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May Small Business Feature: Rustic Marlin

How did your business get started?

Check out Our Story to learn all about us and how we got started!

How has the pandemic affected your business?

In March 2020 when COVID struck, we pivoted our operations to raise funds for those most impacted by the shutdown through the sales of a new Signs of Hope campaign. We revolutionized the shopping experience and launched outdoor contactless 24/7 kiosks where consumers could pay on the honor system. This seemed like a crazy idea and pre-pandemic it may have been - but it was a success! We truly brought communities together one sign at a time and raised over $75K to give back. We just launched our new What’s Your Hope initiative where we will donate one sign for every sign purchased between now and the end of June.

What are your favorite products or services that you currently sell?

Our signature products is the Marlin Classic with its unique look and ability to be personalized to any name, town or favorite word.

What are a few fun facts about your business?

Rustic Marlin was founded out of love in 2012 when Melanie and Brian O’Neil tied the knot. After searching tirelessly for the perfect gifts, the couple decided to craft their own rustic signs. They were a hit and fulfilling personalized sign requests quickly became more than just a weekend project. The name Rustic Marlin reflects our products and our founders’ personalities. As self-proclaimed DIYers, originally working with products from their New England home, “rustic” was a natural fit. Incorporating Brian’s passion as a fisherman made “marlin” an appropriate second choice. Even though Brian only caught one Marlin (off the coast of Nantucket), when the founders thought of the words Rustic Marlin together, they knew they were onto something. All of our products are handmade with love in coastal Massachusetts.

What advice do you have for someone in the beginning stages of owning a business?

Owning your own business is such a great accomplishment but the challenges can be far more difficult than anticipated! The key to success is a strong network from friends and family members to support you from the start to building a team that is better than you are and to surround yourself with fellow business owners who you can share resources, ideas and more.

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