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How to EnterCompany: Direct Innovations, Houston, TX
Company Description: Direct Innovations is a direct marketing company that was founded in 2005 by Amberly Allen at the age of 24. In 4 years it has grown to over $3 Million in annual sales, employs 8 people and has won numerous awards. Our solutions allow our clients to improve customer acquisition rates and create new revenue opportunities. "The Steering Wheel of your business"
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur – Service Businesses - Up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Amberly Allen, President, Direct Innovations

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

Amberly Allen, at 24 years old took $5K in savings and started Direct Innovations,
a direct marketing company.   In just four years, she has transformed it into
one of the fastest growing businesses in Houston, Texas. In the first eight months in
business, as the only employee, sales reached $1Million.  Today, in her fourth
year, sales top $3Million annually and the company is home to eight employees.  
Amberly is the youngest woman of more than 1600 members of the Women’s’
Presidents Organization, an honor that requires over $2M in sales annually.  Her
company, Direct Innovations was recently named by the Houston Business
Journal as #21 on the list of the Top Fifty Fastest Growing Woman Owned
Businesses in Houston.  In 2008, Amberly was one of eight finalists in the
Houston-NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Business
Owner of the Year.  Also, in 2008 she was a finalist in two categories of The
Stevie Awards for Women.   In 2009 she was named H-Texas Houston Professional on
the Fast Track, a 2009 Enterprising Woman of the Year Finalist and a the Better
Business Bureau honored Direct Innovations as a 2009 Company of Excellence. 
Her most prized award is 2009 WBEA Supplier of the Year.   

Amberly saw the need for individualized service in a mass market world. 
She “took to the road” and found that the auto dealers in smaller towns weren’t
getting the attention they deserved. She spent months cold-calling every auto
dealer within a 5 hour radius of Houston.  Her biggest obstacle was being young
and being taken seriously.  At 24, she looked about 18 and being a shrewd
negotiator was not an easy task; so she would never reveal that she was the
owner during a sales presentation and always checked in with her “boss” on
details of the deal. 

After several years of huge growth their automotive direct mail niche proved to be
disastrous for DI due to the economic uncertainty and turbulence of the auto
industry; resulting in a 60% drop in business.  Amberly took this as an opportunity
to diversify her company and product offerings.  Now, going into the 4th quarter
her tenacity has paid off.  She calls Direct Innovations a “phoenix” because the
rebirth of the company has proved to be successful.  They now offer Search Engine
Optimization, Email campaigns, Public Relations, Web Design, Branding and are
working in the wireless, healthcare and real estate industries.  These changes
have required hiring several new employees to keep up with the incoming business
and anticipate huge growth moving into 2010. 

Amberly is a native Texan.  She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and
graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Business
Administration in Marketing.  She is an active member of the WBEA, NAWBO,
AMA and a Board member of “Recycle to Eradicate Poverty” which recycles used
cell phones for The Chiapas Project, an affiliate of the Grameen Foundation USA . 
The Chiapas project provides microloans to women in third world countries.  

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your nomination. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:













Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):

Amberly Allen was born and raised in Dallas, Texas.  She graduated in 2002 from
the University of Mississippi with a B.B.A. in marketing.  Upon graduation she
accepted a job in sales and relocated to Houston, Texas.  In 2005, at age 24 she
started her own company, Direct Innovations – a boutique marketing firm.   Today,
it is one of the fastest growing businesses in Houston with over $3 Million in
annual sales.  Amberly is a recipient of numerous business awards and is sought
out as a speaker on successful selling.  She currently resides in Houston, Texas
with her husband, Brian Dubiski. 

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