If you’ve been to a Minor League or Major League Baseball game, chances are that you’ve seen the work of Diana Everett, her family, and her company Success Promotions. We spoke with Everett about her career, family, company and her advice for those wanting to break into the business.
Originally from Colombia, South America, Everett came to America in 1979 as an almost 15-year-old. In her native Colombia, the most popular sport is soccer with baseball gaining ground over the past few years.
“In Colombia, they have baseball up on the coasts, but where I was from there was no such thing. Our sport there was soccer. My family was more into music. I wasn’t brought up into a sporting environment or anything like that. When I was 18 or 19 I got to see my first baseball game. That was against the Astros. They had some cool looking jerseys with the orange rainbow.”
The color orange and baseball would merge again in Everett’s life with their family business, Success Promotions. Worn by the Baltimore Orioles, orange and black would become the inspiration for their fourth son’s uniform and later their corporate colors.
“The funny thing is with all our boys playing with so many different baseball teams, finally, with my fourth son, I told my husband that I’m picking the uniform for my son. At the time, I loved Cal Ripken with the Orioles. Of course, they were orange and that ended up being the team for my son. I love orange.”
Their company is a family business. Everett is the company president and owner. Her husband Chad, of 31 years, is a passionate sports fan that serves as the company’s VP of Sales and Operations. Four out of five of their kids work in the business, something that they’re proud of.
“Four of our kids work us in the business. That was never intended to be. The three boys are in sales and my one daughter does a lot of the logistics and accounts receivables. For them to all be in the business we adore.”
Balancing family needs and business is a difficult task. The commitment to creating avenues for their children and the business to grow is a priority.
“I think we all got to respect each other family comes first. The biggest thing is what are we going to be doing 10, 15, 20 years from now? We keep trying to find new avenues to take the business in. We’re now in with Little League teams. We have the contract with USSSA for example. As time goes on, we’ll have an avenue for each kid as well. We’re working hard so that everyone can coexist and have their own individuality in the business.”
Building her company wasn’t an overnight success story. It required long hours, hard work, perseverance and many phone calls.
“We had our own company that was in promotions. A store called Successories. Back then they were wall decor with determination, perseverance and so forth. We had those stores and one of our customers we started to call on was the St. Louis Blues. They said, ‘They’re going to give an award. Could you provide for that?’ Then they told us they wanted to do a giveaway at the stadium and we did that. That’s how we got started in sports. A little at a time. We kept calling and calling. We started in the minor leagues and then started knocking on the doors of major league teams. We’ve been on this for 17 years now. We work with 25 major league teams now and a lot of the minor leagues as well.”
Working with professional baseball teams has allowed Everett and her company to create many unique promotional items.
“For me, I love the designs. That’s part of the success of our company. Coming up with new ideas all the time. New concepts. We started with the championship replica rings. We’ve done some really nice bobble heads. We did one for the Cincinnati Reds for the Grateful Dead.”
Owning a business isn’t easy. It requires long hours, late nights and many sacrifices. Everett offered her advice for those aspiring to get into the business.
“I think the biggest thing is your persistence. Sometimes it took calling a team for 2 or 3 years for a team to give us 1 opportunity. Just keep on doing your job, keep on knocking and keep on calling.
Take it day by day. Sometimes the work is overwhelming, but you have to breathe, break it all down and go at it. Surround yourself with good people. Be persistent, work hard and make alliances.”
*Photo Credit: Diana Everett/Success Promotions