A job at a greeting card company planted a seed of inspiration in Don Martin’s mind, and it has sprouted into a supplier company that produces what he believes produces the most eco-friendly product in the promotional products industry—seed paper.
“I started Bloomin in 1995 with my current partners, Tom and Sue Noyes. We originally started in the gift industry as a greeting card company but quickly moved into promotional products by 2000,” says Martin, president of Bloomin Promotions (UPIC: Bloom108).
“After completing my MBA at CU [University of Colorado] and working for a brief time at another greeting card company in Boulder, I was determined to start my own endeavor. As president, I wear a lot of hats at Bloomin, but I truly love helping our distributors close the big deals. I enjoy all the marketing that goes along with keeping them informed and successful in selling our products.”
Martin says he loves selling a product that is “truly a feel-good product. I feel good about selling it, the distributors get excited about it and the end users love it. As an artist, I enjoy the creative process. I believe seed paper is a great medium for creatively and responsibly communicating ‘earth-friendly.’”
Outside the office, Martin and his wife, Jayme, spend much of their free time taking advantage of the outdoor adventures that can be found in their home state of Colorado. “We have two very active teenage boys: Jackson, a junior in high school, and Everett, who is in eighth grade. We all love skiing.”
Read on to learn about a typical day in the life of Don Martin.
6 am – I wake up early with Roxy, our long-haired miniature dachshund. She typically wakes up at 6, ready for squirrel and rabbit hunting while I make coffee and check email. Often there is a lot of email correspondence to be done with our international promotional products distributors before the sun comes up. I enjoy corresponding with them before their day ends and ours begins. I make breakfast and lunch for myself and for my two teenage boys (they eat a lot these days). I enjoy getting up to speed with the family and hearing what lies ahead for everyone—this is typically my favorite time of the day.
8 am: I arrive at Bloomin, where probably half the staff has been in the office since 7 am, so there are usually some immediate questions and updates coming out of production. I get the run-down from them on critical or time-sensitive projects they are working on and make my way to my desk.
9 am: I check email again. Some is good, some bad, some I forward to other staff, but a lot of it seems to need my immediate attention. Larger, more important quotes and proposals all go through me, so I try and prioritize those projects and reply to them in a timely manner. Routinely I am tasked by distributors to provide suggestions or recommendations for products and designs that will fit within certain budgets and parameters. We’ve done a lot of custom projects over the years and I love brainstorming with my staff and distributor partners to come up with truly unique eco-friendly solutions that only we can offer.
There are plenty of longer term projects to fill any voids in the day. I am currently working to become a certified B-Corporation, which is the equivalent of LEED certification, or Certified Organic, for sustainable and socially responsible companies. The certification requires a lot of interviews and assessments to ensure we meet all of the requirements, which we do.
Meetings are scheduled throughout the week, including managers’ meetings to keep open communication going between all team leaders. Our process requires all departments to work fluidly with departments upstream and downstream and regular meetings help us all stay on the same page. I meet formally once a week with my sales and marketing manager Nikki, and informally throughout each day with her and other members of the sales and customer satisfaction team.
11 am: I analyze data from various online advertising marketing campaigns and work with Nikki to ensure our message is clear. I spend a lot of time refining the dynamic (never static) marketing plan as we explore and identify new opportunities to communicate with and educate distributors. I try to attend most of the major promotional trade shows over the course of the year and spend time on the road attending shows and visiting with some key distributor groups. I think it is important to stay in front of our distributor partners and really listen to their challenges and opportunities within the industry. This is a relationship business and developing those relationships is what makes our industry so fun and interesting.
Noon: I typically eat my lunch at my desk, as things don’t really slow down over the lunch hour at Bloomin, and I happen to like leftovers. There are a few healthy lunch stops within walking distance when I feel the need to stretch my legs and take in some of the Boulder sunshine.
1 pm: Lots of follow-up emails and phone calls continue, this time resulting from proposals that went out in the morning. Often there are seed-related meetings and calls related to securing the highest-quality seeds from the best suppliers at the best prices (sometimes I feel like a pork belly commodities trader). I correspond regularly with my friends at the Colorado Agriculture Department, and also with the nice people at the United States Department of Agriculture.
4 pm: When major issues percolate to the surface, or when strategic capital investment decisions are needed, I enjoy pow-wows with my long-time friends and partners in the business, Tom and Sue. Distributors call and email all day long. I like to be available to help them write orders and make money. I understand the time sensitivity to our business and believe that our customer centered focus is what sets us apart.
6 pm: This is the typical the end of the day at Bloomin. On weekdays, we have some folks who work production shifts from late afternoon into the evening, so I like to make sure everyone is on task before checking out for the night. On a Friday afternoon, there might be some cold microbrews spotted on the Bloomin campus. If my sons have sports commitments, I may take the opportunity after work to see them compete in wrestling, diving, track, tennis, basketball or even choir. Additionally, I compete on the Boulder 5.0 Tennis team and enjoy the competitive camaraderie a few evenings a week.
7 pm: My wife is a fantastic cook, so I always look forward to dinner with her and the boys, when we can sit down together. After dinner, the house may be filled with guitar lessons, homework, art projects (my wife is an elementary art teacher), reading, or some non-reality television.
Some evenings I attend meetings as part of my service on the board for Employment Link, an organization that places differently-abled individuals in inclusive work places throughout the Boulder community. I’ve served for 10 years in one capacity or another, including as president. Bloomin continues to employ a diverse workforce, including several employees from this inspirational organization.
9 pm: As the evening winds down, I think ahead to the weekends. I try and unplug on the weekends and unsuccessfully try to coerce my family to do the same. We take full advantage of all the wonderful things Colorado has to offer. I feel blessed and fortunate to be surrounded with such great people within my family, my company and the promotional products industry. Life is pretty Bloomin good in Boulder.