Roundtable with Don: The story behind Vistaprint Corporate – Part 1
Vistaprint Corporate is reinventing the way larger organizations procure custom printed products.
How did this all begin?
We sat down with Don Leblanc, President of Vistaprint Corporate, to find out.
Don joined Cimpress, our parent company, in 2011, as chief marketing officer for the Vistaprint brand and helped build Vistaprint to over $1 billion in annual revenue. In January of 2015, he became president of Vistaprint Corporate, a new brand under Cimpress umbrella.
Q: Don, please tell us about the start of Vistaprint Corporate and how it is different from Vistaprint.com.
A: The history of Vistaprint.com is fairly well known. The company was founded in 1995 to help small businesses express themselves through custom printed products, with business cards being the first and primary product for many years. Vistaprint set out to enable small business owners to start and grow their business and live out their dreams. The company did tremendously well and grew to well over a billion dollars in sales globally.
What we found in the growth story is that for larger businesses, the Vistaprint.com experience was not ideal. It was perfectly suited for someone who was starting up a new business, alone or with a few employees. As they grew to a certain point, they developed a set of needs that we couldn’t serve in Vistaprint.com and we really wanted to serve the customer throughout their entire growth journey.
We decided to start a new business, called Vistaprint Corporate. It’s dedicated to serving companies with ten or more employees, which is a pretty broad definition because it ranges from small local companies who might have one office, to large global multinationals who might have thousands of employees and multiple offices around the world.
What all these companies have in common is that they have a brand, they have a number of employees that they want to be able to provide with customized products that showcase their logo and their business identity, and they want to get access to high quality products that they can get to their employees anywhere in the world.
Vistaprint.com and Vistaprint Corporate are very similar in that we’re both in the customized product business, we’re both serving business customers. But we differ in that Vistaprint.com serves the smaller micro-business and Vistaprint Corporate serves the medium or larger enterprises.
Q: As you think about the challenges you’ve faced in the first 12 months of building up Vistaprint Corporate versus what you think will happen in the next twelve months…what will the likely differences be?
Don: I think we’re a lot like other new businesses. In the first twelve months, it was about developing a product. We first talked to customers and understood their needs. Then, there was a long period of building, where we had to create a technology solution that could meet the customer’s’ needs. That took a long time but after many iterations, we are finally in growth mode. We are expanding the capabilities on our platform, we are adding in new products and services, and we are also starting to grow our sales force. Over the next twelve months, it’s all about scaling an organization and that’s a different challenge than an issue of building a basic functionality. How do you grow? How do you hire people? How do you grow their careers? And how do you do it within a larger corporation like Cimpress? Just trying to navigate through how you build a startup organization within a larger company is a unique challenge and different than a lot of startup companies who are perhaps on their own. For us, it is of course one of the big benefits that we’re able to start out with our relationship to the Vistaprint.com business.
Q: Related to this – how do you believe the cultures of Vistaprint.com and Vistaprint Corporate differ and what do you look for when you hire new folks into Vistaprint Corporate organization, specifically?
Don: Ten years ago, Vistaprint.com was much more of a small company, growing and scaling, very similar to what we are now. Now Vistaprint.com has gotten to another stage of growth, they are a much larger and more established organization. They have many more specialised roles because they’ve got large teams. We are much smaller. Our people have to wear many hats and take on different roles. We try things fast, fail fast, and then move on to trying different things. At this stage, we can be much more entrepreneurial, and risk taking. But, it’s actually probably quite similar to what Vistaprint.com was ten years ago when it was a small company, culturally. So, it’s more to do with where you are in the stage of development and hopefully someday we will be as big as Vistaprint.com and we’ll have all of those benefits as well. But for now, we’re still in that entrepreneurial scrappy growth stages.
Thank you, Don. This certainly sounds like an exciting time to be at Vistaprint Corporate. We’ll check in again to learn more about your customers and how you are helping solve their challenges.