According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of celebrate is “to mark something by festivities or other deviation from routine.” In life, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, new babies and other big milestones are an excuse to gather with the friends and family that mean that most to us.
Why do we celebrate? Because simply put, it allows us to remember the things in life that truly matter… to put the stresses of life aside and spend our time doing what we love with the people we love.
When it comes to your business, when was the last time you celebrated? What should you celebrate? Maybe it’s a new logo, look or a new contract. Kimberly Baeth, president of Golden Openings, Inc., believes that every milestone is a marketing opportunity and celebrating your business is just one more way to tell your story.
In 1997, Golden Openings was the first business of its kind. Considered the original “Grand Opening Super Store,” the business specializes in ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and unique business events. Baeth has worked tirelessly to help make it grow an average of 32 percent every year for the last 22 years. She and her staff are always helping businesses big and small on nearly every continent bring their celebrations to life.
Your Dream is Out There… Just Go Get It
If there’s anything that Baeth’s parents taught her growing up, it’s that failure is not an option. “They always told me to go after my dreams and it’s something my dad still tells my kids today,” she smiles.
She learned the value of hard work from her dad, who started his own successful construction business at age 14, with pretty much only a hard hat and shovel. Today he’s known across Iowa as the “Concrete King” and at the age of 70, still works 10 hours a day.
When she was a teenager, Baeth’s family built their 10,000-square foot home in Marshalltown brick by brick. It’s a very unique house, on top of a big hill, with waterfalls, limestone archways, a brick stage for a Baby Grand piano, as well as ponds, spiral staircases and balconies.
“My friends would come over and help carry bricks, mix mud, sort nails, sheetrock or shingle – just so I could get a chance to go to the mall, dances or be able to do other activities,” she laughs. “We moved into the house before it was finished, so mom made meals in the fireplace and for my 16th birthday, I asked for a door to my bedroom.”
Baeth says that it took a lot of energy for her and her two sisters to keep up with their dad, but they learned a lot. Their mom, on the other hand, taught the simple things in life. “She was a stay-at-home mom, but also served as accountant for the construction business,” she recalls. “It was great having mom at home while dad was out working all the time. It kept our family balanced and they both worked hard to make sure the family business was a success.”
A “Cut” Above the Rest
Baeth excelled in school, graduating from Marshalltown High School at the top of her class. She played several sports and was asked to speak at graduation. Her message to her class was “The ABCs - Always Be Confident.”
A graduate of Iowa State University where she double majored in Journalism/Public Relations and Business Communications, Baeth landed her first job at North Hennepin Chamber of Commerce in 1993. Many of the questions she dealt with on a daily basis included: Where can I get those giant scissors that cut? Can you print wide, custom ribbon? Where can I find mailing labels for residents in my business area?
Baeth felt like she could take the chamber to a whole new level with membership if they focused on organizing start-up details and events for new businesses. But the board disagreed and told her she already had too much on her plate.
“I wasn’t satisfied with that answer,” she explains. “The idea sparked my entrepreneur spirit and inspired me to think and dream bigger. I knew there had to be something more.”
Baeth researched giant scissors and found that there weren’t any out there. So, she asked her dad for help. “He crafted a large pair of wooden scissors with razor blades,” she laughs. “They worked and once word got around, everyone wanted to rent them and the chamber phone was ringing off the hook.”
In February of 1997, Baeth resigned from her job at the chamber, then turned around and joined as Golden Openings. She found that new business owners were consumed with setting up their facility, hiring staff, working with vendors and sourcing products, leaving no time to plan and coordinate a ground breaking or ribbon cutting. That’s where Baeth and Golden Openings stepped in, creating invitations, coordinating with local VIPs, sending out marketing materials, connecting with the local chamber, as well as organizing food, drink, and local media.
Her business grew quickly and soon, Baeth was coordinating multiple events per week. Her daughter, Stephanie, was born 3-weeks early and on the way home from the hospital, Baeth stopped at a grand opening with hospital bands still on her wrist.
A Golden Opportunity
Eventually, businesses wanted to buy their “own” giant scissors and customize them. Baeth worked with a manufacturing company to produce the first giant 3-foot stainless steel scissors with different colored handles. These scissors would make their way to thousands of chambers, colleges and universities, hotels, professional sports teams and other businesses.
Today, Golden Openings has over 10,000 products including but not limited to: gold and chrome plated ceremonial shovels, keys to the city, giant light switches, scissors of different sizes, custom-printed ribbon, guide books and giant building bows.
While they have the design patent for their scissors and several of their products, other businesses have taken a liking to all or some of Golden Opening’s business – copying the scissors and many other products.
“What sets us apart is we continue to set the standard and lead the way to earn our customers’ trust – by staying true to our purpose, mission, vision and values,” she says. “And when challenges come, we face them head on by working hard, taking risks, focusing on the customer and giving back. It’s what makes us feel good at the end of each day.”
Baeth’s hard work certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in the business community as she has racked up a long list of awards on both the local and national level, including the 2017 Dream Big - Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as their 2017 Community Excellence Award.
Baeth’s mission and values extend far beyond her business as she stays active in the community demonstrating exemplary levels of leadership and engagement as a board member for Urbandale Economic Development, the YMCA, Campfire USA and NAWBO. She enjoys speaking to local schools, clubs and organizations, universities and at conventions on entrepreneurship, inspiring others to start and thrive in their own businesses. She’s also written and published three books.
Baeth says women should follow their passions, talent and desires. “It’s important to always look for connections and opportunities. It’s kind of like looking for your significant other – they could be at the gym, the grocery store, or the park, so you always have to be looking!”
She believes that no matter where you are in life or business, it’s about finding happiness in all that you do. That became even more important to Baeth after losing her mom suddenly in 2017.
“Mom had a way of finding the beauty in everything and everyone,” she smiles. “I hope I’ve shown my girls that life is about choosing happiness, working hard and never giving up on their dreams.
Always Take Time To Celebrate: Meet Kimberly Baeth By Becky Kolosik for Women of Worth Magazine.
If you would like to book Kimberly to speak at your next event, visit kimberlybaeth.com