The year was 1979, but the idea was timeless. Steve Rambow, our founder, had a vision to start a company that would serve customers with branded solutions and quality service. At the time, he was employed as a local school teacher and assistant football coach, so after-hours moonlighting it was.
Like most dreams, this part-time “decorated clothing” business would start small—in Steve’s basement, where he spent each night preparing sales letters on his Royal Typewriter. But it took off big time. For every 100 letters sent, he got two or more in-person meetings, and those face-to-face interactions were extremely successful. This is where Steve’s story differs from most others. Before long, Steve was investing in large-scale embroidery equipment, some of the first computers on the market, and employees he could trust. Among the first on his team were his brother JR, JR’s college roommate Jon Austvold, local high school graduate Jamie Iverson, and Dana Anderson, Joan Conway, and more.
All of these original employees (with the exception of one very happy retiree) are still on staff today, helping to lead our team of more than 50 talented individuals, including Steve’s son, Scott.
“They happen to be my brother and my son, but JR and Scott are the best,” said Steve. “I can’t believe there would be anybody on Earth that would do those jobs better than they do; there are many things I’ve learned from both.”
Steve, humble as ever in his 41st year as “head coach” of the Rambow company, still attributes the success of Rambow to the “people” of the company vs himself. “If I would say anything about what I do, it’s that since day one, my biggest focus has not been so much on the bottom line, but on surrounding myself with the best people.”
Photos: Left, Steve in 2020 with his maternal Grandmother’s Treadle Sewing Machine at the Rambow HQ that employs 60+ employees each day in New London, MN. Steve’s mother told him stories about how that machine was used to sew clothes for all seven kids in their family. In a way, that family background of seamstress know-how inspired Steve and eliminated any fear of thread or sewing machines. Right, Steve in 1983, just years after Rambow had launched, and still in his original basement facility. Cheers to local business growth!