Metro-East News

Independent advertiser using placemats to promote small businesses

Kimberly Brown
Kimberly Brown

After years of working for others, Kimberly Brown has gone into business for herself. The newly independent (and newly wed) advertiser seeks out small locally-owned businesses to promote.

She has started by providing advertisements on placemats at local restaurants. She recently sat down to talk with business writer Will Buss about her career move:

Q: When did you start this business?

A: “We just started it at the beginning of this month. I decided to open it because a lot of advertisement companies do not hold up their end of the bargain with fulfilling the advertisement side of it. I’ve worked for a lot of advertisement companies and have been disappointed with the results. So I decided to do something. I want to promote small business within their own communities.”

Q: How will you do that with placemats?

A: “What I want to do is I want to have local restaurants, family-owned restaurants, not chains, put them on their tables or use them on their trays and to be able to sell local small businesses the advertisements on those placemats and for them to be viewed at those restaurants.”

Q: How long have you worked in advertising?

A: “Thirty years.”

Q: How long have you been running your own ad company?

A: “For two weeks.”

Q: Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?

A: “Well, I’ve always made other people money, but I wasn’t able to make relationships with other people and other businesses and that type of thing. It was always at the back end. So I’m just really excited to meet people within the communities and create relationships and do my end of the bargain.”

Q: When did you get your start in advertising?

A: “I started selling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when I was 14 years old and made more money than my father did at the steel mill (Laclede Steel in Alton). I have just stayed with sales and have always been successful.”

Q: Will all of your work be by way of placemat advertising?

A: “Eventually, I’d like to do some community guides and other things. But for now, my focus is the placemats.”

Q: Can you share what clients you have signed with?

A: “Absolutely. Imo’s Pizza, I have an appointment with them (Thursday) in Granite City to put the placemats for the first quarter in Imo’s. I have talked with some local owners that are interested in purchasing. I am going to go out into the community and actually meet people, shake their hands and put a face to their names. In Belleville, we’re going to put it in at Hick’s Barbecue. We’re really excited about that. I’m starting to sell advertisements, but we’re only going to put it into small businesses. That is what I am looking for.”

Q: Why only small business?

A: “I think small business is very important to communities. When a small business grows, the community grows. And I know how hard it is to create a small business, all of the work that goes behind it, and appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes for a small business.”

Q: Is your clientele limited to restaurants?

A: “For now. We want to do, like I’ve said, community guides and different types of advertising on pens and shirts, things like that. But for now, I want to focus on one thing and get that right and move forward from there.”

Q: What goals have you set for yourself and your business?

A: “In the next year I want to have an office that people can actually come in and meet me, rather than from my home because I am obviously doing it from my home right now. And eventually, I’d like it to be in every state in every city in the United States. That’s my goal.”

Q: Where else have you worked?

A: “I worked at Prestige Management and another company selling lists to stock brokers and insurance agents. I also worked at Bridgeway Portrait Design in Maryville, a very, very nice portrait design company that still exists. I was in marketing there, and I’ve done some mortgage stuff and home improvement things, stuff like that.”

Q: What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?

A: “I think change. That might sound a little weird, but I love the change and being able to roll with the punches, and I love solving problems. I’m a great problem solver. So as things arise, I love to figure things out and make them work.”

Name: Kimberly Brown

Job: Owner, Together We Flourish Advertising (618-802-6293)

Outlook: “We are a small company promoting small companies, and we know how hard it is to have a small company and continue to flourish with that company. And we want to be part of their growth. We want to be able to be part of the solution.”