www.wealthandfinance-intl.com 13 Apollo USA is an advertising specialty & promotional product supplier specialising in customised embroidery products. Our customers are primarily distributors who in turn work with American corporations. I founded Apollo with my brother in 1996, and have been running the company as its president ever since. Before that, I had graduated from the University of Washington with a busi- ness degree concentrating in accounting and passed CPA certification upon graduation. My aspi- ration and intention was always to become an entrepreneur, and the CPA background helped me tremendously as a business owner to wisely plan the company’s financials. WW160030 Company: Apollo USA Name: Dora Ngan Zhang Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.apolloemb.com Address: 1650 W Artesia Blvd, Gardena, Ca 90248 Telephone: +1 800 982 2146 or +1 310 217 2700 embroidery services towards building the soft goods brands of AMC and Simplicity. When I source our new products each season, I keep in mind the feel of the materials, the quality of the stitching, current retail trends, and giftable packaging. This bridges the gap between a corporate giveaway product and a desirable gift that anyone would be happy to receive. Apollo’s product lines now feature scarves set in gift boxes and plush blankets tied with ribbons and bows. Our new branding efforts have elevated our company beyond simple embroidery services and our revenue tripled from where it had plateaued. I have never considered being a female business owner as a disadvantage. I am a strong believer that a woman can do things just as well as a man, or perhaps even better when it comes to the embroidery industry. We work just as hard as men, multi-task well, and women are often better in picking thread colours and design details which is so important in my business. At Apollo, the majority of the management and sales teams are staffed by women, including many who are single moms. I was a single mom with two children, aged one and two years old, when I started Apollo, and I hope that I have been a positive influence to the other women that I work with. I empower each salesperson and encourage them to think of themselves as entrepreneurs; they hire their own assistant upon reaching certain sales quotas and additional ones at higher numbers. Believe it or not, bulk embroidery can be a fun business as many of our orders are tied to daily life and culture. Our employees will stay up late watching a NBA or NFL game to know which team will get their logo on items as the new champs. We make and embroider a lot of the textile merchandise for new movies and video games. While visiting different stores, I always enjoy noticing a corporate logo we’ve beautifully sewn on a jacket or a cap. Because the sales team also loves the job, they’re naturally able to interact well with our customers and our customers love us for it. We constantly educate and remind employees that the customer is king and many of them take it to heart by going the extra mile, working overtime and on weekends to meet the needs of customers with rush orders. As the advertising landscape keeps changing, many corporations are moving their budgets away from promotional product giveaways in favour of online campaigns through search engines and social media. Minimum wages are also on the rise. Many smaller contract embroidery shops have been unable to adapt and are closing. However at Apollo, we have a solid and strong foundation with over 2000 customers across the country, so we don’t depend on a few customers to dictate our business. Over the past 20 years, even during the economic recession from 2008-2011, we’ve stayed strong, growing from our initial two employees to over 200 countrywide. I attribute the success of Apollo to managing it as if it were corporation- scaled but with a family’s warmth. I treat my employees like family, but expect them to live up to high corporate standards. Our employees are a wide mix of ethnicities and nationalities - we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo and Chinese New Year together. I involve them in developing new product lines and refine existing ones. I have an open-door policy, always inviting employees’ input and discussion. Despite the demanding work, many of our employees have stayed with the company 10 to 20 years. Because of our team, I still envision a bright future for Apollo. It all goes back to loving what we do and feeling invested in it as a family. This attitude reflects in how we deal with clients, and allows us to be great at what we do.