When American History major Matt Quinn started his own business in 1994, he turned his love for all-things-American into a direct marketing company for wholesale, non-customized, country, state, military, and historical flags which he named “Quinn Flags.” He rented a mailing list of 5000 military and veteran organizations, got a little help developing a website—which was cutting edge in the industry at the time—and off he went.
Business was going just fine until the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, which pushed Matt to a capacity he hadn’t experienced before. For a wholesale flag company just 30 miles from the World Trade Center, the aftermath of 9/11 was a personally emotional and professionally pressing time. Matt grappled with the loss of his best friend, who had worked on the 105th floor of one of the towers, while at the same time the demand for American Flags increased beyond supply.
It was a time where people needed a flag or anything red, white and blue to bring them together with the symbol of American unity. Matt worked 20-hour days, shipped more than a million flags, and would give away flags any time he encountered someone who had lost a friend or family member in the attack.
The time around 9/11 was out of the ordinary, and it took an extraordinary company that truly believes in serving its customers to rise to the challenge.
Listening Changed the Company’s Whole Direction
Excellent customer service through listening to his customers has always been the core of Quinn’s business. As the company grew, customers increasingly asked for custom printed flags, then displays, signage, and more. At each demand, Quinn found a way to get the customer exactly what they wanted. Soon enough, the bulk of his business came from promotional orders and custom printing on fabric.
In 2004, Quinn began manufacturing in-house, grew its staff of 14 to more than 50 people practically overnight, and hired senior industry experts to give direction to help the company reach its goals faster.
The company officially shifted its focus from flags to full-color fabric printing, and eventually even dropped “Flags” from the name to simply be “Quinn.”
Now, in 2019, Quinn is celebrating 25 years of business and is one of the largest digital printers in the promotional industry. They have three facilities in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The most recent addition is a 30,000 square-foot building to accommodate the increased volume of orders, new printing equipment, and additional team members in producing and housing over 6,000 products in over 60 categories. It’s a company that is focused on meeting the needs of its customers and has a proven record of tirelessly working to do so, consistently earning the highest ratings of any Flag and Banner supplier on SAGE, with # 1 Rating in Flags, Pennants, and Decorations among stiff competition.
Full-Color Fabric Printing Made Easy
Looking back over the last quarter-century, it is clear that Quinn’s key to success has been listening to distributors and learning from their challenges. One challenge was that their customers were beginning to have needs beyond one color spot printing. They wanted full-color graphics —the kind that come vibrantly and economically with state-of-the-art digital printing on new stretch fabrics.
So his team studied the market and realized that full-color printing on fabric with other suppliers often meant lots of intricate quoting, add-ons, set-up charges,and run charges for each color. He heard from his customers that they actually cringed at selling things like custom signs and exhibits because it was so difficult. So team Quinn saw the opportunity to simplify it and ratings soared. In 1 year, Quinn went from being rated 8th to 2nd in the industry in Signs and Displays! “#1 is at our fingertips in this category,” says Quinn.
With Quinn, printing one color or full color became the same price. He was a pioneer in eliminating set-up charges. He grouped like products with different options and sold them at the same price, so it was easy to quote and convey to the end buyer. Quinn explains,“Once we explained its simplicity and ease of selling, it helped us grow exponentially, winning the trust and repeat business of our valued clients to help us become one of the Top Growing Companies in the industry 4 years in a row.”
USA Made Quick-Ship Products
In a product category where most suppliers have their products manufactured overseas, Matt is proud that his Pennsylvania factory can print, sew, and manufacture most of its core products right here in the USA, which provides peace of mind and quicker turnaround. In fact, most best sellers are available with 24 to 48 hour turnaround. But sometimes distributors need much more than a quick turn.
Going Beyond Custom Printing into Full Service Packaging and Custom Products
In 2015, Matt received a substantial request from a distributor representing the San Francisco 49ers. Not only did they want 25,025 quantity of 3’ x 5’, double-sided 49ers flags with the highest quality fabric and ink, they also wanted them to be folded and placed in special wooden boxes, engraved with the 49ers logo, a leather insert and specific handle. These flags were to be gifts for each of the all-season ticket holders on opening day, and they needed the gift to fit the esteem of the occasion. To top it off, the timeframe to complete the order was tight. Matt leveraged his close relationships with other businesses to get the boxes, had his team produce, fold, and assemble each box, shipped them in containers across the country, and unloaded all 25k by hand.
Orders like this proved that Quinn and his team were capable of handling some of the most demanding promotional orders. The production team was poised for special orders and custom work. So when requests for completely custom products came along – from stretch door covers to custom arm bands to stadium-size banners – the team was ready to custom manufacture anything needed. And some of them eventually became new additions to the line.
New Products, Same High-Quality Printing
Throughout 2018 and into 2019, Quinn expanded its product offering in seven categories, with 114 new products. As Matt would put it, the “meat and potatoes” of the company is outdoor promotional products like outdoor flags, portable half drop banner kits, and tents. But the products receiving the biggest buzz at early season trade shows are from two categories: technology-based solutions to enhance modern displays and products that deliver convenience. Exhibits that light up called Illuminators. A trunk that transforms into a storage display table. Wrinkle-free tech-inspired stretch table covers. Pop-up table stands that assemble in less than 10 seconds. Lightweight reception stands that hold today’s tablets. Of course, all enhanced with full-color digital printing. Great innovations, yes. But the most extraordinary feature of the Quinn line is the superior service that surrounds the ordering experience.
In addition to springboarding product innovation, Quinn has invested in strengthening his team with seasoned veterans who understand how to consistently deliver customer service excellence.
Service has always been top notch with a long list of awards starting with an A+ customer care rating from SAGE. The customer service team is trained and experienced at jumping through hoops to make the ordering and printing process easier than any of its competitors. But now, Matt aims to go even further by focusing on helping distributors become superheroes for their clients. “If we make the distributor the hero, then together we can win the business over and over again,” Quinn explained proudly. The company’s latest marketing campaign featuring an animated Super Quinn illustrates this commitment.
”It’s about helping them save the day with one outstanding promotional product at a time.”
So what’s in store for Quinn and its customers for the next 25 years? “Just you wait and see,” nods Matt Quinn, with a twinkle in his eye. “You can be sure it will be designed for the distributor, around the needs of the market, making everyone look like the heroes they are. It’s #QuinnForTheWin!”