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Jerry and Becky Eizen

Eizen, 45, raised in New Orleans but long-since settled in Metro Detroit with husband Jerry and their three boys, endured a frantic three-day search, post-storm, to locate her mother, Yetta. When Eizen and her mom finally connected, Eizen also learned the family home had been destroyed; she cajoled Yetta to move north and live with her and her family.

Red Thread Magazine's Yaakov Schwartz sat down recently with Eizen to find out how the experience helped transform her into an entrepreneur.

What spurred you to launch Jazzy Promotional Products?
For years, I thought about the various types of home-based opportunities I could develop. But between my responsibilities as a recruiter for a major department store and the struggle to secure seed money, entrepreneurship seemed a long way off — until my mom provided funding to get the business off the ground.

I came up with the idea for Jazzy through a friend in the field. I wanted whatever business we got into to be a fun one, and I wanted to have a good time doing it. When people order promotional products, it’s not usually for a sad occasion — it's usually for something fun.

We quickly began customizing clothing, mugs, pens and other sundries for local and nationwide businesses, and my product list grew along with my client base.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?
I run the company from home with help from my husband Jerry, a professional firefighter who has an MBA from Georgia State University and years of experience working in retail. However, competition from the Internet and brick-and-mortar stores is fierce.

One of our biggest challenges nowadays is that people are ordering online. Companies are shipping out low-quality products and people don't know until it's too late. We stand behind all of our products and work closely with our clients to ensure that each order is tailor-made to suit their needs. The customer is always right.

Is community involvement a part of your business model?
Being part of the community, pounding the pavement and promoting the local economy are all mantras we espouse in an effort to remain competitive. We try very, very hard to work with vendors who are in Michigan. The vast majority of our apparel comes from vendors who are in-state.

How well are you positioned for growth?
Since those first days in 2005, I’m both pleased with our growth and realistic about our future. Sure, the economy has affected us, because the first thing that gets slashed in a poor economy is the marketing budget. But our client base is constant and continues to grow. People know that we offer a lasting and tangible form of marketing that is more cost-effective and far outlives a radio ad. Of course, we'd love more business.

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