In a world where many businesses are still primarily run by men, First Coast business owner Kim Scott is defying all odds with The Morgan Company.
A promotional product distributor offering corporate apparel, business gifts and many other custom branded products, The Morgan Company has been in business for 19 years and is continuing to grow. Previously located at the Beaches, the business celebrated the relocation of its office to the Hodges and Butler Boulevard area with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 27.
"It was a super turnout,” Scott said. “We felt like we got to spend some quality time with customers and dear friends from the Chamber.
"Our move has really just kind of (created) ... a new energy," Scott added. "There's some great new energy and I'm excited about 2019 and exploring some opportunities and changes that we've never done before."
Scott first opened the company alongside her mother, Samm Morgan, in their own home office in 2000. Her business gained so much traction that in 2010, The Morgan Company moved its offices to the Beaches.
"From 2000 to 2009, we both worked in our home offices in Sawgrass,” Scott said. “In 2010, the big change was leaving our home offices and getting an office outside of our home and asking Karen Butler to join me. And that's the start of building our team."
Butler is Scott's long-esteemed colleague and was recently promoted to director of operations and marketing. She started with The Morgan Company in 2011 as a sales and marketing project manager and has been an "integral part of organizational development and growth," according to Scott.
"It's remarkable, not everyone can do it,” Butler said about Scott. “I'm proud of her. What small business lasts this long and continues to grow every year? We have the flexibility to put family first, yet still provide quality service to our customers. The lifestyle is amazing! You can't find this type of happiness in the corporate world."
When it comes to women in the business world, Jacksonville is surely progressing. According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2012, 46 percent of businesses in Jacksonville are owned by women, compared to only 40 percent nationwide. According to Data USA, however, "Males in Jacksonville, Florida have an average income that is 1.34 times higher than the average income of females. Thankfully for The Morgan Company, Scott said this reality hasn’t affected their progress.
"We've been so fortunate because we know that exists around us, but we have been in such a wonderful, tight-knit community that we haven't really experienced that kind of negativity," said Scott concerning gender inequality in the workplace. "We feel we built a reputation that allows us to bypass that."
So what advice do these women in business have for young women trying to start up their own?
"I really think finding a mentor, whether in the same industry or not, but someone who has built a successful business to help avoid some pitfalls you might not know exist," Scott said. "My mentor was my dad. I think his work ethic and drive and setting goals were really a great influence on me."
Butler added: "Always surround yourself with people smarter than you that had experiences you haven’t had yet.”
Scott is also an advocate of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida.
"Anyone that's starting a new business, visit the SBDC at UNF and get a counselor that can help develop a plan because there are so many different aspects of having your own business, you can't be good at every single thing," Scott explained.
The Morgan Company now has five employees and expects to expand even more this upcoming year.
“I’ve made a number of leaps of faith over the last few years and surrounded myself with some amazing women,” Scott said. “I am excited and proud to continue to grow The Morgan Company as a successful women-owned business.”