and shipped the maps to winners. Though that hasn’t driven traffic to the site as much as Randy Redwine hoped, he said: “Just for the exposure and the experience of it, I don’t regret it at all.”
Google time: The couple turned to Google last fall, paying about 10 cents when someone clicked on their ad in a Google search. That cost about $100 a month, producing about $4,500 in sales from October to December — about 10 times the normal amount.
Hoping for a profit: The company isn’t yet profitable, but Randy Redwine hopes to break even after the holiday shopping season.
— Kim Peterson