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Industry Leader Identifies Four Drivers of Growth

Tina Brumleve, a Women in Screen Printing Award winner, credits success to the right business partner, great employees, an understanding of financials, and a commitment to being present.




Industry Leader Identifies Four Drivers of Growth
Tina Brumleve
Co-Owner | Designs Unlimited, Inc., Teutopolis, Illinois

Q: Your nomination form highlights your drive for educating clients. Why is this important, and how has it benefited business relationships and your bottom line?

Tina Brumleve: When a long-term customer says to us “Oh, I didn’t realize you provide “XXX” service,” it’s like a knife through my heart. That’s [not only] proof of lost sales, but also a lost opportunity to make another connection with them. So, we’ve been on a mission to minimize this. The best education, in my opinion, is done in fun ways, on the down-low, without the customer realizing they’re being educated! This spring we moved into our new facility, and recently had an open house for our customers and business community. We spent a lot of time in planning, creatively, how we could check both boxes. It was a great day and a lot of fun, and we’re seeing very positive results!

Industry Leader Identifies Four Drivers of Growth According to Tina’s nominator, core values she set for the business at the beginning of her journey in screen printing include “Give 110 percent, always,” “Strive for excellence,” and “Do what you say, always.” Her nominator adds, “She continues to instill these values in every part of the company as an exemplary leader and mentor.”

Q: Your nomination form also highlights how you’ve led your company to “substantial growth.” Specifically, it highlights two renovations and an addition to the original building as well as the construction of a new, 15,000-square-foot building that you designed. What have been the most significant drivers of this growth?

Tina Brumleve: I attribute our growth to 4 main things:

  1. Having the right business partner. My husband and I started our business in 2005. Working together as partners, [we have] been a great combination. We have different strengths and passions and are opposite personality types, but with that comes different viewpoints, management styles, and ideas. Finding the right business partner is crucial because you really need to like being around them, and they need to provide strength where your skillsets are weak. If you can find that person, it’s very worth it.
  2. Our employees. They are our most important asset. A mentor once told me that I should always try to hire people smarter than me. When hiring, we look for holes in our skillsets and try to plug them with the very best people we can! It’s a fine line trying to keep employee wage costs down while also investing in high talent for future success. Our staff is amazing, and we wouldn’t trade them for anything. They are extremely hard workers, but more importantly, they are genuinely great people. We’re blessed.
  3. Knowing and understanding your financial numbers. My background is accounting, and I use my degree every day to make business decisions. I can’t imagine wading through the day-to-day without this knowledge.
  4.  As owners, we engage and are physically present. It helps build trust and respect if employees can see owners working hard and leading by example.

Q: What does being a woman in the screen printing industry mean to you?

Tina Brumleve: Women are amazing beings. How they are able to handle the many facets of this fast-paced thing we call “life” and all the roles that come with that is truly amazing to me. I’m proud to walk and work alongside some very talented women in this space. There is so much to know in this industry – the technical side, the product side, the financial side, plus sales, management, and HR – but I see many women in this space do it all very well. It’s very inspiring. My goal each day is to use my skillset to positively impact the lives of people around me and to help advance this industry in some way. I hope I’m on the right track.




Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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