Features Industry Profiles

March 9, 2015 •
Tim Mikkelsen

Tim Mikkelsen, co-owner
Charlotte, North Carolina

1. When and how did you start working in this business?
MikWright started in 1992 in a bedroom in Charlotte, North Carolina. Phyllis and I were perusing old photographs with a cocktail and the insults started flying and my fingers started dictating on an old pica typewriter strategically placed near the champagne bottle. Before long, we had written a handful of cards and showed them around. MikWright grew very organically from shop to shop, rep to rep and show to show. We grew at a sustainable rate and never really outpaced our growth plan. We worked methodically and strategically to never lose control.

2. What is your signature style?
MikWright’s basic style has never changed. We apply a photograph (copy) to recycled/recyclable paper entirely manufactured in the US with earth-friendly products. Our cards are produced using wind energy in Maine. As years have passed, we have moved the photo “era” from '50s to '60s and now '70s and '80s themes.

3. What are your most popular stationery offerings?
MikWright’s cocktail and mommy/female themes sell best. We have a sprinkling of everything else including gay, bodily functions, age insults and more.

4. Please share the direction your line will be taking.
MikWright will continue with the same look and gradually move the humor era from '70s/'80s to '90s. We continue to see strategic licensing opportunities where it makes sense while protecting our mom and pop/boutique strategy of maintaining a “main-street” business.

5. What are your top three tips for success?
1.) Everyone is a customer. Everyone you come into contact with is a customer including employees, retail customers, vendors and end buyers. You cannot have any part of the equation out of whack to be truly successful.
2.) Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Know your niche and work on it. Perfect it and don’t have too many eggs in one basket. Be wary of the “if it sounds too-good to be true” principle.
3.) Know how to run a business. While being creative is fun, exciting and likely the first thing that brought you to the game, know that you need to have your business plan in place. Ninety-five percent of what you will do will ultimately be driven by your business acumen. You must be good to yourself before you can achieve success outside your front door.
4.) Have a life outside of work. Currently my hobbies include movie/film background work, cooking and assisting with my favorite non-profit, TwelveinTwelve.org.

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