Debbie Simpson, president of Multi-Craft
Printing. Marketing. Design. Mailing. Multi-Craft does it all.
Multi-Craft was founded by William Gibbs in 1955 as a business that solely provided print solutions. Through hard work, innovation and tireless customer service and support, they became a leader in the graphic communications industry in the community of Greater Cincinnati and across the United States.
A huge part of this transformation is Debbie Simpson, president of the successful printing and marketing company Multi-Craft. Simpson started at her father’s business right out of high school, working as a receptionist, but also having hands-on experience. In 1990, her father handed over the reins and she became president. “I had no qualifications for the position, but I had the most hands-on experience,” says Simpson. “My father always said that we could do anything if we put our minds to it. And we did.”
The number one priority for Simpson and the company is their clients, adding value to their business by constantly adding new capabilities and technology to better serve their growing clientele. “It was up to us to understand our clients markets and their customers,” says Simpson. “We became an extension of their organization.”
Early on, when Multi-Craft found that many of their customers needed direct mail, they became a mail house in addition to just printing the mailers for their customers. In the years since, the business has also added graphic design, web design and development, warehousing, fulfillment, and data analytics and augmentation for marketing purposes. “When the Internet made an appearance in business we knew it was going to have impact on printing. We didn’t know what it would be, but we knew something was going to happen,” says Simpson. “So we decided to expand our revenue channels.”
“It was a lot of fun. Very exciting. We were entering new arenas,” says Simpson. “We always went in with a customer. They would say, ‘we need this done. Where do I go?’ And we thought, we can help you with what you need and expand our services. We were able to develop what they needed together and then make it available to other customers.”
Though Simpson enjoys her job, there are definitely challenges. “The biggest challenge,” she says, “is time.” For Multi-Craft to evolve, we must continue to research trends, especially for Multi-Craft’s monthly seminars. “Technology is driving change so rapidly. You have to constantly be out there reading, researching, talking to vendors, talking to the experts in social media,” says Simpson. “You then have to take what you learn and apply it to what you are doing, but filter it to your business model.”
The lack of time and so much to learn is one of the reasons Simpson started Multi-Craft’s monthly seminars. “Not everybody knows this information about marketing and they don’t have the time to research it,” says Simpson. “Being an educational resource to our customers is extremely important. Our clients provide the topics they want to know more about and we do the research. The seminars are a great way to disseminate that information.”
Multi-Craft’s seminars occur once a month and last for an hour. “We had a seminar about trade shows once and talked about if they are a viable marketing tool for your company,” says Simpson. “We personally don’t do trade shows, but we researched them. We became more knowledgeable and by learning about trade shows we could help our customers better utilize the opportunity.”
When asked what advice she would give to current or future business owners, Simpson had two great suggestions: find something you love to do and never take your eyes off the customers.
To learn more about Multi-Craft, you can visit their website at www.multi-craft.com or visit their store at 131 E. Sixth Street, Newport, KY.