"THIS IS WOMEN'S WORK"
By; Abby Kase
API's Mission is to provide full service promotional products merchandise through our trained professional sales and support staff. We aim to provide a wide array of programs and products that satisfy the needs of today and tomorrow's marketing professional.
API has not always been a woman owned business. In fact, given our 43 plus year history it’s a relatively recent development. There was inspiration and motivation behind the change and we’ll tell you why being a woman owned business was the best move for API.
We first opened our doors in 1965, owned and operated by Charles G Brown. In 1981, API was incorporated in the State of Maryland and solely owned by Mike Brown. That is until 2010 when the ownership of API was broken up for the first time in our company history. A few of the current owners might be obvious. But just in case you don’t know them all, majority owners of API are Cindy Brown, Sherry Brown, and David Brown. Mike Brown, Cindy Wendt and Leo Boone also have partial ownership of API. So as you can see, API has remained true to the label of “Family Business”. And that’s the way we want it.
Four years ago David and Cindy Brown decided to buy into API to gain part ownership status. David took control of our ever-expanding production department (officially Gator Graphics), running and maintaining everything they need to continue operating efficiently and fast. Mike Brown remained doing what he does best, sales. Cindy Wendt and Leo Boone did the same. Cindy Brown, who had been running the financial side of things, finally, and officially took control of the operations of API.
They say” the grass is always greener”. In this case it really was. Not being a woman owned business was prohibiting API from submitting RFP’s for supplier diversity programs. This left us with entire networks of people that we couldn’t even talk too, let alone try to work with. Already having Cindy running the show made the change over an easy one. Everyone was able to continue utilizing their strengths and API was able to reap significant benefits.
For Cindy, being the actual owner and President of API gives her “a more vested interest in what happens to the company as a whole” from the people to the volume we produce, she is motivated as an owner to make sure it’s all running smoothly.
With females in place as majority owners of API we have seen our yearly revenue almost double, grown the staff (from an original seven people) to over one hundred people, expanded in almost every department, opened our Marketing & Creative Department, started using DTG technology and have ranked in the top 1% in the promotional product industry (by Counselor Magazine). So there is no need to ask if this was the right move for API. It’s obvious.