Today we’re interviewing Hampton Technologies, the Makers behind some of our most fun-loving products: ping pong balls, paddles and pong tables. Meet the brothers behind these personalized fun accessories, and learn more about their upcoming custom product endeavors.
Tell us about you and Hampton Technologies!
Hampton Technologies is family-owned company for more than 30 years. Three brothers share the helm and operate the Long Island-based company in a much more peaceful manner than their childhood may have predicted. Of course as rambunctious boys growing up, we had many altercations that either started or ended in a wrestling match. The Gallagher family consists of 4 boys total, all with unique personalities and temperaments that resulted in a few scraps and many bruised egos. Today, there is no wrestling going on within the walls of our 14,000 sq. ft. facility, but if we do have the occasional operational disagreement we usually settle it with a brutish game of ping pong after hours. The three brothers, Ron, Kevin and Steve, all possess unique business skill sets. Ron is the President and head of sales, Kevin manages Production and Marketing and Steve is handling Operations and Finance. By the way, the fourth Gallagher boy has done very nicely for himself, spending 15 years on Wall Street and is today is doing what he loves as a contractor building ‘dream homes’ in Clearwater, Florida.
Hampton has evolved since the early days, specializing in promotional products for the corporate world specifically with custom rubber stamps and labels. Today, they are still a leading manufacturer of custom rubber stamps and specialty printing. The company has diversified into other areas as well, including personalized leisure sports products and home goods, document security products and even specialized business software. They found themselves in the ping pong business by accident. One of their best clients asked if they coulc get custom ping pong balls and, while searching for a source, came upon a young man who was selling his small beer pong ball business. Five years later we acquired our largest competitor, making us the largest distributor of ping pong balls in North America. The rest, as they say, was history. Today we stock upwards of 2.5 million ping pong balls in 20 different colors/sizes all which can be custom printed. Hampton has carved out this unique niche by investing in the latest print technology, and hiring the right people to make the work flow efficiently and produce superior quality products back by their no-questions asked satisfaction guarantee.
The Gallagher boys and their families enjoy living and working on Long Island. When the day is over and the weekend comes around, there is plenty to take advantage of when you are surrounded by beaches, an hour from the greatest city in the world and some of the best wineries in the country. From Manhattan to Montauk, there is plenty to do and enjoy on Long Island.
What is your background as a Maker? What got you started making or creating?
That’s easy: in 1990 we started a company called Hampton Art. We manufactured and sold craft rubber stamps, ink pads, scrapbook products and much more to big box retailers and craft chains in the US, Canada and Europe. It took our creativity to a new level. Our slogan was: “We Inspire, You Create.” We sold Hampton Art in 2008 to National Spinning. Today, Hampton Art continues to grow and Ron’s wife is head of national sales and product development. It was and still is a tremendously creative market and fueled our inspiration for new, unique products we could personalize.
Tell us a fun or interesting story behind one of the ping pong paddles or some other product you’ve made.
- We had a fun order from the US Army for 9,000 ping pong balls custom printed to say “Go Army” on one side and “Sink Navy” on the other. They were dropped by helicopter on the Navy cadets during their morning March in Annapolis the day before the Army Navy football game in 2015.
- We made special glow-in-the-dark ping pong paddles for Susan Saradon’s table tennis club SPiN in New York City.
- Another fun project was trying to print special characters on ping pong balls and paddles for BeardPong.com: a couple real fun young guys whose goal is to generate awareness around men’s health, spark conversation and social action, and help raise funds for testicular cancer initiatives.
What is your favorite part about being a Maker?
We are so honored to be a Zazzle Maker, and look forward to each and every day of building and printing the unique one-of-a-kind products for our Zazzle customers. Our goal with every account and every order is to ship a one-of-a-kind quality piece that will meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. Zazzle is an amazing partner and we feel we have to be amazing every day as well. I think the best part about being a Maker is that there’s a tremendous amount of enjoyment that comes out of making products that bring families together for fun, laughs and of course a little competition.
The customized aspect of all our products means that each one is unique and meant for an specific individual or family. We’re not just mass producing products and shipping them to a store, never knowing who will like it and buy it or whether it is even sold. We know, each day, that every product we make has already been selected with a personal request for customization. So when we ship it, we know it has a specific destination or a home to go to. To think about something we made by hand in our facility on Long Island having a destination across the country, or even across the globe to places we’ll never visit, is truly exciting. We hope that when someone receives their order, they will open the box and get a little bit of joy seeing the product for the first time, whether it was received as a gift or was ordered for themselves. We can only imagine the fun times and the battles being waged using the ping pong balls and paddles we produce, or the fictional stories of glory being told over one of our customized tailgate tables before the big game.
We look forward to introducing more unique products in the leisure sports space in the coming year and we will continue to strive to be the best Zazzle Maker we can be.
How do you see growing your product lines in the future?
- Additional fun family game and sport products.
- With our 37 years of experience manufacturing rubber stamps and Zazzle’s online visualization capabilities, we look forward to re-inventing how rubber stamps are made and used – can’t wait.
- Personalized baby diapers. Yes, I know – crazy, right? But we had an idea, chased it and it’s going to be interesting!
- Flying Discs – get ready to make your own.
Do you have any advice for any would-be Zazzle Makers?
- There are no bad ideas. Not all may fit, but the Zazzle product team is always open to listening.
- Purchase good equipment and train your staff properly.
- Understand the Zazzle SLA before jumping in, customer satisfaction is #1!
- Provide a quality product that YOU would be thrilled to receive.