Trayvax relies upon the services of Minuteman Press to meet its Company Mission: To design for longevity, inspire to action, and give from passion; to drive a greater love of the outdoors to humankind.
The makers of the Trayvax Wallets began with the intention to cut down on plastic bag waste and now are the manufacturers of durable, heirloom quality wallets. Minuteman Press franchise owner Michael Tilley has a background in science and identifies with Trayvax, working with their team to provide printing and marketing services that make sense.
Meet Michael Tilley
Though he is humorous and caring, Michael Tilley is also a logic-driven scientist with an unstoppable intention to make sense of things and present solutions. As clients of his Minuteman Press center in Bellingham, WA, have learned, he will identify their needs and use the finest talent and technology the modern printing industry offers today. The people that comprise his staff refer to him as “the newbie” and he is at home with the good humor as the pre-existing franchise he bought in 2014 is home to long-term employees of Minuteman Press, one of whom is celebrating 25 years with the world’s number one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise. “Lauren Kolb is this center’s first employee and she has been with the company for 25 years, but we also have depth of knowledge from other staff members with decades of print and design experience, including Cameron Stewart and Shannon Devine, experts in direct mail and design. Every job we complete is a representation of who we are and we make sure they are the best and if something is not, we fix it.”
Michael’s been fixing things for a long time. He was a teenage entrepreneur that so many people counted upon for lawn care, he built enough loyalty to sell his business to an adult competitor. Then, he headed off to college to earn a B.S. at SEMO, followed by a PhD in Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University.
His dedication and meticulous care to problem-solving extended into his original field of choice as he conducted studies that are published in several respected, peer-reviewed scientific journals including the National Academy of Sciences USA, Neuro Report, Bio Med Central and others. His work included exploration into the reasons why cocaine is addictive and themes including autism, genes, the brain and behavior. He poured his passion and intellect into every project and when he was offered tenure as a Biology Professor at Central Methodist University, he stopped and looked at his professional course and decided to make a big change. “I quit teaching and moved to Bellingham and bought a Minuteman Press franchise. The franchise impressed me. It has all of the mechanisms in place for success. You just have to use them.”
The atmosphere in Michael Tilley’s Minuteman Press location is welcoming, even fun, there is a presiding sense of command which is all too reassuring to those with a brand or message to promote, but little idea how to bring it to life. “Everyone here gets along and we get our work done and I do feel our clients pick up on our comfort level and have often complimented us for it. I suppose we like to give the best service with the highest quality at a reasonable price and people enjoy that.”
He is resigned peacefully to being the boss, saying, “I wanted the chance to set my own schedule and the responsibility that goes along with developing a business. I know if you do a good job, you get the direct benefits and if you don’t, the consequences. I bought an underperforming franchise that provided me with a customer base and experienced staff, so folks here already knew what they were doing. Plus, I have that training and support from the franchisor, so as we get to know people, it is helpful for them to see that I get to make all the decisions on hiring, vendors, equipment and am here for them, personally. The franchisor provides me with branding and proprietary software, but it is my business and it’s helpful to acknowledge that because my community appreciates small business owners.”
On the progression of Michael’s business, Chris Jutt, Pacific Northwest Regional Vice President for the Pacific Northwest Region of Minuteman Press International says, “Michael leads his employees with exceptional fairness and this translates to exceptional quality and service. He has created a work environment that is relaxed in terms of spirit, but focused in terms of productivity. It is no wonder he has grown faster this year than most stores in the region!”
The Trayvax Wallet is designed to withstand the toughest conditions and Minuteman Press in Bellingham makes certain their brand is promoted in print.
“We know that Minuteman Press has been in the industry a long time and really knows their stuff. That makes us extremely comfortable, knowing that he won’t let us down or veer us in the wrong direction. It’s like having my own personal printing consultant (who’s always available).” – Gerald Craft, Marketing and Communications Director at Trayvax
Though founder Mark King assembled the first Trayvax wallet by hand in 2013, today the company builds them using the highest quality materials, assembled by hand in the USA. With several models from which to choose, the exciting new brand needs to keep the public updated about all of the choices available to accommodate travel conditions of all kinds and credit card security concerns.
“Trayvax became a valued client after an employee of another regular client of ours started working for them and referred us. She told me they were using another printing company and were wondering if we could do better on pricing. We accommodated them and now, we are partners in their continued growth. We design and print product insert cards, business cards and have plans to incorporate special products that are exciting and will be revealed soon,” Michael explains with a bit of mystery. “They have time restraints and we keep them well stocked with printed collateral that puts their brand in the best light. They make all of their premium metal wallets with RFID identity theft protection and produce them locally which makes them a delightful partner.”
Gerald Craft, Marketing and Communications Director for Trayvax reflects on his appreciation for Minuteman Press over quick print shops and other vendors: “We’ve worked with numerous vendors that have certainly been cheap, but the quality wasn’t always up to par. We’ve also worked with vendors who can never seem to ‘get it right’ and we end up spending more time trying to explain things or fix mistakes than it is worth. We’ve also worked with vendors who take more than 24 hours to reply.”
The needs of an in-demand company are plenty and Gerald needed a marketing services provider that was an industry leader. He explains further, “We needed to find a balance of good quality, good pricing, quick response and someone who can advise us well. The way I look at it, our vendors are the professionals. They should know the print and design industry better than me, so I would hope to find someone that could also advise us properly and prevent us from making mistakes that they’ve probably already seen in the past. Michael and Minuteman Press fit the bill perfectly.”
Acknowledging that cheap is always a choice, Gerald refused to let his brand look cheap or sacrifice the authenticity unique to the Minuteman Press partnership. He explains, “There were cheaper vendors. Again, we ran into quality issues and responsiveness. We also didn’t have any real connection. Orders were placed online; we never spoke to a human; and we didn’t have anyone to turn to when we needed advice. We realized that we really needed to establish a good relationship with a local vendor. While turn-around and price are important, having a good and trusting relationship is just as important. We know we can turn to Michael for advice. We know that it won’t be more than a couple of hours (if that) before we hear back.”
The future is not only filled with durable, heirloom quality products for their own customers, but it is assured to grow with the personalized service Michael Tilley and his team are providing to Travax. According to Gerald, “The more I work with Michael, the more I enjoy working with Michael. The primary reasons: He knows his stuff and he’s always available. When the need arises for quicker turnaround times, he always accommodates us. He’s always come through for us and will always find a solution. That’s the type of vendor that I like working with. Plus the quality is good and the pricing is fair. He always comes by with samples too. He’s become a fixture here at Trayvax because he comes in so often.”
Promoting a brand is so much more than dollars and cents results as Gerald says, “I love the fact that Michael is a familiar face now. He’s a part of the team. He comes in, we shoot the breeze, he drops off samples, asks how everything is going, offers some great advice and he’s always in a good mood. We don’t have any other vendors that offer the personal touch that Michael offers. I love seeing him in the office and really appreciate the fact that he takes his time to pop in face to face. We’ve developed a good and strong relationship, which is extremely important nowadays. More so than pricing.”
“Minuteman Press and Michael Tilley are our most professional vendor, by far,” he adds. “I’m looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Minuteman Press. Michael Tilley is the real reason for this. I completely trust him. I know he’s reliable and will come through and he’s always available. What more could I ask for really?”