June 28th, 2016 | PPAI
Some of the world’s most renowned companies were started in a garage–among them, Apple Computer and Disney. Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based distributor Wizard Creations (UPIC: Wizard2), shares this origin story as well. Luke Freeman, the company’s founder and president, began his promotional career helping out in his parents’ garage-based screen-printing business while growing up in Bloomington, Illinois. His father, an art teacher, and his mother, a stay-at-home mom, started the side business to generate more income.
“My earliest memory of helping the business was when I was about three years old,” Freeman says. “My dad handed me a squeegee and said, ‘Let’s print some shirts!’” Along with his two brothers, he helped his parents print and sell t-shirts to local high schools, clubs and other student organizations.
Freeman’s parents sold their business just before he graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a business and marketing degree, and Freeman entered the corporate world. Within a few years he was managing a large sales team at a national apparel company, but the pull of entrepreneurship and the promotional industry was strong.
“I saw an opportunity to start my own business, taking the small-business experience I gained from watching my parents in their garage and mirroring it with my corporate experience. The combination of having a diverse background in small business and large corporate business is what has made Wizard Creations so successful today,” Freeman says.
The company’s name honors Freeman’s father, an amateur magician who often performed magic tricks to entertain Freeman and his friends while he was growing up.