What Makes an Award-Winning Workplace? Go Behind the Scenes with our Stores Team!
We’re so excited to announce that Custom Ink is #11 on the 2021 Fortune Best Workplaces in Retail ™ List! Our amazing team members (known as “Inkers” around Custom Ink) made it all possible—we couldn’t have done it without you.
We’re giving a special shout-out to our Stores teams who continued delivering stellar customer service and maintaining community relationships throughout the pandemic, especially while navigating health and safety guidelines the entire time. We’re excited to see the Stores teams continue to grow and establish Custom Ink as a part of their community all across the U.S.
To highlight what it’s like to work on the Stores team, Jacque Martin (Mosaic Store Manager), Mitchell Roedema (Princeton Store Manager), and Dj Allen (Stores Regional Manager) took some time to talk about their experiences in the stores and with Custom Ink.
CI: What made you want to work with Custom Ink?
JM: A friend! I knew someone who worked for Custom Ink and LOVED it. I was looking for something different that could challenge me creatively and help me grow and develop my professional skills, and Custom Ink sounded like the perfect place!
MR: I hadn’t heard that there were Custom Ink Store locations before and was interested once I learned more about the role. It really opened up the opportunity to think like a business owner and have a community impact that I hadn’t had in previous roles.
DA: Interacting with Amanda Hanlon [Director of Stores Operations] and Alyssa Brown [Team Services Manager] during my interview was what sold me on joining the Custom Ink family after a friend of mine suggested that I apply.
CI: What does your normal workday look like?
JM: Coffee, check emails, coffee, say hi to the team, coffee. 🙂 Just kidding! (Kinda.) Usually, my day is a mix of working with my customers with their orders, coaching my team on calls and interactions, helping my peers with customer situations, and then doing outreach with my [clients] to see how they are doing and how I can help. If I boiled it down I would say my day is focused on team needs, customer needs, and then everything else!
MR: A normal workday consists of interacting with customers whether it’s through an appointment or a customer walking in. We’ve built strong customer relationships and are in constant communication with them regarding their needs via email or phone. In addition to helping our customers, we also support our fellow Inkers who may need assistance. Throughout the day we are also busy placing orders for our customers!
DA: My normal workdays are filled with engaging interactions with fellow Inkers strategizing on how to grow our businesses. We constantly discuss overcoming obstacles and celebrating yesterday’s successes.
CI: What is the company and team culture like with Custom Ink?
JM: The culture is special, I think. Especially in retail, you are usually so focused on your four store walls but with Custom Ink you are encouraged to go far outside those. The autonomy and trust given to the stores is so very unique and appreciated. I also love how the store’s channel in particular all works together across the country to help each other out. Even when you are alone in your store there is always someone just a chat away willing to help with any problem that may arise. Vulnerability is so encouraged and when everyone is on the same page about that you can see all these new ideas grow into plans and goals that everyone works towards.
MR: The company and team culture are great, it’s something I really love about Custom Ink. Our core values run deep through every Inker and it’s a part of who we are and what we do. There is this sense of belonging as well that doesn’t feel forced.
CI: Do you hang out with other Inkers outside of work?
JM: Of course I do! Being so near the office helps with that (shoutout to Caboose happy hours) but even if not physically close I find myself texting with other Inkers!
MR: Our team culture is unlike any other I’ve seen in my previous years in retail. We are all invested in each other’s personal and professional growth, and we genuinely support one another. Due to the multiple store locations around the country, we haven’t been able to physically hang out, but that hasn’t deterred us from creating friendships. My team and I here in Princeton schedule monthly dinner dates so we can catch up outside of work.
DA: While I do not hang with Inkers outside of work, while working our interactions are light-hearted and good-natured, always with an eye on moving our businesses forward.
CI: What are some things that set apart your work with Custom Ink from previous jobs you’ve had?
JM: Totally different from when I was in the retail/quick-serve food industry. I would say things like personal development time/projects, doing the right thing for the customer, and accepting that you are going to mess up and that is OK are probably the top three for me.
MR: One of the main things that sets what I do with Custom Ink apart from previous roles is the ownership I have over the business. I feel supported not just by my team, but by our leadership team who supports us in making decisions that will best impact our business and community. The communication between the different levels of leadership and our teams is something I have not seen yet in another company. Custom Ink believes in keeping all Inkers in the loops when it comes to company initiatives, which is a breath of fresh air.
DA: Here we are comfortable taking calculated risks and we reward innovation. We see each other as individuals with value. We understand and expect flaws but support mitigating or overcoming those flaws on the road to success.
CI: What are your favorite parts about working at Custom Ink?
JM: The people. It may be cliche but everyone you meet and talk to wants you to succeed and is willing to assist with that if they can. Things may not go the way you want or how you think they will but you have a great support system behind you willing to help out in any way possible!
MR: I love the energy everyone has, and no matter who you talk to – even if it’s for a quick “get to know you” chat, you’re never made to feel like an outsider. The Inker community fully embraces you from the beginning.
I also love the impact I can make within our local communities. We’re bringing people together and building relationships (not just with our peers) with our customers and making it more than just about ordering printed gear.
DA: I love my interactions with my fellow Inkers on the Store’s leadership team. I enjoy the development and healthy challenges Amanda Hanlon gives me as my leader.
CI: Do your stores work with other organizations or companies?
JM: We are always working with the Mosaic shopping center to support events and activities. Outside of that, we love to assist our local organizations with fundraisers, like the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
MR: We do! We work closely with different partners within the community along with our local schools and universities as well.
DA: Our stores work with many organizations regularly. We help companies brand their business, we help deliver art supplies to underserved communities, and countless other organizations and companies.
CI: The 2021 Fortune Best Workplaces in Retail ™ List includes Patagonia, Spotify, and Twitter. How does it feel to make this list?
JM: Is it odd to say not surprised? I read about those companies as “ideal” but really Custom Ink is right there (just a little smaller). I think that having the employee at the center of decisions is what makes these companies the types of places you want to work and Custom Ink always has the Inker in mind.
MR: It feels pretty awesome! Physical store locations are still a new endeavor considering that Custom Ink is 20 years old and mainly e-commerce. It’s a big accomplishment to be on this list and see the growth and development that has happened within these last few years.
DA: It is not surprising and it is good to see we are recognized for treating people right. You can be successful while being human.
If this sounds like a great fit for you, start your career with Custom Ink and see why we made Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Retail list! We’re hiring new Inkers to join Custom Ink’s team of dedicated reps and help bring communities together through the power of custom apparel and accessories. Find out more and apply today!