Helen Harb keeps PureLine Design & Print relevant

Larry Van GuilderOur Town Leaders, West Knox

Helen Harb is succeeding in a business that was traditionally dominated by men.

Not too many years ago most printing required heavy machinery and cumbersome dies. If the old-time journalist was an “ink stained wretch,” the printer was one in spades. As it has in so many other industries, advancing technology changed the game.

Harb’s business, PureLine Design & Print, will be 14 years old next May. As president of the firm, Harb handles sales and marketing. Three associates take care of graphic design, illustration and administration.

Among the virtues of a lean organization is the ability to pivot quickly into new areas with the potential for growth. PureLine’s venture into producing high-quality wedding stationery, only a few months old, is an example.

Harb sold broadcast media to advertisers for years but said the opportunity to one day run her own show was never very far from her thoughts. Ideally, that opportunity would allow her to capitalize on her strengths, a strong creative bent and client service.

With PureLine she’s able to call on her creativity to serve both business and personal clients. The lean makeup of the organization also allows her to remain “hands-on” in the workflow.

Helen Harb

“For 13 years we had been ‘business to business,’” Harb said, “but to stay relevant you have to keep up.”

The need to keep up largely explains the move into wedding stationery, but the “personal” items offered include birthday and graduation announcements, baby showers, personalized stationery, monograms and engraving.

PureLine’s business “menu” covers a range of products and services beginning with full-service printing. The company also creates logos, direct mail and ad campaigns, trade show displays, brochures, note pads and postcards.

“Printing is everywhere,” Harb said, a technological revolution spawned by sophisticated software that can turn a desktop computer and a moderately priced printer into a personal printshop. Standing out from the crowd isn’t easy. PureLine’s own advertising touts “passion” as the key to unlocking a client’s vision for their print materials or marketing campaign.

Successfully moving from sales of an intangible product – advertising – to a mix of products such as PureLine offers illustrates Harb’s ability to flourish with change. Clearly, she finds the challenge invigorating.

“We work with a variety of organizations,” she said. “No two days are ever alike – it stays interesting.”

We believe the forward-thinking president of PureLine might agree with baseball great Satchel Paige’s timeless advice: Don’t look back – something might be gaining on you.

Larry Van Guilder is the business/government editor for KnoxTNToday. Reach him at lvg@knoxtntoday.com.


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