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Best Friends and Business Partners Put e200 Skills to Work
Lori Oswald-Kosmas and Toni Hyde were drawn to entrepreneurship from different places. Lori didn’t like the desk-bound nature of her former corporate job and decided she wanted a change; Toni entered the industry after her father’s terminal illness forced her to leave college and return home to work and care for him. Toni’s father was an entrepreneur and instilled that drive in Toni before passing away.
Following their natural inclinations and recognizing they each had a flair for sales, in 2004 Lori and Toni teamed up to start Beyond Uniforms & Apparel in Hillsboro, Oregon. With over 30 years of combined marketing industry experience, this duo had strong ideas about how to start their company. Eight years later, Toni and Lori continue to work together selling uniforms, flame resistant clothing, safety clothing, promotional marketing products and corporate apparel to customers all over the United States. Impressively, their revenue doubled in 2011, and they now proudly employ seven people.
In combination with offering the highest quality products, Toni and Lori believe what sets them apart is the customized services and marketing expertise they provide to their clients. They are motivated by their customers, creatively addressing their needs and nurturing the relationships they’ve built over the years. It is largely through past client referrals that Beyond Uniforms & Apparel has measured consistent growth.
Beyond Uniforms & Apparel represents a fusion of the owners’ unique styles, creative minds, and business vision. Recently, Lori and Toni have learned to reevaluate their business approach with the help of SBA’s Emerging 200 Initiative (e200), a seven-month commitment to intensive business management learning. As graduates of the 2011 e200 cohort, Toni and Lori commented that, ‘from day one starting their business they’ve been working in it, and never on it.’ Now they have adopted a whole new methodology, ‘spending a couple days a month working on their business.’
“After completing the e200 program this last year, we became more aware of all the assistance out there for small businesses. The SBA office alone has numerous resources such as books, online modules, and classes; all available for free to small businesses,” Lori shared.
Beyond Uniforms & Apparel provides a range of services including silk-screening, embroidery, heat-sealing, and imprinting, to schools, medical, public safety, construction, restaurants, corporations, and casinos. With the diversity of products offered and the mix of clientele, Toni and Lori believe that their product offerings are endless.