While a student at The Ohio State University, Stephanie Leader worked for a promotional advertising company that ended up hiring her on full time in 1992. As she was about to graduate, the company’s owner offered her a partnership. A year later, she became its sole owner.
Some young professionals in her position would have been intimidated. Leader, however, saw it as a great opportunity.
“I have always been creative and love to sell, so promotional advertising was the perfect career for me,” she says.
Columbus-based Leaderpromos, of which Leader is president and CEO, distributes just about anything and everything that can be customized for a brand. The company’s operations include an online store featuring more than 15,000 items, an in-house embroidery department, screen-printing services, online ecommerce corporate stores, uniform programs, and employee incentive programs.
To learn who Leader credits with helping her succeed, why being in Columbus has helped Leaderpromos thrive, and how it maintains such an impressive client list, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: How have you differentiated Leaderpromos from other promotional product companies?
Stephanie Leader: We don’t sell solely on price; we’re a relationship-based company. Every client gets their own account representative who serves as their partner and point person for all of their promotional needs. This allows us to really cater to our clients.
Also, we want our clients to think of us as an extension of their marketing department. By partnering with us, they get access to the newest and most unique products and ideas −we’re always researching the latest trends and products− and we make sure that their order is within their budget, on-time for their promotion and on-brand for their organization.
The goal is to get our clients to think of Leaderpromos as a one-stop shop and trust us to take care of all of their promotional needs, saving them both time and money.
[M]: Area leaders often boast about Central Ohio’s ideal geographic location. Has basing your operations out of Columbus been helpful from a logistics standpoint?
SL: Yes, because Columbus is a growing city with a lot of opportunity. It also has a tight community that supports its local businesses and it’s a fun place to live, which has helped us recruit great employees!
[M]: Leaderpromos has an impressive client roster. How have those working relationships generally come about?
SL: There are a few reasons. First is quality and service. We want our clients to be so pleased with us that they keep on coming back for more. Second, our team is just as passionate about promotional advertising as I am, and the professional service they give keeps our clients around for the long-term. Third, we have the resources our clients want and need, including overseas sourcing and global reach with our offices around the world, including Europe and Canada. Our clients trust us and that’s why we’ve been able to partner with such great organizations.
[M]: What’s some of the best business advice you’ve ever gotten?
SL: I have great mentors and friends, and I could write a book on all the great business advice I have received. However, the most basic and most powerful advice I ever got was, “It’s all about the people!” Surrounding yourself with talented and great people is the key to success! I wouldn’t be here without our brilliant team.
SL: Never give up. Even when times are tough, keep reaching for your goals.
To learn more about Leaderpromos, visit Leaderpromos.com.