Nine years ago, Corrine Inman was dreaming of owning her own graphic design business, and was determined to go ahead with it, despite having been turned down for financing wherever she tried.
“I only had $300 in my bank account and I saw an office space on Front Street that was 100 square feet and it was $300 a month. So I just paid for my first month and hoped I got enough business to pay for my next month,” said Inman, owner of Morpheus Graphics.
That was a lesson, she explained. Banks and other organizations she talked to told her the business idea wasn’t viable, and that she wouldn’t last a year.
“But I knew if I really put my heart into it and got involved in the community that it was possible. Now it is coming up to nine years on June 1,” said Inman. “Make sure you research everything. If you are really serious about getting into it, anything is possible.”
Starting out, Inman just did graphic design, and contracted out her printing. Now, Morpheus Graphics has grown to 3,000 square feet, and offers a range of design and printing services.
“Very quickly it got busy. I realized I wasn’t able to contract all my printing out, so I got on-site printers and it just kind of snowballed from there,” she said. “Basically, we design anything to market and promote a business.”
That includes, she said, everything from posters, business cards, and signs to promotional items like key chains, pens and mugs.
Inman and Morpheus Graphics were getting peer recognition right from the beginning, starting with being named Young Entrepreneur of the Year and New Business of the Year for 2005, and Okanagan College’s Young Alumni of the Year in 2007.
With the growing business, Inman said there is a lot more to do, but she still tries to focus on the creative design side of the business.
You can hear the excitement in Inman’s voice when she talks about some of her favourite projects, like creating a wrap for the Vees bus, or an upcoming project to create a wrap for the entrance to the Penticton IGA.
“We are just working on a new project with Colin (Powell), that we are going to wrap the front entrance of the Penticton IGA to try and be creative and catch people’s attention when they come in the store,” she said. “We are going to do some three-dimensional floor decals going through his shop to make it appear like you are about to fall through the floor or go down to a second level.”
From the beginning, community involvement has been key to Inman’s success, and that focus recently led her to start a new project that will aid community groups and non-profit organizations.
“I always try to get involved in the community as much as possible. Through myself, through Morpheus and now through my new business,” she said.
“I deal a lot with non-profits and charities and a lot of them are getting their funding cut back. They are needing ways to generate funding. So I started out the South Okanagan Shop and Save.”
She’s hoping to help charities generate some new money by refreshing an old idea.
“Remember the old entertainment coupon book? The South Okanagan was always kind of left out of it. There wasn’t much for our area in it,” she said. “This year, we will have over $1,600 in savings in the book from Summerland to Osoyoos.”
Shop and Save launches in May, and will sell for $20 a copy. But the charities and non-profits that are already on board can buy the guide for $2, giving them $18 profit from every book they sell. Inman said the books will be available from participating businesses as well.
“We ask they give a minimum of 50 per cent to a local charity or nonprofit of their choice,” she said.
Being involved in the business community is also important to Inman, who said she works hard to create cross-promotion opportunities with other businesses, some of which she has been working with for years.
“A lot of my clients have been with me from the beginning,” she said, adding that they range from small local businesses to national companies.
“Penticton Toyota has also been with me since the very beginning. It is nice dealing with some of the bigger companies as well as the smaller companies, because the bigger companies could be going to the big printers or getting stuff done through the head office.”
Penticton Top 40 under 40 is presented by the Prospera Credit Union and White Kennedy LLP Chartered Accountants in partnership with the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, JCI Penticton with support from Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen. Nominations should be sent to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Top 40 Nomination.’ Please include nominees contact info and a brief reason for nomination.