Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Bell.
Steve, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After graduating from a small Christian college in Cincinnati, Ohio – I was a Youth Pastor & Associate Pastor in 2 Christian churches in Arizona before leaving the ministry to move back to Ohio with my wife and two small children to work in my father’s print distributorship. That is where I learned the business of printing, custom forms and promotional items. After working for my father for a-little over 3 years, we decided to move back to Arizona and begin our company from the ground up. April, 1995 – Bell Forms & Supplies began downtown Phoenix within my father in laws commercial building /business – Hyde Electric.
My wife Dodie and I worked together to get the business started. Dodie was very good at the bookkeeping and customer support and I was out knocking on doors trying to find business. Our very first customer who are still clients of ours was Swimming Pool Service & Repair. Our first order in Phoenix was a business card – and 22.5 years later, we are still going strong.
In 2004 – we merged Bell Forms & Supplies with another local print distributor and created a new company – aprisa enterprises which marketed & sold e-commerce solutions to large regional and national companies. That partnership lasted for 8 years at which time Steve & Dodie felt it was time to go back out on our own – partnerships are hard and our – like so many others – did not end well. Our then partner was going through a lengthy divorce which stretched on for years and the company was suffering from an absent owner.
January, 2012 – the Bells re-branded and launched Tag Media + Ink, LLC. For the last nearly 6 years, Tag Media is a full brand fulfillment company focused on e-commerce services & fulfillment, corporate apparel programs & brand management for businesses with 25+ employees who are local, regional or national. With our national affiliate partners – we reduce lead times, assure quality all at a fair price.
Currently Tag Media + Ink, LLC has 8 employees who are dedicated to excellence by knowing our clients by name and anticipating their needs. We are located in the Southeast Valley and can be reached at: 480.355.4588 / www.tagmediaink.com
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road…our industry has and continues to be in a state of flux. Printing has moved from long run offset print jobs – to short gang run digital or offset jobs. The orders and dollars spent are much smaller than they used to be so we have to do more jobs to make the same money.
When we began the business – our vendor partners were “trade only” which meant that they did not sell to the end user. If companies like ours were not selling – they would not get the work. Today, there are very few “trade printers” left. The recession caused a lot of interruption in our marketplace where many small or financially unstable vendor partners either went out of business or merged with bigger production houses.
Many of our competitors have sold or merged their businesses into larger organizations that they outsource administrative functions to so they reduce their overhead and are responsible to continue to bring in business.
The internet has also caused a lot of disruption – the cost of goods today are very transparent and we are shopped for similar product on google. Companies like Walmart, Amazon and Costco now sell many of the same products that we have traditionally sold. The difference is in the customer experience when issues arise. Tag Media continues to survive because of our attention to detail and our customer service.
When a print order goes south with Vista Print – good luck getting the service you would hope for. With volume discounters – it’s clicks and turns – volume based business. Tag Media takes the time to check graphic files and many times will correct customer supplied files due to low resolution, improper crop marks or improper file formats.
We have always grown our business through integrity, honesty and the golden rule – treat others the way we want to be treated. We work for the win/win so no one feels like a looser in the relationship. We desire to build mutually beneficial relationships that stand the test of time. Many clients that Bell Forms started with over 22 years ago, are still clients today – we must be doing something right.
Staff has come and gone but 4 of our team members have been together over 16+ years…we have withstood trauma from loss, broken partnership, and a changing market and continue to service our clients each day with and optimistic focus on the future.
Please tell us about Tag Media & Ink.
Tag Media & Ink, LLC is a brand management company focused on medium companies with 25+ employees who utilize printed marketing collateral or forms, corporate apparel, trade show booths/items, signage, employee or client gifts through our e-commerce platform. We also offer graphic services, website development and brand development.
We are proud of the fact that we are still operating after 22.5 years due to our exceptional service, attention to detail and building relational bridges with our clients for mutual benefit. When people work with Tag for any period of time, they know that we will keep our work, we under promise and over deliver when we can. Tag Media is a company of talented people who are not perfect – but we care about our work and understand that much of what we do for our clients is mission critical for them so we take their needs very serious.
Our team understands that if we can make our client look good and they are their company’s hero that we all win! Price and reputation is what earns us the business – service is what allows us to keep the business. In short, we do what we say we are going to do and when we fall down, we own it and work to make it right with our clients.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken more risk – gone after larger opportunities and relaxed more! Not everything that seems like a crisis today will matter much in a month.
- Address: 75 W. Baseline Road
- Website: www.tagmediaink.com
- Phone: 480.355.4588
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @tagmediaink
- Facebook: @tagmediaink
- Twitter: @tagmediaink