Culture Studio

Culture Studio

It’s never easy to be the “new kid” in town. It can be even harder when you are opening a new office and manufacturing facility almost 1,200 miles away from your headquarters in Chicago. For Rich Santo, CEO of Culture Studio — a technology company that powers merch sales for the music and entertainment industries – getting off to a great start in the company’s new locale of Daytona Beach was paramount. Having the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at UCF, in his corner quickly became one of the ways he assured his success.

Culture Studio is in the business of accomplishing apparel and merchandise production in quantity for music, entertainment, retail, and e-commerce customers. Do you remember that fantastic memento you snagged at your last big event? It could have been from Culture Studio. “We are a platform for artists to make merchandise at scale,” describes Santo. “It consists of a proprietary technology that we build in house to power all of our physical assets, like our factories that are set up throughout the country. It’s something nobody can copy. We’ve been building this piece of tech since 2014. It is certainly our ‘secret sauce’ and what makes working with us special for our customers. We call it the ‘CS Experience’ and it’s what makes us better and successful.”

“Our headquarters is in Chicago and our newest facility, a 76,000 sq. ft. office and manufacturing plant, is in Daytona Beach, maybe a block and a half from the Daytona Speedway,” shares Santo. “When we entered the State of Florida, my first questions were: what are the opportunities and what agencies are there to help us get comfortable in the state?” Santo wanted to pinpoint who would be the best fit to help Culture Studio navigate uncharted territories. It was during his initial search that he discovered the FSBDC at Daytona State College.

“The services and overall experience at the FSBDC and with Trecia Marchand (DSC sub-center director and business consultant) and her team have been really incredible for us,” Santo recalls. Leveraging the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting services, Santo was introduced to all corners of the Daytona business community. “The FSBDC has been a really great extension of our team,” Santo continues. “The biggest thing is just the connections, meeting different people and getting introductions.” A security company who is now a building tenant and a top-notch realtor were just two of the valuable connections he has made. “We got to meet so many great people that probably would have taken us months to find. We were kind of fast tracked into all these relationships. To be completely honest, doing business in Daytona has been amazing.”

“The impact on our business of opening our facility in Florida has been awesome,” concludes Santo. “Through first quarter 2023, we have had 68% growth in top line revenue. We have our 76,000 sq. ft. facility up and running. We have hired 65 team members in less than a year, and that’s only 20% of the people we will eventually need. We’ve used a lot of local contractors. I think we’ve become a big part of the community and it’s great for us and for Daytona.” The FSBDC at DSC is proud to have contributed in some small part to Culture Studio’s strong start in the state of Florida.

For information about Culture Studio, please visit