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Company uses Internet to build a following

NEW LONDON -- Unity Stamp Co. of New London has built not just a customer base but a sort of family with the help of the Internet, blogs and Facebook.

Angela Magnuson, co-owner and chief creative officer, said she uses her blog and Facebook to share a bit of herself with her customers, and they return the favor.

"I started writing about feelings and thoughts and our products -- really putting myself out there," she said. "You can't believe the amount of people you can reach through blogging."

Her customers, nearly all women, feel like they know her and her family. They are part of the fun when she welcomes a son home from summer camp, and they send birthday wishes to her husband Chris, the company's chief executive officer.

Customers post examples of the cards they've created using Unity's rubber stamps, and she highlights them on the company's Web site. She also links to designers' and customers' blogs.

At trade shows, people come to their booth and hug them, because they know the Magnusons through Angela's blog.

"With the use of the Internet, I've been able to directly relate to people," she said.

"It's like a family business," Chris added.

The company also posts videos on its Web site and plans to develop a studio to do live video demonstrations of the company's products.

The company also hosts virtual release parties and will offer specials on its Web site and blog.

Hip Hop Thursday, when customers are invited to "hop" from one designer's blog to another, is a regular event on the company site. On Fridays, Hip Hop Hangover allows customers to promote their own products

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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