Women in Printing -- Female Perspectives
Banks were not eager to lend money to two women in their 20s, so Spalding, now company president, and Eberle, now vice president, had to come up with other ways to finance the purchase—including borrowing money from family members for working capital, depleting savings accounts, taking second mortgages on their homes and received financing from the original owners of the business, who saw potential in these two young women.
"As partners, we paid off our debt in seven years—three years earlier than expected," Spalding proudly remarks. "In fact, the banks that once wouldn't take us seriously are now pursuing us."
From the beginning, being young and female affected Spalding and Eberle's ability to utilize conventional financing, they note. Had it not been for the faith the previous owners had in their ability to turn the business around, they admit Allegra Print & Imaging-East probably wouldn't be in business.
Solid financials with a high profit margin and the company's ability to pay cash for equipment has positioned them to take advantage of new technology, purchase land and build their own facility.
Allegra Print & Imaging has been successful, and Eberle and Spalding see more women following in their paths.
"There seems to be a growing trend of more women coming into the printing industry," Spalding says. "Printing is no longer just putting ink on paper. What once used to be an intense physical job has now evolved into a highly automated process, leaving more room for creative, marketing savvy and visually oriented career women and men."
Many women are working mothers and/or single mothers, who have to balance work and family. This is true for Spalding and Eberle, who both have young children and husbands that are not involved in the business. They have managed to maintain a delicate balance between work and family by keeping the lines of communication open with each other and their staff, making it a priority to offer flexible work schedules to all staff, including their eight female employees.