Steele Bros.Founded in 1885 with two employees, James Steele manufactured coiled wire springs and other steel products for a market that has been evolving over decades. In 1897, Steele devised a "People Catcher" for the front of the Sleeman streetcars in order to protect pedestrians from being run over. Due to the "catcher's" success, streetcar lines all over North America adopted the device. As Steele's business grew, it moved to larger facilities including two locations on Woolwich Street. In 1926, the business, under the direction of James' two sons, moved to the former Raymond Sewing Machine plant, which is now the Baker Street parking lot in downtown Guelph.
James Steele built his business slowly by providing quality and innovation to his customers. By the end of his career, he was classified as an industrialist, and although modest in size, Steele Bros., would become one of Guelph's longest lived industries.
Today, Steele Bros. is located on Johnston Street in Guelph, in a 15,000 square foot facility. Utilizing all the latest quality control techniques in manufacturing, and superior materials, we are exceeding the strict demands of customers from all across North America, and carrying forward James Steele's legacy of quality and innovation to our present day customers.
The ChallengeMichelle at Steele Bros. first reached out to me when their website was hacked. She was referred to me through a fellow designer, who thought I may be able to help. At the time, there wasn’t much anyone could do about it without starting over from scratch, which they weren’t ready to look at doing. About 6 months had gone by when she called me to discuss a new site. The project had security at a premium, which makes sense having been hacked previously. We also took the opportunity to refine some of the older imagery, to make communication with prospective clients more informative and useful, and to tell people a little bit about the history of one of Guelph’s oldest companies.
TasksWeb Design | Image Restoration | Copy & Communication
Here are some of the highlights:
Website DesignWithout access to the original site files, we basically had to start over from scratch, which was a great opportunity to make the site into something more than just pretty pictures. A website is not only where you get to define yourself online, it’s also a hub for communicating with your clients. We improved the website's user experience by making it responsive across all web and mobile devices, and we added a strategic contact process. This ensured that when customers reached out, they could do so from a more informed standpoint, which helped smooth out their quoting process. Your website needs to be more than just good looking. It needs to help you solve some problems too.
SecurityGetting hacked can happen in many ways, shapes, and forms. Whoever got into the Steele Bros. website, did some serious damage, making it unusable. They thought it would be hilarious to send animated images of sea turtles to everyone in their mailing list. Realistically, this was a best case scenario. No personal data was stolen, and no-one was harmed because of it. Granted, no solution is 100% safe, but there are measures that can be put in place to give you some peace of mind. We worked hard to establish a secure hosting environment with a valid SSL certificate, and set up full time security monitoring to keep us informed of any potential threats. We also created backups to ensure that in the event of a security threat, they would experience almost zero down time.
Image Rescue & RefinementThe Steele Bros. logo and coil-man icon, long standing staples of the Steele Bros. brand, were originally designed roughly 30 years ago. These files were probably suitable for both print and web at the time of inception, but today’s digital landscape demands cleaner, responsive, vector-based images. I was able to recreate these images from scratch into simpler, cleaner vector-based that look great in any space.
CommunicationYou might not think it, but a spring, simple as it may seem, can be used in so many different ways that people not only have a hard time knowing what they need, they also struggle to ask the right questions. Something as simple as combining a little education through diagrams, some frequently asked questions, and a contact process that asks all the right questions for you, has made a significant impact in terms of efficiency. Steele Bros used to spend considerable time and effort trying to extract the right information from people, and now, the website takes care of most of it for them.
Kind wordsWorking with Ken at Ethos was fantastic! Our website had been hacked really badly and needed to be redone from scratch. Ken took the time to see if it could be fixed and when we figured it could not, he took the time to meet with us to understand exactly what we wanted out of a website. He learned about what we do as a manufacturing company and how we operated, which is very important when creating something that represents a company. He understands that making a website to represent a company or a person needs to not only look great (which ours does), but also be easy to navigate for anyone. I think most importantly for me was, he took the time to listen to what, I as a customer, wanted the outcome to be. I learned from him about websites and he was very easy to work with. I would recommend him to anyone! Thanks again Ken!
Michelle told us that we were the only group they contacted who made a sincere effort to get to know them and learn about their business, and that's why they chose to go with us. We think this is the best compliment anyone in our line of business could receive. We pride ourself on being genuinely curious, and we're also looking to foster lasting relationships with people. You certainly can't accomplish that by treating people like jobs or numbers.