What does “custom” mean?

Written by OneCoast Collegiate & Custom Territory Manager, Susan Kirtland 

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When I started with OneCoast, I thought that I would have to create new custom graphics for the collegiate market every year. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the best sellers are the college Word Mark, arch and the mascot. These collegiate symbols have been critical icons for hundreds of years. This job didn’t require me to come up with new items. Instead, it allowed me to work with buyers to update these looks on current fashions and capitalize on the colleges’ strong sense of pride, their long history, a form of identity, and the continuation of longevity of the institution.


Custom reflects pride. Working in the “custom” business you quickly realize there is a great deal of pride and spirit on a college campuses. Pride can be achievements or feeling a part of something that is well respected. Pride is important to prospective and current students, alumni, and relatives of those who have attended the college. I have a daughter who is currently a junior at a Florida Atlantic University. As we went through her college selection process, she made it a point to go to a school that had a student body that was proud to be there. For example, she did not apply to schools without a football team because she wanted to participate in the full college experience. Many colleges in my territory are very school spirited such as Cornell, Colgate and RIT. These schools have both academic and athletic programs that are to be noted. This is important to know as you approach a college store buyer in order to help direct them appropriately to the bestselling custom graphics. Where there is pride, there are multiple opportunities for sales and growth.


Custom reflects history and longevity.  Special notable events of the past are vital to school recognition. Special awards, notable discoveries, famous alumni, super star athletes and news worthy social events all contribute to the institutions story, evolving creation and character.  A prospective student or alumni will somehow feel deeply connected to the power of the history.  Here are a few names you might recognize; Ernie Davis, the first African American to receive the Heisman Trophy, Syracuse University; The Ivy League colleges/universities, old and accomplished, highly respected establishments; Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players of all time, North Carolina; Marco Rubio, United States Senator, University of Florida; Adam Sandler, Actor & Comedian, Syracuse University.


Custom capitalizes on identity. Identifying the College’s Word Mark, mascot or name arch is essential when working with a buyer.  This special recognition has marked the college since the beginning of their inception.  Most of these schools carry special licenses. This is to ensure they are used in the proper form and held to the highest standard.  One quick glance and anyone would know, in an instant, which college is being represented. These graphics are a staple item in each store and have shown that they are consistent reorders. These graphics also change very little over time but prove to remain best sellers.


Custom symbolizes longevity.  As time passes many things change; fashion, electronics, finances, entertainment just to name a few. One thing that looks the same today, as it did upon its creation, is the collegiate symbols created uniquely for their long standing institution and brand. These symbols have transcended time and trend alike. This type of branding help root the student in the university community and give them a sense of belonging to those who have previously walked the same halls. In the custom world, is it important to note the longevity of collegiate history as you represent OneCoast line package to a buyer.


All in all, “custom” in the college market will play a key role in meeting with a buyer. To be successful, for me at least, you need a basic understanding of the pride and the spirit of a campus as well as recognizing their history and longevity.

Images cited from:

Take Ivy


Meet Jennifer Flading, Collegiate Territory Manager

586Meet Jennifer Flading, Collegiate Territory Manager for the California, Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada regions out of San Diego, CA. Let’s get to know a little more about Jennfer!

Q: How long have you been with OneCoast?

JF: Thirteen years!

tutuQ: What is your favorite part about your job?

JF: My favorite part of the job is putting together the graphics and programs on all the great product we have to sell. My 2nd favorite part of my job is then seeing how great it looks on the sales floor and being worn around campus.

Q: You’re on the road driving to your next appointment. What tunes are you listening to?

JF: I’m always listening to audio books from the library.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

JF: I love to travel, swim, bike, run and spend time with friends and family.

Q: Finally, fill in the blank: be ___ today!

JF: Be and feel positive today!



Since submission of this article, we have found out some amazing news! Jennifer said YES! Congrats to Jennifer on her engagement! We wish you all the best!

Be Great Today | Lisa Gallivan – Reed

LGRJohn Keiser, CEO of OneCoast, started our “Be Great Today” series. His first post sparked interest and excitement within our company! We will be asking other OneCoast team members what “Be Great Today” means to them and how they work that into their professional and (sometimes) personal life! Up to bat this time, Lisa Gallivan – Reed, Vice President of Sales, Collegiate.

Q: What does “be great today” mean to you?

LGR: Be Great today means that with every project I work on, every meeting I attend and every conversation I have I try to be on top of my game and work to be at my best vs just sliding by…

Q: What can you do to “be great today”?

LGR: I work to make sure I do my pre-call/mtg preparation so I have a strategy and action plan for the call or mtg in order to maximize the time and energy spent during that time. I try to plan with an end in mind – what do I want to accomplish as a result of this interaction? Then after I try to do a de-brief, I call them WWWEBI’s (what went well – even better if) so that the next time the outcome is even better… In regards to projects I try to step back and look at what I am working on or have completed and ask myself if there is any way I can make the report or program even better for those that will be using it…

Q: How do you encourage others to do the same?

LGR: I try to drive that message to the team by sharing sales successes, data reports and sales trends and urging them to ‘dig deep” and the “hunt the farm” for sales opportunities. I think the TM that goes into a sales call with a strategy as a result having done their homework using the tools and resources available to them will be far more successful than those who don’t invest the time prepping for the call.

Q: What is your favorite motivational quote?

LGR: Oh that is a tough one – my team will tell you that I LOVE quotes and I usually end every team call with a quote or even send them to TM’s if I think they could be impactful… If I had to pick just one it would be:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense – Emerson

I have a copy on my desk and on my bedside table – I read it as I close down my desk for the day and again before I go to bed.. the quote helps me to remember not to dwell on the past because we cannot change it and it reminds me that tomorrow is a new day and each day I get a new chance to choose my attitude and strive to Be Great Today!

Lisa joined OneCoast in Jan 2000 as Executive Vice-President of Collegiate Sales. Prior to OneCoast, she spent 17 years at Follett Higher Education Group, a collegiate bookstore lease management firm, rising through the ranks from buyer to Sr. Vice-President of General Merchandise.

Lisa is a member of NACS (National Association of College Stores) and is currently serving as President of the NACS Foundation Board and also a member of the Board of Trustees. In the past she has participated on many NACS committees; including the General Merchandise committee , Camex Planning and Chair of the vendor association.
During her time with OneCoast she has served as Chairperson of the OneCoast Sales Leadership Team which set the direction for the company’s sales managers and also served as Provost of OneCoast University, the company’s training program. Lisa was previously selected as OC Sales Manager of the year and this year during the National Sales Meeting the Collegiate Team was awarded the 2013 OC Sales Team of the year.

She and her husband, Scott reside in Stuart, FL and are the proud parents of 3 children; Joshua, Courtney and Ashley.