Pure Image founder Mark Terao is scrambling to keep up with the demand he created for college football calendars
Steve Wilhelm Staff Writer
You might say Mark Terao
has an eye for unique opportunities.
How else would you explain that Terao
now runs the nation's largest producer of college football and basketball calendars, spring boarding off an earlier career manufacturing clothing for nursing mothers?
These days Terao
has left his
clothing company behind, and is mostly focused on Pure Image Inc.
Seattle calendar company.His
warehouse still stacked with 1999 calendars, Terao
staff are busy assembling calendars for the year 2000.Those will be released late this summer, in time for the fall college football season.
Last year the company published 10 calendars.Terao
, 37, plans to publish calendars for 27 separate schools next year, and up to 40 the year after that.In 1998 revenues were $250,000.He
expects to generate $500,000 in sales this year.
An enthusiastic man, Terao
decided to produce the calendars as a way to combine his
love of sport with a business.
Challenged by Terao
to come up with a business idea combining printing and sports, Lutu thought of college football calendars.
A business was born.
It wasn't the first time, however, Terao
brainstormed an idea into an enterprise.Terao launched Discreet Wear, a nursing clothing business, in the mid 1980s when he was in his 20s.He got the idea while working as a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines while in college.He
realized there wasn't ample clothing for mothers to use to nurse discreetly in public.
"It turned out to be one of those ideas nobody had ever done before, and it took off," Terao
said.At its peak, Discreet Wear
hit $1.5 million in sales, Terao
...After checking at the University Bookstore for a Huskies calendar and finding none, Terao made a mock-up and brought it to the University of Washington director of trademarks and licensing.He
walked away with a license, quickly got another for the Washington State University Cougars
, and produced his
first calendars for the 1997-'98 season.
is producing calendars for college teams nationwide, and he's
adding more.The calendars are sold through college bookstores, online, and at other retail centers in college towns.A standard licensing arrangement is for the college to get 8 percent of the calendar's wholesale price in exchange for use of the school's images and logos.
"Schools and retailers love our calendars," he
said."We get calls now from schools asking us to do it for them."Terao
operates from a 2,000-square-foot office/warehouse under a day-care center, in an obscure industrial area south of Lake Union
five employees work in a clutter of stockpiled calendars and computers.
One limitation for Terao
is that under college athletic rules Pure Image
cannot use photos of current athletes for its calendars.He
adapts by running a combination of well-known recent college athletes, scenes of the cheerleaders and bands that give the feeling of the game, and photos of famous vintage stars.
Of Japanese roots and born in Seattle, Terao
has the entrepreneurial spirit.His
grandmother, now 105, built up large real estate holdings before World War II, lost it all, and did it again.His
mother was a founder of Sound Savings and Loan
, a former Seattle thrift institution.He
works entrepreneur's hours: 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with some time squeezed in for family and children.
"When you have your own business you don't have time off," he