Under 40: Michelle Collier, Flamingo Label
Michelle Collier, 37
Flamingo Label, Clinton Township, Mich.
Printing has been a constant in Michelle Collier’s life. Ever since her stepfather, Brian Klauss, founded Flamingo Label in 1988, Collier always has had a role in the company—from sweeping floors to boxing and packaging finished labels. That didn’t stop during her time at Michigan State University. After completing her studies in merchandising management, Collier accepted a full-time position with the company and never looked back. Collier took over as CEO in 2012, and under her leadership, Flamingo Label has grown, added new digital printing technology and updated its website/customer portal.
Why she loves the industry: I love the entire process—from the start of an order, through the design, then seeing it in production. I always feel so proud of our team when I see our labels on products in stores. I enjoy working with the customers and seeing what new opportunities we can help them with. I also enjoy the fact that each print job is unique and different. Each has its own set of challenges, and something can be learned from each job.
Age roadblocks and advantages: Some of the challenges over the years have been proving myself to some of our long-term employees. ... Over the years, I feel I have earned everyone’s trust and respect by making sound decisions, working hard and showing everyone I am willing to make sacrifices for the company. One advantage of being part of a younger generation of leadership is our relationship to technology. We have more knowledge and a better understanding of the digital world than the previous generation. This has helped us embrace some of the industry trends, like digital printing and a strong web presence.
Her biggest career influence: Brian Klauss, who founded the company in 1988, has been the most influential. He really taught me what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He has not only passed on to me his printing knowledge, but also his work ethic and determination. I still like to pick his brain for his thoughts and opinions.
Her most meaningful business accomplishment: My most meaningful accomplishment would have to be the transition to owner. Times haven’t always been rosy, but being able to learn and grow from the experience was amazing. Another meaningful accomplishment is working side by side with my husband, Matt Collier. It’s not always easy working with your spouse or family, but it works for us, and I am really proud of that.
Her differentiating factor: I think what we do best is the high level of personal service we provide to our customers. We create strong relationships with our customers. We get to know them, and they get to know us. They like working with us because we try to make it as easy as possible for them. We know today’s distributors are busy. So, if our customer needs to call in an order from the road, we’ll do the extra research to fill in the blanks and get the order going.
What she does for fun: I like to spend time with my two children, Matthew (5) and Emma (2), and my husband. I am also an avid runner; I have participated in full and half marathons. I love to read and, when time allows, I enjoy traveling.
(The following profile appeared in Print+Promo’s “Rise Up” cover story in the February 2017 issue.)