Never-Ending Stories

On a shoestring

What: Advertising/public relations firm
Who: John Galbraith of Twin Partners Inc.
Where: Rochester, New York
When: Started in 1996
Start-up cost: $50

It was the birth of his twins that sparked John Galbraith's desire to start an advertising and PR firm. When the babies were born premature, Galbraith realized that no challenge could match that harrowing experience. He left his job as a senior account executive at an ad agency and filed a dba for Twin Partners Inc.

Bartering with an ad agency landed him in a warehouse where he worked rent-free for two months. When he moved down the hall to a one-room office for $200 a month, his office was robbed the second day. "All I had was a computer and a phone, and they stole both," recalls Galbraith, 36. He used technology and the best equipment to keep overhead down. For instance, he put commercials online for clients to view in real time rather than shipping them out. Though he was saving, Galbraith still dressed professionally, believing people want to work with those who look successful.

The business brought in $150,000 in sales the first year, and last year, Twin Partners shifted its focus to PR, increasing gross sales to $2.5 million for 2003. With buyout offers from two major agencies last year, it appears Galbraith was right about breeding success.

-April Y. Pennington
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This article was originally published in the February 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Never-Ending Stories.

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