94 95 cial event merchandise. In total, they have close to 700 employees, with 80 percent of business taking place in the United States. Mike Janssen, Director of National Sales, explains what sets Fine Designs apart from the competition: “As a National Account Executive, I go out and sell our company’s services to what Victor calls ‘the big fish’– larger scale events and/or sports organiza- tions. I was formerly an event director and used to partner with Fine Designs to come and provide ap- parel at my tournaments. I was so impressed with the unique business idea that I started working for them. Today, I now co-own our Fine Designs Great Plains franchise office with my business partner, Mark Kramer. Our office services a five-state territo- ry of Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota. Any given weekend we may be doing tournaments for hockey, dance, basketball, volley- ball, indoor track & field– anywhere we can sell official merchandise. “What makes us different is, we come to the event with much more merchandise than most of the FINE DESIGNS competition. For a middle-of-the-road production, let’s say a $10,000 event sale,we’ll bring upwards of 30 different styles.That’s unheard of in our industry.We also bring a significant amount of artwork graphics for additional customization.We’re always updating our range of styles and selection of generic logos, so the latest ‘cool’ phrases or hashtags that kids and teenag- ers use will be on our shirts.And they’re available both on-site and online.” Customer service is another key component. Franchise owners have very strong standards for the kinds of people they actively recruit to repre- sent Fine Designs on event weekends. The company values transparency and, because of that, gives detailed POS reports to their customers. The last few years, they’ve focused on convenience for event directors, providing surveys for customers that contain their event information from the previous year to make the planning process much easier for them. Fine Designs currently has 23 satellite offices, operates in every state and is currently expanding their team in Canada. Three of their satellite offices are in Germany, England, and Romania. A confer- ence in Germany in late April will bring together these three offices for networking and collaborative discussions about the future. Expansion in Europe is a big goal for the firm, this year. Kostroub weighs in on the company’s culture of teamwork: “The relationship among the employ- ees inside is the same as how they serve outside with customers. The atmosphere in the office is one of truly working together as a team.When we go to events, we offer consistency. People rely on us.Whether we’re on the east or west coast, you see the same setup and service. It takes a lot of training and work on recruiting staff who share the