Imprintable Memories

Never Too Late to Start Again

By Marceliano Briones, Journalism Intern, Turner Center for Entrepreneurship

Nikki Baer earned her first degree at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Illinois, just a 15 minute drive from her hometown of La Salle, Illinois. With aspirations in the business world, it would not be until her time at Northern Illinois University that she would continue higher education and significant relationships would be built. 

Baer ultimately spent 20 years in the banking industry, racking up priceless business relationships via networking that she describes as “invaluable.” It was not until she met a woman in Rock Falls, Illinois that she discovered her next opportunity. This woman helped Baer understand the business and interest grew in selling her company, Imprintable Memories, to Baer so she could spend more time with her family. Nikki Baer went on to purchase and own the company leaving the original owner with a stake in the company via a commissioned sales manager.

Nikki s Headshot 2As a company that offers a wide range of promotional items, Baer’s role enables her to work from home. Some of her roles include but are not limited to developing quotes for customer requests, researching appropriate turnaround times along with target shipping windows and prices. To assist her, she has brought on board an undergraduate student studying graphic design to convert file types into vector formats, recreate designs or create brand new logos.

Baer credits the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Bradley University for furthering her business knowledge and assisting in Imprintable Memories success. She worked with Bradley’s PTAC Director, Keli Krueger-Huhra who helped her submit an application that enabled the business to be registered and listed with the state of Illinois for the purpose of doing business. The time consuming process was made simpler with Krueger-Huhra’s assistance and knowledge.

A few notable expansions and improvements the company has made are ensuring that orders are going out in a timely manner and that customers are receiving a digital layout draft of their product before orders are fulfilled to improve accuracy. In addition, the company has begun shipping into a Canada, a feat that demonstrates vests

Making the team bigger is a goal of Baer’s. Adding a sales manager would create a more equal workflow, since it is only Baer, managing the business. Cutting down unnecessary costs are also essential to business growth.

Nikki Baer states that centers like the Illinois PTAC at Bradley University offer much more assistance than many realize when it comes to how to properly function with the State of Illinois, Federal Government, and how to properly develop and operate a business.

Her one piece of advice to future business owner is to “find out what you do not know.” Imprintable Memories can be reached at: (815) 535-0931 or