Q and A with: Print Savvy owner Lisa Landry
As founder and owner of the Manchester printing brokerage, Lisa Landry says Print Savvy is an extension of a client’s own desktop.Augmenting the company’s services, Landry has created a sister entity, Savvy Workshop, which offers marketing communications and promotions and graphics design.Landry’s unflappable optimism shines through the company’s central tenet, “We can do it!,” borrowed from the company’s unofficial mascot, Rosie the Riveter.Print Savvy is often named as one of New Hampshire’s best places to work. She offers her six employees full benefits as well as other incentives, including Pilates classes right in the Commercial Street office.Q. Print Savvy’s growth as a company somewhat reflects changes in the printing industry as well as your own evolution as a business owner.A. I went to school for graphic arts. I was doing everything from developing film in trays to learning how to run a press to desktop publishing.I became really interested in the printing side and became an account executive for Lighthouse Press. They decided to make the company a commercial printer. I helped sell for that equipment.A few years later, I was offered a position at Eastern Rainbow, formerly of Derry. I learned more about color separation. They also had a sheet-fed press, and I helped them grow their print proofing work. There, I started selling printing services all over New England.As the industry changed, I had to keep reinventing myself and what I was doing.I then started working for Souhegan Color (formerly of Nashua). They did printing brokering – I would find the best printing firm for a client’s job.In 1997, I had grown a really nice client base, but I was also pregnant with my first son. I just couldn’t work 70, 80 hours a week anymore. It wasn’t fair to my son.It was that family decision that really encouraged me to start Print Savvy in 1998. I wanted to do more consultative sales and high-level marketing, branding. Just like I do with bringing in the right press, I can bring in the right marketing team.When I left to start Print Savvy, a lot of clients followed me. I was very blessed as an entrepreneur to have sales right away.I also knew I’d still be working 80 hours a week if I didn’t have some help, so I hired people within a few weeks of starting.We have six employees right now. One more is working part-time.No one printer can service my clients. No one printer can do everything my clients need. I do media kits, dye-cutting, trade-show graphics, all the little tchotchkes.Q. Where does “Rosie the Riveter” fit in to all of this?A. I was always a troubleshooter – what’s the best way to do a client’s job – and I developed a reputation for never giving up. “We can do it” has really become a motto for us.Q. The average consumer might not realize how green the printing industry has become.A. Most of our vendors are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council). They use soy-based inks and recover and recycle materials. Most have put in energy efficiencies, such as lighting. Most are encouraging printing on recycled stock.And the technology itself, especially with the advent of digital printing, has led to so much less wasted paper.Q. What are some of the benefits and wellness programs you offer your staff?A. In the past, we had a Tai Chi instructor coming in. A couple of employees I had at the time continued with her outside of the office. We do Pilates now, and we’re opening it up to the outside now. I would like to do more things like that.We encourage people to take walks at lunchtime as part of the Start Worksite Wellness Walking program of the American Heart Association.It’s so important for employers to encourage healthy lifestyles.If an employee goes for a walk, they’re going to come back refreshed and in a better mindset and be more productive.Not only that, but my health insurance is impacted in that I have a healthier workforce.I also try to keep our work lives sane. We definitely have weeks when we’re all pushing hard, but there are not a lot of 80-hour weeks. I hope that all of my employees feel they have that balance of work and family. You can’t separate your employees from their lives because it just won’t work. They need to be comfortable here — I need to be comfortable here.Q. How would you like to see the rising cost of health care mitigated for small companies like Print Savvy?A. I think we need health-care reform. I think the bill we got was not the one we need. I do compliment them for trying to tackle it, though.We need to be spending our money on preventive care. I think opening up (the state) to more competition would be a good thing. There are really only a couple of players we can go to for a quote.I think the accountable care organization concept is interesting. If you do keep me safe and keep me healthy, maybe the hospital or the doctor should get some extra money.Another thing would be the opportunity to purchase insurance as a part of an association. I’ve been a member of the New Hampshire Creative Club and a number of others. Any one of these associations could have offered a plan to their members, but there are issues covering people across state lines.There’s also personal responsibility. If you choose not to buy health insurance and you run to the emergency room with every sore throat – I end up paying for your care. Now it’s harder for me to afford my own and for my employees.It is very important for me in terms of leadership for this company that my employees have something, but it’s just crazy. We had coverage from one large insurance company when my son had his first heart operation. They weren’t paying on care from Massachusetts Children’s Hospital. They wanted me to prove that I didn’t have any other form of insurance. Who can afford two forms of insurance? We didn’t renew their contract.When I started Print Savvy in 1998, I was very naïve. I wanted the best benefits because I wanted to attract the best people. I paid a lot for those benefits, but I did get great people.I paid 100 percent of the cost at the start. It hurt me to go to 80 percent funding, then I had to go to 50 percent as these increases came on. I couldn’t weather them all without doing some adjustments.Q. You are very active in the New Hampshire chapter of the American Heart Association.A. Yes. I’m working on this year’s Go Red for Women luncheon supporting women’s cardiac programs, coming up Nov. 3. It is a really warm event, that unity of sisterhood where we do have to look out for each other.Heart disease is the number one killer of women.People need to know the symptoms of heart attack and stroke are different for women than men. Go Red has done a lot to improve that understanding.Cindy Kibbe can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.Learn more about health and wellness issues impacting small employers, as well as experiences of Print Savvy and other New Hampshire businesses with the rising costs of health care at the Health Care Forum, Oct. 6 at Southern New Hampshire University. For more information about the event and to register, click here.