Raghaus Update: How We Adjusted Our Business Model And Plan To Hit $500K In Revenue This Year

Published: April 10th, 2022
Markus Hartel
Founder, Raghaus
from Newburgh, New York, USA
started January 2015
Discover what tools Markus recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Markus recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name is Markus and I started Raghaus Letterpress Studio in 2015 with my own designs of stationery that I sold in my stationery store, online via Etsy, and the Raghaus website. Things have turned more and more custom over the years and we finally shut down the Etsy store and retail section of our website. Raghaus Letterpress Studio turned into Raghaus Studios and we are more specialized than ever.

We are now solely focused on packaging and limited edition books, both of which fit superbly into our highly specialized skill set and our studio's wide range of equipment. We’ll break $500k in 2022 - myself with three part-time specialists and very little outsourcing. In the end, revenue doesn’t mean much of anything, and I think it’s fair to say that our profit is pretty damn solid. I really enjoy working with a tight team and little overhead - most of our equipment is paid for and owned by Raghaus.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

The business has solidified and has proven to be bulletproof for the time being, as we fulfill a demand that’s highly specialized and is pretty much always in need - all of which took a few adjustments in the eye of Covid and the changes that come with it.

Be Number One, own your space, and do it well, this way you won’t even have to deal with competition.

A small shop is a beautiful thing in that regard, as we can make changes and adjust to new situations on a dime. The invitation business pretty much fell off a cliff, and we have strengthened our small business connections - mostly in the prototyping and packaging arena. It turns out that the change had a positive impact on our business and we have invested heavily in new equipment to fulfill those growing needs. Observe, adapt - rinse, repeat.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I think for me the biggest lesson was to let go of ego and with that let go of jobs and opportunities that are well, just opportunities that don’t go anywhere. My wife got breast cancer for the second time within two years and these life events certainly make one look at things in a different light. You can buy every damn thing - but one thing is equal to all of us, and that’s our limited time on this planet.

Fortunately, my wife is OK, after multiple invasive surgeries and an insane regimen of medication. I now definitely look at life very differently and have learned to let go of the little things a lot easier. With that I also let go of small-ish business opportunities and our Etsy shop - one can’t do too many things at a time. It just happened so that our growing customer base hired us more and more for custom gigs over the years, and we are equipped to do a wide range of print products that are super-niche and highly specialized. We have a habit of making the seemingly impossible possible, and our customers love us for it. I have also learned to say NO some more.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

We are definitely honing in further into our strongest contenders, all of which are super limited in nature. Exclusive book runs and small-batch luxury packaging. 2022 is going to be a big year with an exclusive art book for starters - an edition of six handmade letterpress books for a high-profile customer with a high-profile clientele of his own. Generally, these jobs attract similar work and the five-year plan hinges loosely around this kind of super exclusive and specialized work. Now, one can’t stand on one leg and I still plan on branching out in the prototyping and luxury small batch packaging territory.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

I read around a gazillion books a year and looking at my kindle, these stand out in particular;

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - the title kinda says it all. Truly golden advice for any business owner. The book’s sibling The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is equally brilliant. It’s especially interesting to me how a lot of large companies ignore a few of these measures in the eye of profit, only to lose.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

In a nutshell - specialize, specialize and specialize some more in a category that no one else can touch. Try to go after a small subset of customers instead of trying to catch them all. Best to create your own category, meaning do something that no one else does. Be Number One, own your space and do it well, this way you won’t even have to deal with competition.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We can always use an additional pair of hands in the bookbinding and production department.

Where can we go to learn more?