Laura Whipple and Austin Whipple started Pinball Publishing in 2002. Looking for new products and to expand the business, Pinball Publishing introduced Scout Books in 2009.These pocket-sized books and notebooks are made out of 100% recycled papers and can be customized on both the inside and the outside. Around the same time of launching Scout Books Laura participated in Small Business Management program 2 and 3. "It is not a coincidence that we developed Scout Books, the most successful arm of our parent company, after completing the SBM program,” asserts Laura.
Laura continued to push the success Scout Books by working with PCC’s International Trade Center to strengthen her exporting knowledge and initiatives. In 2012, Laura participated in the International Trade Small Business Management program. “I wanted to better understand how to navigate international business transactions, and how to grow distribution of our Scout Books product line beyond the United States. We were facing specific challenges with shipping and logistics, and also how to make sure we were paid in a timely fashion when working with international customers. We also didn’t have a clear sense of how to find distributors,” explains Laura. Through the program and the one-on-one advising with Certified Global Business Professionals, Laura was “able to tap into a library of experts to seek out [help] with specific questions” like discussing specific tariff codes and strategizing growing infrastructure needs. “It helped me gain confidence and knowledge about conducting business in a global economy.”
Today, Laura’s team is handling shipping, logistics, and payments for international orders much more efficiently, and international business has been growing especially in Canada and Japan. Furthermore, Scout Books has developed a strong relationship with a large distributer in Japan that recently shared the Scout Books line at a tradeshow in Tokyo, which is a huge milestone for the company.