What exciting and unique idea is burning in your mind? Is it an invention? Is it a way you can help others? Whatever you’re passionate about, you can make a difference in West Michigan. The vibrant business-sphere of West Michigan flows through every corner, creating exciting opportunities—but how can we keep entrepreneurial spirit alive and sustain the rapid growth?
It takes people like you, taking a leap of faith.
Everyone has that one “big idea,” but few actually manifest those ideas into reality. Deciding whether to dive into entrepreneurship can stir an array of emotions and may be the reason many people don’t take that step.
Every business has a story of how it started.
The history of Creative Studio Promotion exemplifies the picture-perfect fairytale.
Creative Studio Promotions: The Story
Ann Vidro, co-owner of Creative Studio Promotions (CSP), began her journey in the promotional goods industry as a minority owner of a screen printing company in West Michigan. Ann’s hard work ethic and devotion to the community ignited her in the industry, exemplifying her love for people and her joyous personality.
Menda Wright, co-owner of CSP, began her journey in the promotional goods industry in Columbus, Indiana, working for a promotional company. Menda’s dedication to her job exponentially grew the company; her entrepreneurial spirit and impassioned personality shone through in her amazing work.
When a mutual friend suggested Ann and Menda should meet, it was love at first sight.
Ann invited Menda to visit her office for a tour. Menda, thinking she was going on a sales call, tried to sell Ann promotional products. As Ann gave the tour, Menda started to recognize familiar items. Little did she realize Ann was a competitor in the same industry.
After the tour, the two went for coffee. It was obvious Ann and Menda were a perfect match; they spent hours talking, laughing and drinking a lot of coffee. After a substantial amount of caffeine, the two were cut off by the barista for being so “hyped-up.” By the end of their visit, the two had become best friends. Ann offered Menda a job, which she willingly accepted.
They’d been working together at the screen printing company for two years when the majority owner faced challenging times and was forced to close the company. He decided to move on and work elsewhere. After his move, he offered Ann and Menda jobs; out of loyalty, they accepted the positions.
It wasn’t long before Ann and Menda realized their new positions weren’t a good fit. Their morals didn’t match the company’s business practices. Knowing they needed to get out, they extended the owner of the new company an offer to buy out the clients they had acquired. The owner rejected he offer and sent them a fax: “YOU’RE FIRED.”
On that Thursday, June 15, 2012, Ann and Menda met with their business consultant: Menda’s father. The two decided it was time to dive into entrepreneurship. Menda’s father was delighted. “Girls, it’s about time.”
Creative Studio Promotions was founded the day Ann and Menda were fired. By the next Tuesday, they were taking orders. The two consider the awful situation the best thing that has ever happened, because it forced them to “jump off the cliff.”
Now celebrating five years of business, CSP has gained several impressive accolades. Among them, CSP was listed in the INC. 5000 in 2016 and 2017, became one of the leading suppliers within its Premier Group (2016), is a certified Women Owned Business, and has been listed in Michigan’s Top 50 companies to watch (2015).
Keep the Spirit Alive
Creative Studio Promotions is just one example of a West Michigan success story that required taking a leap of faith.
Look at the world around you and the many businesses you encounter every day. Perhaps you notice the company that manufactured the device you are reading this on. Maybe you notice the company that produced the food you eat. Whatever you notice, think of the story behind that brand: It required an entrepreneur, like you, to take the courageous leap of faith.
What are you waiting for?
It’s time to keep the entrepreneurial spirit here in West Michigan alive.
Written by Menda Wright, co-founder and owner of Creative Studio Promotions. Menda has over 25 years of experience in the promotional products industry, currently holds a board position with the industry buying group and is part of the youth leadership team at her church. She has been married to her wonderful husband for over 30 years; they have two semi-well behaved children.
Creative Studio Promotions works with ChoiceOne Bank for financial management and planning. If you’re ready to explore your opportunities and help keep West Michigan’s entrepreneurial spirit alive, visit https://www.choiceone.com/business/loans/.