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From Garage Embroidery to a Thriving Graphics Business

In 2011, Janet Smaltz began to operate her small business, armed with a dream and a passion for independence, she started her business right from her own garage. Little did she know that this humble beginning would lead her to acquire Inkt Graphics in 2014 which would then later turn into AJ Graphics.

Transitioning from Human Resources to Embroidery

Janet’s venture commenced with a single focus: embroidery. She had previously worked as a human resources manager for the local newspaper where she also handled bookkeeping duties. However, Janet had always harbored the desire to work for herself, and after dedicating 24 years to the newspaper industry, she knew it was time for a change.

Her path into the world of graphics and embroidery began when she worked for an embroidery company located outside of town. That company was eventually bought out. Undaunted, Janet decided to take the leap and set up her own embroidery business in her garage. She built a loyal clientele, with customers often dropping by to see her work or placing orders.

The Birth of AJ Graphics

Janet’s business flourished and an opportunity arose when the previous owner of Inkt Graphics decided to retire. She seized the moment and purchased the business, eventually relocating to a more spacious Main Street location due to the growing equipment demands of her expanding venture.

Transitioning from a garage-based operation to a full-fledged business was an exciting step for Janet. She believed in her customers and their continued support, which fueled her confidence. Over the years, her business evolved to include screen printing, adding to the wide array of services she offered.

Janet’s Business Success

When asked about entrepreneurship in her family, Janet’s motivation was clear: “I just wanted something where I could get up out of bed and be happy to go to work.” Her love for her work and the satisfaction of owning her own business were her driving forces.

Throughout the past 11 years, what Janet cherished most about her business were her customers. Their loyalty and the opportunity to continuously take on new challenges in the industry brought her immense joy. She highlighted her expansion into vehicle wrapping, particularly working with local police and ambulance services, as a rewarding aspect of her business.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Janet emphasized the importance of discipline and determination. She stressed the need to pursue one’s goals relentlessly and maintain a strong work ethic, especially in a business like hers, where she offers marketing and branding services.

In addition to her well-known services like embroidery, screen printing, and logo design, Janet revealed a range of lesser-known offerings. AJ Graphics also specializes in canvas prints, embroidery decals, and personalized gifts, making it a one-stop destination for creative and branding needs. Janet underscored the collaborative spirit of her team and their ability to bring customers’ visions to life. She mentioned Miguel, a skilled designer on her team, who works closely with clients to refine their ideas into unique and eye-catching designs.

Visions for AJ Graphics

As for the future of AJ Graphics, Janet’s primary goals are to continue serving her customers efficiently and maintaining reasonable pricing in the face of rising costs. She hopes to see her business grow, expanding its clientele and further establishing itself as a trusted provider of branding and design services.

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