For Immediate Release
Contact: Ronna Branch
PORTLAND’S DESIGNS BY LUCINDA WINS FIRST PLACE IN UPS SMALL BUSINESS CONTEST
Local Entrepreneur Recognized For Innovation By UPS
PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 3, 2005 – Lucinda Yates never intended to start her own small business, but after designing 4 million jewelry pins that helped raise $22 million for non-profit organizations, the Portland-based entrepreneur admits her company is a success. And she isn’t the only one.
UPS (NYSE:UPS), the world’s largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, today announced that Designs by Lucinda took first place in the company’s national Best “Out-of-the-Box” Small Business Contest. A panel of small business experts reviewed hundreds of contest entries from across the country and awarded Yates with the top prize – $10,000 in cash or $10,000 worth of free UPS package delivery services; a personal computer and printer provided by HP and equipped with UPS OnLine Tools; and $5,000 worth of UPS consulting services.
“While UPS may be one of the world’s largest companies, we are committed to helping small companies like Designs by Lucinda succeed because they are the true engines of commerce,” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS senior vice president, worldwide sales and marketing. “UPS began as an ‘out-of-the-box’ small business nearly 100 years ago, so we know the challenges that small companies face as they seek to grow their businesses.”
Added first-place winner Yates: “It’s very rewarding to have a company the size of UPS actively looking for ways to help businesses as small as mine.”
Yates was an independent jewelry designer when she designed a pin that was to serve as a fund-raiser for The Preble Street Resource Center, a community organization addressing homelessness, hunger, and poverty issues in town. The pin was intended to be a one-time-only creation to raise money and awareness about homelessness in the community, but it ultimately became the spark for Yates’ business, Designs by Lucinda.
With Yates at the helm, the company designs and sells pins to non-profit organizations for use in their fund-raising efforts. The company creates a line of more than 40 theme-based handcrafted pins, employs a growing workforce, and sells internationally. In May 2005, the company sold its 4 millionth pin, equaling $22 million raised for non-profits.
“I didn’t start the business to start a business,” Yates said. “I just wanted to help the homeless in our community. From that first pin, the company took on a life of its own as word of the pins spread and people wanted to start selling them in their own communities.”
The early going was a bit rocky as Yates started her company, not knowing anything about staffing, accounting, or mass production of one-of-a-kind items. Yates said she was successful because she realized she couldn’t do it all and brought in individuals who would supplement the skills she had.
“Do what you know, and find others to do what you don’t know,” Yates said. “You can’t know and be the best at everything, so use all of your own gifts and talents, and surround yourself with people who use theirs.”
Today, the company is producing 250,000 to 300,000 pins a year, and Yates has a workforce of more than 50 employees, many of whom are stay-at-home mothers who enjoy Designs by Lucinda because it allows them to work from home and set their own schedules.
“It’s very rewarding to have a company that is in place to help others,” Yates said. “My employees are those who otherwise might not be able to work, and they do it all to help non-profit organizations.”
The UPS Best “Out-of-the-Box” contest was designed for U.S. small businesses with annual revenues in 2004 of at least $500,000 but not exceeding $10 million. Interested businesses submitted 500-word essays explaining how they are innovative and “out of the box.” The final entries were judged on originality, business implementation, and business results.
Receiving recognition for second place was Colorlab Custom Cosmetics of Rockford, Ill., and third place went to INCHworm Shoes of Boston.
UPS helps small businesses synchronize global commerce through a superior set of package delivery, supply chain, and financial services. Additionally, UPS’s broad portfolio of technology solutions can help small businesses go global, go online, or simply conduct their operations more efficiently. Meanwhile, UPS Capital, the financial services arm of UPS, serves small businesses with a number of innovative products
and services designed to help them accelerate their payments, gain access to crucial working capital, and minimize the risks of international trade.
UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, offering an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of goods, information and funds. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. UPS's stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange (UPS) and the company can be found on the Web at UPS.com.
To read more about the contest and winners, visit www.ups.com/outofthebox.
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