Printing vet puts premium on promotional goods
Throughout her 20-year career selling commercial printing, Beth Levine always dabbled in giveaways, or premiums. Whenever a client needed promotional pens, hats or shirts, Levine was happy to secure those items and have them embossed, engraved, embroidered or imprinted with logos and slogans as requested. And when her children - and their friends - hit the bar and bat mitzvah circuit, Levine secured the party favors.

Levine loved helping clients and friends develop their items. And so, with the encouragement of her husband, Michael, Levine started concentrating her efforts solely on the promotional giveaway market.

In September, they opened Multimedia Promos, which is doing business as Multimedia Promotions. Beth owns 60 percent of the company, while Michael owns 40 percent.

The arrangement qualifies the company as a woman-owned business, making Beth Levine eligible for procurement programs with Fortune 500 buyers. Levine is also working on getting the company certified as a woman-owned business through the Women's Business Enterprise Counsel, or WBENC, an advocacy group that enhances opportunities for women owners.

WBENC mandates that companies be 51 percent owned by a woman or women and effectively managed by those owners (as evidenced by operating position, by-laws and hire-fire authority). Also, owners must have U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident Alien status.

Levine said she's working through WBENC with a mentor who handles global purchasing from a large financial management firm. That kind of relationship can lead Levine to buyers at other big corporations. "It's a networking system, but high-powered," she said.

Once Levine receives her certification, which takes 60 to 90 days, she'll showcase the WBENC seal on all of the marketing materials she makes, she said.

While Levine's eager to start working with global firms, she also strives to develop client relationships locally. Already, she's working with several LI school districts, handling shirts for sports teams and bands. She's accepted work as a subcontractor for other companies, and she drops in on her former printing customers, scoring orders from several of them on her visits.

All told, Levine said she has about 20 clients now. "Everyday it grows," she said.

Levine meets with Ritu Wackett, a business advisor who specializes in women and minority-owned businesses at the Small Business Development Center at Farmingdale State University. "I find it's a time to dedicate myself only to the business rather than handling faxes and phone calls," she said.
Under Wackett's guidance, Levine said she'll be able to make sense of the paperwork she'll need to complete in order to work with a variety of large corporations as a woman business owner. Each company has its own requirements for working with a WBENC-certified company, Levine said.
She also said she's tapping the know-how of Rip Gettis, the owner of South Jersey-based Creative Specialties, a company that's already established in the premium business. Gettis has helped her get started in the industry by recommending resources and price structures.

Meanwhile, the entrepreneur is developing her Web site,, a work in progress, she said. And she's perfecting her elevator speech: We bring images and ideas together to help companies like yours look great.

Newer Story Return To List Older Story