Despite a less-than-stellar economy and a scarce job market, North and Northeast Port-land residents Amanda Salama and Molly Kline are choosing to start their own business.
The two 26-year-olds who have college degrees and professional experience, made the decision despite the risks — they have opened Ink Promotions.
"Some people think we're crazy," said Kline. "We both could, and have, had jobs with reputable companies and could be on our way up the corporate ladder. Not many people in this economy would let go of that. But we're thinking differently than our parents did.
"To us, the security of working for a large company with benefits isn't our dream come true," she added. "Working for yourself, setting your own schedule and having the freedom to spend time with your family or work at home are what we are choosing."
Salama said her generation is reconsidering the definition of success.
"We were all raised to go to college, get our degrees and go find a great employer to provide our security," she said. "But now we've seen that side and many of us are realizing it's more appealing to be the owner than the worker. It is definitely a risk, and a lot of hard work, but the payoff is well worth it."
The two, who have known each other for eight years, decided they wanted to go into business together and waited for the right opportunity to surface. Last January, Salama returned from a vacation to Costa Rica where she became inspired to start her own clothing line. After doing some research into the industry, Salama realized she could increase her profits if she could both print and sell her product. Kline had also considered creating her own clothing line as well, so the business idea seemed a natural fit. The two began meeting daily and formulating a business plan.
Thirty days later, Ink Promotions was born.
But T-shirts are really only a fraction of what "Ink" can offer. The company claims to be able to "print anything on anything" offering its customers both promotional products such as mugs, pens, water bottles, etc. to signs, brochures and apparel.
"We offer a service that every business owner in Portland is in need of, Kline said. "Whether it's a sign, business card, company uniform or logo product, the market is really endless. And as a small company we pride ourselves on our customer service (Ink offers pick-up and delivery on every order) and our competitive rates. We love working in North and Northeast Portland because that's where our roots are. We are working not only with fellow businesses, but neighbors."
Ink tries to go beyond its competitors by offering its customers free marketing advice and custom promotional strategies.
"If you come to us and all you know if that you're trying to increase sales but have no idea what kind of product would help you accomplish that, we will sit down with you and help you find the product that best fits your company," Salama said.
"Through our Web site we also offer our customers the ability to upload their logo and see what it would look like on over 650,000 products."
And the pair must be onto something. In the short time since Ink's commencement, the company has seen increasing profits each month and has already catered to some of Portland's most reputable companies and nonprofits.
"We're very excited about the company's future and what we can offer to local businesses and organizations," Kline said.
"We can accommodate a small family order or a large corporation, which is unique. And the best part is, work has become fun again."
For information about the company, visit the Web site, www.inkpromotions.biz.