Ten years ago this month, Dave Lapham and his business partner walked into their new office: a plain 10X10 room that held nothing but a couple of desks. They took a quick look around, sat down, and got to work. Exact Image was born.
One decade and two locations later, Exact Image is a bustling, loud, happy, and busy place: 6,000 square feet of office space and shop, with needles whizzing in the embroidery machines and shirts twirling on the print press.
The Exact Image Timeline
2006: Dave and his business partner opened their doors as a small brokerage firm in the promotional product world.
2008: We hired our first full-time employee, Pete Aklestad, as a sales rep. Pete is still with the company today as senior account executive.
2009: We hired a graphic designer and began helping businesses with logos and other designs.
2010: We set up our in-house screen-printing shop and started doling out branded t-shirts and other apparel with the help of even more new hires.
2013: We set up our in-house embroidery shop, complete with commercial embroidery machines and our extremely experienced and hard-working Sherri Repinski as embroidery director.
2016: We launched a new software solution that helps clients build their products and work with our team, giving us the ability to increase the quality, accuracy, and efficiency of our products and system even more.
Measuring Our Success
It is easy to look at the books and measure our financial success over the years–we are doing more business every year, taking on more jobs, and connecting with more clients. However, we like to measure our successes in other ways, too:
- Our team has gotten bigger. What started as two partners is now a business that employs ten people in town, not to mention one malamute who works for treats.
- Our skills have grown. With each passing year, we have added new equipment, new skills, and new services to our offerings. Each time we add a new product, service, or skill, we add the ability to help our clients and to help new clients.
- Our home has grown. We’ve come a long way from our original two-desk office. Now we have ample room to do all of the things we love to do, including a 3,000-square-foot production shop.
- Our ties to the community have gotten stronger. Giving back to the community is one of our biggest priorities and one of our markers for success. Over the last ten years, we have given over $150,000 to dozens of local organizations and causes, and we hope only to increase our efforts in the future.
“I’m proud of the team that we’ve put together over the years,” says Lapham. “I’m most proud of the team’s accomplishments and their ability to unify and solve problems–to work together to achieve the goals of the company and their personal goals. We are not one of those places that just focuses on increasing profit and increasing sales.”
In the next ten years, Lapham hopes to see the growth continue.
“In the future, I’m looking forward to exploring outlying markets,” Lapham says. “I’m also looking forward to growing more internal production processes. To outsource less and do even more in-house.”
In the moment, though, he is happy at where the company stands today.
“I think we have, bar none, the best screen-printing and embroidery departments in Montana,” he says. “Everyone is customer-centric. The main goal for the team when we walk in the door is finding out how can we exceed our customer’s expectations. It’s not just processing a job and checking it off the board. It’s delivering the product and seeing how enthusiastic our clients are when they see the final result.”
Request A Free Quote With Exact Image
Find out how we can help you with your next branding, logo, or promotional product project. We want to help you make it perfect, from planning to execution. Call us today at (406) 549-3575 to talk to our team today.