When Michelle Guetle (geet-ly) took over as owner of Callard Company in 2009, her career was coming full circle. Her very first job after graduating from The Ohio State University was as a salesperson for Callard! Michelle went on to work for a Top 10 national promotional company, then managed the promotional division for a Columbus ad agency before she returned to the company where she got her start.
How did you get into the promotional industry?
I started in the industry back in 1992 after a marketing internship in college, and my boss at the time was a vendor for Callard. He introduced me to Callard and a new career opportunity in an industry I knew very little about. Never did I think I would go into straight commission sales but when I met Kay Callard [then owner of Callard] I just fell in love with the business. I’ve been hooked on this industry ever since.
What do you love about what you do?
I love that we can support every aspect of a business and their initiatives. We touch everything from HR employee programs, to community engagement, to marketing programs, to business development. The opportunities to help our clients are endless.
And we work with so many different industries—that variety is amazing! But it all comes down to that common core of creativity and delivering value.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I think it’s when you get to put together a whole campaign for a client. Being full service. When we help with the creative design, the custom packaging, the merchandise, and with all the fulfillment services. An extra bonus is adding an online ordering component that helps make the project administration that much easier for the client.
What’s the most creative promotional marketing solution you’ve developed for a client?
Working with Ohio State Athletics to create a new, unique award to recognize the Hall of Fame inductees. We designed a custom shaped crystal Block “O” award. It’s beautiful and truly celebrates the honor of being an inductee. It’s about creating that memorable moment for everyone involved.
Where are your favorite places to look for inspiration?
We draw from other client projects, from past experience. It’s about knowing what works, and what doesn’t work.
We also spend a lot of time each month with our preferred vendors, by bringing them into our space and hosting vendor rallies. We focus on case studies throughout the country, hottest trends, product safety, and out of the box ideas. We also tap into what’s hot in retail for inspiration.
What’s the best part of your work day?
Helping my team. Watching their success as they pull all the project details together. Seeing them grow, learning new things, solving problems. And having fun.
I’ve always been in sales—and even in management and now as the owner, I’m a sales rep at heart. My sales team knows that I’m doing exactly what they’re doing, and what it takes to earn the clients’ business and build that relationship for many years. My commitment is to support them at each point along the way.