Kris Wittenberg founded SayNoMore! Promotions in 1999. The premise on which Kris and her husband began the business was with the simple mindset to be leaders – not followers in a very competitive field. As an industry leader, they thrive on the challenge of finding truly unique gifts that catch the eye and draw people in, regularly seeking custom ideas that set their clients apart. They produce anything with their client’s logo or brand messaging on it. This includes simple but elegant writing instruments, business accessories and tastefully screen-printed or embroidered apparel. They have a global reach and are revered in this industry.
Clients appreciate their passion for promotional programs, corporate gifts, premiums and incentives that are both original and lasting…ones that will never be forgotten. Today they continue to grow at a rapid pace relying almost exclusively on client referrals.
How have they become this highly successful company which has garnered the trust of clients such as American Express, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Clubs, Wells Fargo Bank, and FedEx?
Kris’ story is remarkable. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Kansas. She was “discovered” by her first post-college employer while running off her resume at Kinkos two weeks after graduation! With this initial experience, she was exposed and taught how to be an entrepreneur, how to be resourceful, and how to make sure you compensate and motivate your employees well. From here she took what she had learned and started her company with her husband.
Over 10 years later, they have continued to survive and grow in an economic downturn which often cuts budgets tied to marketing and promotional materials first. How? Kris admits that she never had to worry about sales before, as all of their business had historically come from satisfied clients referring others to them. So, when the recession hit, one key learning for their company was to become creative with marketing and making sure they were tracking every single penny.
These past few years have by far been the most challenging for their company. They are still in the process of overcoming it. Kris states that it has taken the support of her family, her team, and her devout faith to get through. Admittedly, she has said there have been many days in the past year that she did not feel like getting out of bed. Kris says, and I quote, “Each day, though, I made myself do it and tried to find the things and people in my life to be grateful for.”
Her three tips for future entrepreneurs and business leaders:
To quote one of my heroes, Nell Merlino, “Believe in you!”
Do not let others make you feel guilty about having a career and full life.
You must take care of yourself.
This is a tremendous success story of someone who has persevered in a highly competitive market by staying loyally aligned to her customer base. Meanwhile, she stayed balanced and congruent in her life, never allowing business to replace what was clearly most important to her: her family. This story has been adapted through an article written about Kris and her company in readersdigest.com.