The Plunge That Paid Off
Beth Lybrook’s promotional product experience fuels her company’s growth
In theory, everyone knows that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life (Confucius). But how many people are fortunate enough to make a living doing what they love?
Beth Lybrook, owner of Dayton, Ohio-based distributor LIZard Apparel & Promotions (UPIC: L576440) is one of those people. Like many in the promotional products industry, she “fell” into the business.
“I used to be on the other side of the table as a marketing manager for a Fortune 500 company,” Lybrook says. “I always loved the part of my job where I got to purchase premium and promotional items for my department.”
One day she posted an ad in the newspaper for a position she was hiring and went to the newspaper’s office to make sure the ad was correct. While there, she saw an ad for a salesperson at a local promotional company, ESKCO, Inc. “I remember saying to myself, ‘That’s a real job? It sounds fun!’ I could shop and be creative for people all day long. I applied and have been happy in this industry ever since,” she says. Eventually, she decided to use the experience she’d gained at ESKCO, which was acquired by HALO Branded Solutions in 2008, and open her own business.
After starting LIZard in her home in 2013 with two employees, Lybrook had to move into a larger space in 2014. Now, the company is expanding again to a 6,500 square-foot office space and warehouse, with more space next door when needed. Lybrook’s staff has grown as well; she currently employs 12 people in multiple states across the country. With its broad array of services in addition to its popular online, on-demand uniform and apparel program, “LIZard’s growth tripled from year one to two, and we are projecting about the same between years three and four. It’s so exciting,” she says.
Lybrook’s older daughter, 27-year-old Kelly, works with her as the sales and program manager. Her younger daughter, 23-year-old Courtney, works in the hospitality industry. Lybrook is first and foremost a proud mom. “I’m so blessed with two great, successful women. They are my world!”
Where did your company name come from?
My name is Elizabeth, but I go by Beth. My dad, Ron Duncan, is the only one who calls me Liz. I wanted to make my company name meaningful to me so I named it after my dad’s name for me and my dad’s name by using the following letters: ARD, for According to Ron Duncan.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy attending and watching sporting events—especially football and basketball. (Go Ohio State Buckeyes and University of Dayton Flyers!) I also like playing cards and entertaining guests. I love to travel to new places, but lately I have not had much time for that.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
My parents and three older brothers had the greatest influence on me. They taught me to have a great work ethic, to always be honest and deliver on your word, and to never be afraid to ask others for help.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I believe the part I like the most about my work is that every day is different. There is never a normal routine, and I love working with and meeting new people.
What was your first job and what lessons did you learn?
My first job was working as a caterer for a catering company. I loved this job for the customer service skills I learned and I enjoyed serving people, especially during joyous occasions. But in another position I had I learned that even though two or more people may have the same job, some give 100 percent and some don’t. I was frustrated because I was the hardest worker but was still paid the same. This is how I ended up in sales. I liked knowing that the harder I worked, the more money I could earn.
What motivates you in business and in life?
I always want to be a positive light in others’ lives. I want to make a difference to the people I meet as well as be a help to them in achieving their personal and business goals. I love coming up with new ideas and helping resolve their business challenges. I also have had so many people help me along the way and I want to pay it forward to others.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I would have to say taking the risk of starting my own business. It was rather easy because I am so passionate about this industry and have never felt like it has been a job, but more of a great hobby. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and begin the work day. That’s when you know you are doing the right thing.
Beth Lybrook’s Five Secrets To Distributor Success
1. Create a relationship with the client. Truly be interested in getting to know them.
2. Call back when you say you will. It’s not that hard but you would be amazed at how many people just don’t do this.
3. Keep the customer in the loop at all times. Be honest and own up to mistakes if you make them. They really appreciate that and will have a better respect for you.
4. Really want to help your clients find the best solution for their needs, not what money you can make off of the sale.
5. Don’t give up—it’s a challenging industry to learn and it takes a while to get things going in a groove. But look out when the groove gets going! You will be busy.