Abstract Displays owner Carla Eng says customer service, her personal sales experience and reinvestment are the keys to the success of her award-winning display marketing company. And this year she has the national and state kudos to prove the company motto: “We Do Whatever it Takes.”
“I would say our customer service is behind our success. Our client retention is around 90 percent, so obviously we’re doing something right. We give creative and cost-effective solutions to our clients. And I would also say reinvesting profits back into the company,” said Eng, who started Abstract Displays in her basement in 2000.
With its 3600 sq ft. exhibit showroom Abstract Displays, Inc., in Blue Ash, now employs nearly two dozen people in sales, logistics, purchasing, design and accounting. Eng has a 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse and employs several warehouse personnel.
The company works with a host of clients, helping them present their best sales face to the potential customers with professional exhibits at marketing and sales events. The detailed exhibits can include banner stands, table drapes, literature stands, plants and floral and hanging banners and more.
Before starting the company, Eng was an exhibit manager for a software company. The experience helps her understand her customer’s needs today.
“I feel the client’s pain, most of them multitasking and these trade shows take a lot of time. A lot of people are thrown into it, and I make it as easy as I can for them because I know they are multitasking,” Eng said.
In the past year, Abstract Displays racked up several high profile awards. Eng was named the Ohio Small Business Person of the Year for 2009 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The company was also named the Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in Ohio and Top 100 Diversity-Owned Businesses in Ohio for 2009, by DiversityBusiness.com. Abstract Displays was awarded the U.S. Chamber Great Lakes Region Small Business of the Year for 2009. It was also named the Business Courier ’s “Fast 55” and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s “Emerging 30” in 2008.
Eng’s company has diversified its client base and offerings over the years, allowing Abstract Displays to remain strong during the economic downturn.
“I do everything, whether a client needs a banner stand to clients who need two-story exhibits,” she said.
Abstract Displays clients are in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, education and health care, among others.
“It’s not just a one market. When the economy is down in one, something else is thriving,” she said.
That strategy has paid off.
“We have not laid anyone, and I do everything I can do avoid it. I refuse to participate in the recession,” Eng said, with a laugh. “But truly, we have hit enough markets. I don’t build anything, I am a distributor, so I can create a variety of options for a client. I can help them downsize of increase their marketing and exposure,” she said.
The company’s philosophy is to offer individualized, memorable displays that can be tweaked to the client’s tastes and needs. Work starts with the display concept, to the build-out to the floor show room and back.
“We won't ever sell you a solution that’s right out of the box. With our amazing inventory, we can mix and match hundreds of display components to design and build a display like no other,” the company’s web site proclaims. “Whether fun and cool, or serious and sophisticated, Abstract Displays offers superior quality event displays that match the occasion, the event theme, the industry or your brand personality.