Growing up as a creative-minded child, I lived in a country where new ideas and innovations weren’t always welcome. The Soviet Union’s limited, low-quality products and unhelpful customer service frustrated me. By the time I immigrated to the U.S. with my parents at age fifteen, the consumer situation in the Soviet Union had left an indelible impression on me.In the early 2000’s, I ran my own computer repair shop in southeastern Michigan. One day, a customer told me that he’d unsuccessfully searched for branded presentation folders for his business. “Can you make me some company folders?” he asked.Wanting to help my client, I said yes and set out to research similar products–only to learn none existed. Instead, I came up with my own design, which my customer loved. That’s when I founded Company Folders, Inc. My goal was to provide a wide selection of high-quality products and excellent customer service. With that in mind, I began marketing my products online and building up a highly skilled team. Company Folders’ future looked bright.Nine years later, I lay in bed at night, pretending to sleep so my wife wouldn’t worry. The stress of Company Folders’ impending bankruptcy kept me awake. A string of financial problems in the spring of 2012 had put my company on the verge of collapse, and I was running out of ideas to save it. Then one night it hit me: My brand’s only hope for recovery was our customers themselves.