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Meet Susan Thompson of Casa Del Mar and Del Mar Embroidery in Sorrento Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Thompson.

Susan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was involved in the Marketing and Merchandising for a skiwear company back East, CB Sports, for 7 years. CB Vaughan and I had a professional and personal relationship with Dennis Conner (America’s Cup fame) and after a few conversations about expanding my professional career, I decided to move from the East coast to San Diego to assist Dennis with Marketing and Licensing for Stars & Stripes and Team Dennis Conner in the America’s Cup. Working with multiple vendors to acquire crew gear and also to license the Stars & Stripes name for our sponsors and merchandise tents, I realized an opportunity to be able to more tightly control the supply chain for Dennis and the team. A friend from the ski business, Chet Thompson, was also looking for a new opportunity, after having sold his company, Hot Chillys, so we collaborated on the business investment and bought a 12-head embroidery machine. A year into that venture, we expanded by purchasing 3 more 12 head machines and also adding promotional products, to our offering. We are now a full service, boutique style Promotional Products Company, that offers everything from pens and mugs, to apparel and signage for trade shows and events. We also coordinate numerous special product launches and fulfillment for major companies across the US and Internationally.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Yes, for the most part, it has been a smooth road. There are always day to day challenges that every business owner faces when starting your own business. There was a difficult time in 2009 when the construction industry was suffering and that also affected our business a little, but all in all we weathered that storm and came out stronger in the end. Trying to grow a company in a somewhat difficult economy can sometimes be challenging, But, we feel very fortunate, to have a great group of dedicated employees that are team players and always striving to put out a great product, on time, with excellent quality.

This year’s struggle was the hurricane, Irma, that greatly affected numerous clients of ours in the Caribbean. Many hotels were destroyed and will not be rebuilt until middle to late 2018.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Casa Del Mar and Del Mar Embroidery – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a boutique style company-small enough to be able to provide excellent customer service. If a client needs something done quickly, at the last minute, we are willing and usually able to react accordingly. We can walk to the warehouse and production facility and make a change to an order, or get something produced on a dime, if needed. We certainly don’t want to advertise that, but our clients would agree that our customer service is exceptional and our quality is excellent. Having our own production facility allows us the ability to react quickly, maintain competitive margins and keep the quality of our products ‘top notch’. We can easily walk the production floor to check how something is sewing, and how the packaging is done, instead of relying on a third party to ensure our same standards. Our ‘hands on’ approach makes it easier to control any issues that might arise.

Also, we have the largest showroom of its kind in the San Diego region. We have invested a lot of money in samples and are always happy to welcome our clients to the showroom to review the new styles and promotional items for the season. There is nothing like being able to touch and feel products. It helps alleviate the possibility of disappointment. We have so much at our fingertips it really helps make the selling easier. Our clients are always amazed when they step into the showroom for the first time.

We also package our products, which makes a nice presentation for the end user. So often our competition doesn’t take the time, or want to pay the extra money, to individually fold and bag the products. When you get to a trade show and you have numerous boxes delivered, you will find our boxes of products that are individually folded and bagged, with a size sticker on each item. We also list the contents on the side of each box, making it much easier to sort out for the end user. We feel this presentation is another step to ensure the quality and presentation and therefore, the entire experience for the buyers and end users. These small steps make a big difference to experienced buyers.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
No big plans for the future. We just plan to continue to grow our business at a pace we can easily finance, so that we can continue to provide quality products, at a fair price. We plan to continue to reward our dedicated employees and have them share in the success of the company.

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