Women-Owned Window Film Business Aims to be a ‘Big Boy’

February 17th, 2021 by Emmariah Holcomb

“I strive to play with the big boys, that’s what I call them, – the Steve Pesce’s and Brad Campbell’s of the industry and that’s why I hired a consulting firm and worked on my business this year,” says Michelle Clark, owner of Carolina Premier Window Films, located in Rock Hill, S.C.

Michelle Clark

Clark says by taking the time to focus on her business she hit $1.1 million in sales last year, which comes after “mostly hanging around the $500,000 mark.” She’s done it all: changed the standard for her employees, adding on additional benefits like a 401k and health insurance while also learning how to properly run a window film business. Her business focuses on commercial, government and residential projects. She currently has four employees and hires additional help for certain large-scale installations.

Background

She got her start in window film in 2004 and worked for a company in Hilton Head, S.C., for a few years before deciding in 2008 to take a big risk. “That was the time to make a move, as an opportunity had presented itself with 3M in the Charlotte market,” says Clark.

She then sold her house and moved to Charlotte, N.C., to start her own business. What should have been an exciting time instead would turn into a time of mourning.

“My oldest daughter passed away, 2009 was the worst year of my life,” she says. “When my daughter died I went through hell and I didn’t even want to get up to go to work. One day I thought that I should at least go in the morning.” Slowly she began to work again.

Clark says in 2013, after she was a victim of employee theft, she regrouped, went back to basics, hired new employees and developed new training methods.

New Beginnings

In 2015 she got married and faced new obstacles in growing her business. “I struggled at times because I went from a salesperson to running your own business and even though I had worked people don’t really tell you how to run a business and you learn the hard way and I really wasn’t making a lot of money,” she explains.

That same year a potential buyer approached her about purchasing her business. Then she found out that they were also in the process of “setting up her biggest competitor in the Charlotte market and that person was going to carry two brands.” The idea of selling went away.

Attainable Goals

Clark says her three year goal is $3 million in annual sales. She’s well on her way thanks to a five-year plan and continued guidance. “A lot of people in this industry have supported me, when I got into the business I felt like the younger sister to a lot of them, like Chris Robinson,” she says. People in window film are willing to help you—it’s a great support team of dealers.”

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  1. E= R Effort equals Results.

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