Suppose you wanted to print your logo or a design on something round… or on a piece of tile, box, bottle, book, guitar pic, or even ball. How would you do it? Susan Cox, owner of LogoJET, has become the solution to these uncommon printing problems by designing and building her own line of printers right here in Acadiana, as well as selling them all over the globe.
We sat down with Susan ahead of our upcoming entrepreneur meetup to hear more of her story.
LogoJET is a manufacturer of light industrial, direct to substrate printers. “We specialize in custom printing solutions for the promotional products, signage, home décor/gifting, industrial labeling, packaging and even the golf industry,” says Susan. “We serve many other industries that are looking for a direct print solution on various materials from metals, plastics, wood, stone, ceramic, rubber and even some textile materials like leather and nylon.”
LogoJet services customers worldwide and does all of the support, marketing and sales in their Lafayette office, while manufacturing is done in South Korea. Every entrepreneur starts small, of course, and Susan’s story is one you might not expect.
“From the time that I was very young I always wanted to be in business. I liked the idea of dressing up and going to the office. Sounds funny, but to a 10 year old that can be inspirational. I remember my mom brought me to work one day and I met her boss and he was dressed in an amazing suit and on the phone, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow I want to be like him!’. Growing up I was fortunate to surround myself with other young entrepreneurs,” Susan said.
From there, it was a rapid journey towards her goals. “I started working at the age of 13 as a telemarketer and won the NCR Project Manager award of the year at the age of 17. They didn’t know my age. When I received the award my bosses took me to a bar to celebrate. At the door I had to tell them that I wasn’t old enough to get in. Very embarrassing moment! I had early professional success and still felt that I was destined to start my own business, do my own thing, and make a difference. My dream was to come to the United States (I’m originally from Toronto), so at 18 years old I started my business and here I am today! Doing what I love!”
As with every entrepreneurial journey, there are ups and downs. Susan describes two successes: making an early bet in a high growth sector (short run digital printing) that has expanded into mass customization allowing customers to turn prototypes into actual products; and also establishing and aligning her team around core values. Susan proudly said, “I have a great team and they are dedicated to working together towards growth and customer satisfaction.”
Failure can be just as important as – if not more so than – success, and every business journey has them. “My younger self would go after business at any cost, even if the business was not a good fit with our core product or strategy,” Susan told us. She also added that “having a mentor was extremely instrumental in helping me to make better decisions and keep me focused on the more important things — and my business mentor happens to be my husband!”
She goes on to recount a story of how she told her husband she would one day be on the list of America’s fastest growing businesses. He encouraged her to simplify the business and to get the right people on the team.
That act of simplifying things involved selling part of the business, which represented nearly 1/3 of her company revenue. “I knew that focusing 100% on 1 thing (printer sales and support) would allow me to double my business and sure enough it did! We made it into the Inc. 5000 in 2014, 2015, and I’m happy to say we are on the 2016 list as well this year,” Susan says.
Every entrepreneur is barreling towards some end goal, and Susan knows what it looks like. She calls it “Empowering Customization.”
“This is a funny story. At 11 years old, LogoJET is usually one of the youngest companies at trade shows that we attend. We went to the 3D printing and prototyping show in Long Beach, California last year and we were one of the oldest businesses there. That entire industry has been built in less than a decade. There will be tremendous growth in that space for decades to come. We are part of it. Our printers enable our customers to turn prototypes into finished products.”
She goes on to say, “We have hundreds of customers using thousands of printers. I personally speak to several of them every day. Through this dialogue we are able to adapt our technology and platform to their needs. Our newer machines are much larger than our previous models and better suited to high volume industrial settings. Our inks are evolving to be more durable and to cure faster. We are even working with several customers that plan to use our printers and inks to decorate food products.”
Susan says her company will continue into the future, growing with the industry as they listen to customers, pursue their mission, and keep solving peoples’ problems.
If you’d like to hear more from Susan, please join us at our monthly entrepreneur meetup Wednesday, August 24th at LITE! Register here.