When Susan Laudwig describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” she’s neither joking nor kidding herself. The 45-year-old owner of Grow Marketing and Printing in Osage Beach, Mo., which handles apparel printing and online fulfillment for the likes of MTI and Speedonthewater.com as well as an array of local businesses at the Lake of the Ozarks, is the genuine article. Laudwig launched her first business when she was just 19 years old with a loan from her father and—more than a dozen successful businesses later from a day spa to her own marketing and advertising agency—she’s still building her brand. By the time you read this, Grow Marketing will be absorbed into her latest venture with a private investor called Malibu Blue Outfitters. Primarily focused on producing resort wear, the company will take Grow Marketing’s key services to a national level. Without question, Laudwig’s accounting degree from Oklahoma State University helps her navigate new business projects and opportunities from a clear-eyed, bottom-line perspective. But it’s her passion, ambition and vision that make them thrive.
From apparel fulfillment and marketing, Susan Laudwig continues to blaze trails in the high-performance powerboat world. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.
YOU MOVED TO LAKE OF THE OZARKS IN 2010. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
I grew up in Joplin (Mo.) and I’ve always been a lake girl. I grew up waterskiing and boating. For my husband, Steve, and I, it was always our dream to live at the lake and when his job gave him
the opportunity to work at home we finally did. We could have lived anywhere in the United States—I lived in New York City when I was in my 20s.WhenI was growing up, I used to dream about moving out of the Midwest. But I like living in the Midwest. I like the people and the lifestyle. You can always travel to go visit those big cities.
GROW MARKETING HAS APPAREL CLIENTS ALL OVER THE LAKE OF THE OZARKS AREA INCLUDING PERFORMANCE BOAT CENTER, DOG DAYS AND H. TOADS. DID YOU ANTICIPATE THAT?
No, but when I got into it I did see a need for high-quality boating apparel. I also saw a need for a company supplying it to do what they said they are going to do. When I had people supplying apparel for my businesses, those companies were hard to find. And that’s how we’ve grown. We deliver what we say we’re going to and care about our clients’ customers as much as our clients themselves.
YOU MUST ENJOY THE BUSINESS OR—GIVEN YOUR VERSATILE SKILL SET—YOU WOULDN’T BE IN IT.
I love coming up with new ideas. Right now, I’m doing a shirt for two charities to celebrate the freedom we have at the Lake of the Ozarks. It is called the “Ozark Freedom T-shirt Project,” I have never been so proud to live at the lake than I was last year. Our government didn’t shut us down and make us starve. They worked with us. They let people decide. I was just so proud of that, and it inspired me to design the shirt.
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