Meet Jon Bowman
Jon’s career began with PostMark, Inc. in 1994. The business grew significantly over the next 25 years. Through that journey, Jon became President of the company until we sold to Salem One in February 2019. PostMark, Inc. worked primarily with small businesses and non-profits providing database, mailing, and printing services.
Center for Creative Economy: How has being a member of Momentum impacted you?
Jon Bowman: It has been exciting to see the opportunities that exist for creative people to come together to network. I am a big believer there is a lot to be learned from our peers. Being a part of Momentum provides exposure to new and exciting things happening in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area that you would not normally see or hear about.
CCE: How would you describe creative entrepreneurship?
JB: Just being an entrepreneur is creative. You develop a concept into an idea and form it into a business. The creativity it takes to make that happen is significant. Throughout the process creativity is required – development, financing, going to market, adding customers, building a supply chain, etc. There is no part of being an entrepreneur that doesn’t require creativity and passion.
CCE: What’s your WHY? What’s your motivation? What inspires you to do the work you do with Salem One?
JB: I like this question. I have read Simon Sinek’s book Starting with Why. Whether you realize it or not everyone has a “why”. I did not grow up saying I want to be involved in direct marketing or printing. What I realized early on is this industry inspires me. It allows me to be a problem solver, a strategist and allows for someone like me who I don’t classify myself as a creative to be creative. By that I mean, I am not the kind of person who can sit down and create beautiful artwork or wonderful design, but I can provide concepts and strategies that people who are talented in those areas can bring the ideas to life. Also, being in direct marketing and printing I am afforded and an opportunity to see many types of businesses and industries. One thing that I truly enjoy is being able to help out local non-profits. My wife, Beth has a heart of gold and I have learned a lot from her passion in the non-profit space and have been fortunate to carry that into my work.
I get motivated by working with clients on their projects and seeing them become reality. Asking questions to understand what their goals on a particular project may be and working to help it become a reality. The work I do inspires me to learn more. Fortunately, starting with a small business I was able to fill that natural sense of curiosity by running equipment, managing databases, and working directly with clients. Ultimately, being exposed in all areas has helped me become a better resource for clients.
Salem One has been a wonderful opportunity. Salem One wanted to get more exposure in the local market and Dick Vann, my business partner at PostMark, and I were asking ourselves the question most entrepreneurs often ask “what does it take to get to the next level?” When Salem One approached us we had been friendly competitors for years and knew each other. As we developed a relationship it became obvious the cultures of both companies were very similar in our focus on improving client results and caring about employees. Therefore, together PostMark was able to help Salem One get exposure to the local market again and they helped PostMark, answer “next level” questions. I am excited about the combination and what opportunities now exist to further help clients and provide the PostMark people additional professional growth within a larger organization.
CCE: How do you and Salem One serve and/or support creative entrepreneurs?
JB: We support things like Momentum. We often open our doors for tours. Recently, we set up tours for the students at Forsyth Tech studying print technology to visit our direct marketing facility. We have employees who serve on boards of colleges that have print programs and by developing these relationships it provides opportunities for students to participate in our internship program. Salem One is a very creative organization.
CCE: What do you enjoy most about the startup and creative community in the triad?
JB: The energy people bring to what they are passionate about. I enjoy seeing ideas develop. When you get out and are able to network at places like Momentum you realize how creative people are. The things that are developed that I never would have thought of is amazing. There are a lot of talented people and having an opportunity to be around them is fun.
CCE: What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you about business?
JB: If you are an entrepreneur, don’t let the business define who you are. Meaning your business needs to be treated as a business, it is a resource. If it defines who you are as a person, then making business decisions can be too personal. It is tough to do this as an entrepreneur when you are passionate and care about what you do.