Bilmor with Advertising Specialties, Inc. was conceived by Irvine and Lillian Headley on their kitchen table in Miami during the winter of 1985. Thirty years later, with the support of their three children, extended family, and friends, Bilmor has developed in to a full service Promotional Products and Embroidery company providing promotional marketing solutions to a wide range of organizations throughout the United States, South America, and Caribbean.
(Act 1) Bilmor began humbly! Once Irvine and Lillian decided they were going to leave the comfort of their full-time jobs to go in to business on their own, they knew an office space was needed. They had just the right place! With little renovation, Bilmor opened up shop in the comforts of their home garage. Bilmor initially started off as a promotional product distributor, where they sold advertising specialties (promotional products) directly from a catalog to small businesses around Miami. As they became more entrenched in the small business world, Irvine and Lillian decided to expand their service offering by purchasing a manual screen printing machine to help turn orders around quicker than the competition. Several months later, Bilmor further extended their product line in to button manufacturing, where they utilized cheap labor, their children, to make buttons over the weekend to keep up with demand.
(Act 2) To sustain its annual growth, Bilmor moved spaces twice before landing in Country Walk in 1992. With computers now becoming an important business tool, Bilmor invested in a robust software system to help streamline processes, improving efficiency to better serve their clients. Disaster struck! In August 1992, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew ravaged through Miami destroying several prominent areas in Miami and Homestead, including Country Walk. Most was lost, computers, customer files, office furniture, all destroyed. Spirits were shaken, but not broken.
(Act 3) The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew was devastating, not only was the office in ruins but so was their house. The road to recovery was long, but they lead Irvine and Lillian Headley to meet a new mentor and supporter in the late Mr. Stevan Layton who helped fund Bilmor’s new spacious office, when traditional banks were not willing to lend. With the new found space, Bilmor seized an opportunity to further expand their product line to include an in-house embroidery machine. Over the next 8 years the Bilmor production area added a second 4-head embroidery machine, a pad printer, heat transfer machine, and hot stamping machine. With a strong staff in place including their sons Irvine and Andrew, long time friend Annie Sebro and Jeffrey Austin, new daughter in law Nila Castro-Headley, Bilmor was equipped for growth in 2007.
(Act 4) Bilmor struggled through the downturn in the US economy and unfortunately staff was cut due to the dramatic loss of sales. Their son Irvine was given an opportunity to work for Walt Disney World in Orlando, while Andrew pursued an opportunity at the University of Miami where he was able to earn his MBA. With the streamlined staff of Irvine, Lillian, Kristina (their daughter), and Nila, Bilmor began its ascent from the depths of the recession. In 2011, Andrew returned to the family business to help streamline the business processes and continue to improve the internal systems in order to better serve our great customers; allowing Irvine, Lillian, and Kristina to focus all their attention on their clients.
(Act 5) Currently in Progress!
(Credits) This story would not have lasted over 30 years without the support of some great individuals and organizations: Irvine and Lillian Headley and Family, Annie Sebro, Nila Castro-Headley, our wonderful sales staff both local and abroad, our great suppliers, and of course our loyal customers, the University of Miami, the Knight Foundation, Power Marketing, Miami Dade College, Blockbuster, FIU, FAU, FPL, Miami Dade County, the Florida Lottery, the United States Postal Service, Regional Minority Business Councils, DelancyHill, and special thanks to all the family, friends, small businesses, Chambers of Commerce, churches and other organizations who have supported Bilmor throughout the years!