The biggest leap for Cathy Demain Mann was going out on her own after 10 years of working for someone else. “The back-up support – with everything at your fingertips – was gone,” said Mann, the owner of Creative Impressions Inc.
“I thought, ‘I can do this.’ Worst case, I can always go back to another specialty company. I truly never looked back and I was a lot older [than most] when I made the decision,” she explained.
Creative Impressions offers hundreds of thousands of promotional products from domestic and international markets. The company also assists with meeting companies’ marketing goals, promoting employee events and brand recognition.
With sales volume in the top 3 percent of advertising-specialty agencies in the country, according to Counselor, an industry magazine, Creative Impressions has gained recognition for its quality customer service. Mann and her team must be doing something right.
In fact, when Hasbro Inc. wanted to reintroduce Pac-Man to a new generation of players, it was Mann’s creative force that helped the toy company achieve its goal.
“The Pac-Man was a really clever idea. The idea was to bring back Pac-Man, but he had to time travel. We came up with the idea of a suitcase and a little portable clock like he traveled with a passport. Hasbro ate it up right away. You’ve got to give them their branding.”
The idea caught the attention of not only Hasbro executives but those within the video-gaming industry who received the package.
Known for creativity, as well as customer service, Mann’s team has built a business based on customer referrals.
“We really believe that you never burn a bridge. When clients move to a new business or new venture, they take us with them. It’s what you’ve done for your client. So why wouldn’t they bring you to the next job or refer you? I think it’s the best approval you can get for clients to refer you.”
The company’s exclusive vendor relationships, as well as import-sourcing capabilities have resulted in efficient and cost-effective programs for Mann. “It’s about the follow up, the follow through and the on-time delivery. That’s what they buy. Everyone’s carrying the same product.”
Mann wasn’t alone in building the business. Her husband, Joe, joined her in partnership in 2003. Together for seven years, they raised two daughters and grew the business. Yet after his sudden passing in 2010, Mann found it extremely difficult to return to work.