Getting down to business Featured

1:38pm EDT June 19, 2003
Office attire may be casual all week long, but when it comes to business strategies, Martin Designs gets serious.

"We want a fun environment that strives to achieve," says Martin Myers, president and owner.

Founded in 2001, Martin Designs is a producer of social stationary for mass-market consumers. Products -- including journals, notebooks and photo albums -- are sold to Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and 1,500 other similar accounts.

Unlike the competition, Martin Designs is able to sell high-quality products for well under the $5 average established in the industry.

"We uncovered a market for quality stationary with upscale designs at under $3," says Myers.

Most recently, Martin Designs acquired exclusive formatting rights to produce stationary for both NASCAR and Nickelodeon Studios.

"It was originally going to be just a hobby," says Myers of the company which sold 20 million individual items in its first year of production.

Myers attributes his success to an earnest business model created to maximize sales. Some of his marketing strategies include offering fresh products annually, outsourcing production to minimize costs and creating a high-quality product at a low cost.

"We came across a niche in the market that had not been addressed yet," says Myers.

The company continues to achieve a balance with upscale products that can be distributed at retail locations.

Myers is thankful that Ashland, where the company is based, provides a strong employee base.

"I was able to put together a first-class organization in months," he says.

Employee loyalty and a relaxed atmosphere continue to support the company.

Martin Designs allows employees to dress casually in jeans and sneakers, and offers a lunchroom where employees at all levels in the organization convene. And Myers has "two or three of my dogs in the halls at work every day."

To reward employees, at least 10 percent of yearly income is distributed back to them. Myers believes that team motivation and rewards keep the office parking lot full, even on always-optional Saturdays.

"Central Ohio is a great place to own and operate a business," says Myers. How to reach: Martin Designs, (419) 207-8181