Meet the SmartSign Team: Angel Minor

Angel Minor has been at SmartSign longer than most. Originally from Mississippi, she moved to New York seven years ago, and has been working at SmartSign and living in Harlem almost ever since. We talked about her job as Special Accounts Manager, her fundraising efforts, and her pet yorkie. Angel

Monica: You’re our Special Accounts Manager. What does that mean exactly?

Angel: That means that I do everything. My main thing is international shipping now. Before, we never shipped outside of the U.S., Canada, and maybe the Virgin Islands. So within the last year—it started in March or April of last year—we started to expand to branching out to shipping international. That’s my main thing. I handle that—any type of shipping concerns, I handle. I still help with sales, I still help with customer service, so anything they need me to do, I help, but international shipping is the main thing.

Monica: What countries do you have to deal with most often?

Angel: Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

Monica: OK. So all English speaking countries?

Angel: Yes. Oh, and Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. They spend the most money.

Monica: Have you noticed if any country prefers a certain type of sign?

Angel: Not signs. Saudi Arabia prefers asset tags. That’s all they order, nothing else. The U.K., they’ll mix it up here and there, but, specifically Saudi Arabia, all they want is asset tags.

Monica: Wow. What kind of companies are these?

Angel: The first two were for the railroad system there. They actually have a railroad system, and they use our asset tags to tag it. After that, they literally go by word of mouth, so anybody from Saudi Arabia would e-mail me and say, ‘Hey. I heard you work with such and such. Could you help me with asset tags?’

Monica: That’s awesome. So what is the best part of your job? I know that dealing with shipping is most of what you do now, but is that the part that you like best?

Angel: Because I’ve been here for so long, I needed something new, so it’s actually fun dealing with people from different countries. I teach a few of them some slang because I get close to a lot of my customers. They get really personal with me. I had one customer in Malaysia. She was happy with her labels, and she sent me a portable keyboard for my iPad.

Monica: Oh, nice. Why?

Angel: Just because. She asked me if I had an iPad and I said yes. I didn’t think anything of it and then two weeks later, a package came, and she had sent me that. So yeah, it’s fun. It’s just fun interacting with people. I like to see what types of signs other countries order. A lot of people from New Zealand order the yeti signs and the Segway signs.

Monica: I always wonder who orders the Yeti signs.

Angel: They order the yeti signs and the duck crossing signs.

Monica: That makes me want to go to New Zealand!

Angel: Exactly. It’s just fun to pinpoint the countries and what they order.

Monica: So how long have you been at SmartSign?

Angel: I’ve been at SmartSign since September of 2008, so I’ve been here six years.

Monica: And what did you start out as?

Angel: When I started, we literally had a handful of people. You didn’t have customer service or sales. You literally did everything because the call center, where you see all of the cubicles, that wasn’t there. We only had maybe six people out there. That was it.

Monica: I’m sure there was no downstairs?

Angel: No. There was no downstairs. It started out on the 21st floor, then they came up, but you didn’t need 21st floor because everybody was here. But, yeah, nobody had a particular customer service or sales type of job. You just kind of did it all. When it started to pick up, you still were kind of in the middle. Then, when business really started to pick up, they needed me in sales, because I know the product so I can sell it.

Monica: When you graduated from college, what did you think you would end up doing?

Angel: When I got out of college, I had thought I was going to work in sports because sports are my thing. I was a mass media major. My concentration was speech communications, but before it was speech, it was public relations. I had an internship with the Falcons. I loved the internship and the ability to see the world of professional sports, but I hated it because it showed me what public relations is about. I thought, I can’t spend my life doing this for crumbs. So, I switched my concentration my junior year. I just came to New York. I worked at J. Crew my first year. My friend from college worked here.

Monica: At SmartSign?

Angel: Yes. Her name was Belinda. She worked here. Her friend, who she met through a friend, was the old sales manager, and they got me my job here. I never thought that I would be dealing with signs ever in my life.

Monica: Why did you move to New York?

Angel: I always knew that I would live in New York one day. I used to travel a lot when I was a kid and came to New York frequently. I’m from the South. I knew I wasn’t going to stay in the South. I never say I wouldn’t go back, but I knew after college that I wasn’t staying here. I was like, ‘Look, I’m 22. Let’s wing it.’ and I came to New York.

Monica: So you were voted most philanthropic at the annual Smarty Awards during this year’s Holiday party. Can you tell me about the kind of causes that you’re involved in?

Angel: Because I got into running back in 2012, I run now and I’m involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma foundation. It’s called Team in Training. You pick an event that you want to do, and my event is the Nike Women’s DC Half. It’s a big event because it’s an all-women’s event, and also, instead of getting a medal when you finish, you actually get a Tiffany’s necklace, because Tiffany’s is a corporate sponsor of the race. Through that, you get to interact and meet people who are affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma. The irony of doing this is before, I had family members who were affected by cancer, but I never had anyone who was affected by Leukemia or Lymphoma. Then, two weeks ago, my aunt found out she has Leukemia, so it put a whole new spin on doing fundraising for this. It’s fun. This is like my first time ever doing a fundraiser, but I really enjoy it.

Angel running team

Angel after her first half marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half Marathon.

I’m also going to Jamaica in December with my running group. When we went last year, we donated all these school supplies to local schools, but they were in such need. This year we are all donating $10 and taking clothes to the schools.

Monica: That’s awesome. What’s your running group called?

Angel: I run with Black Girls RUN!, but this particular group that I am doing is called Team in Training. They’re nationwide. They are all over, and I am in the best chapter, the New York City chapter. We have the best training. We run Central Park and it’s hard, but it’s fun.

Monica: What’s the longest race you have ever done? Are you planning on running a marathon?

Angel: Yes. The longest I’ve ever done is a half marathon which is 13.1 miles. Every time I do it, I say I’ll never do it again. Then I sign up for one right after. I just did my second one. I did the Miami Half. I have eight more to do this year. I have two in April, two weeks apart. But yes, I’m actually doing my qualifying races this year because I’m doing the New York City marathon next year.

Monica: Wow.

Angel: It takes a lot out of you. You definitely have to train. I’m taking two years to train for it.

Monica: I never run.

Angel: I didn’t run either, but working at SmartSign, we always used to joke that we were going to put a lawsuit on SmartSign because we all just gained weight. So that’s why I picked up running. The first time I joined a group, I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just walk with the walkers.’ And that’s what I did. I lost like 20 pounds in the first month.

Then, you get around these women, and you see women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, and they’re doing Ironman Triathlons, and I’m in my 20s and just walking. It doesn’t feel right. You get those competitive juices. I started off at a 5K. Then I went from a 5K to a 10K. Now, I’ve gone half crazy. I’m trying to join this group called Half Marathon Maniacs, and I’d run three half marathons within 90 days.

Monica: So, what are your favorite SmartSign products? Do you have any SmartSign products at home?

Angel: Yes. I take mats home. I have this vintage store that I go to in Harlem. I do have a fondness of the sales price tags, because I hate when we bring the dumpster and just throw the stuff away, so I take the tags and the boxes and just give them to the store. Might as well get some use out of them.

Monica: Oh. That’s nice of you.

Angel dog

Paige, Angel’s dog.

Angel: Yeah, I just don’t want them to go to waste. But I think the tags, I think that’s my favorite, especially when they come in the fluorescent colors. Oh, and I like the doggy signs because I have a Yorkie.

Monica: How long have you had her?

Angel: I’ve had her two years now, but she’s bad.

Monica: What do you do with her during the day?

Angel: I’m lucky. My old roommate is a dog walker. So I pay her, like, $50 a week. She comes and gives her a midday walk. When I come home, I walk her also, so she gets two walks in a day.

Monica: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

Angel: It’s just amazing to see the transformation of SmartSign. Especially being a part of it for so long, I think that’s like the best thing that I enjoy about the job. I still have the original handbook from 2008 that we used to work on, so it’s funny seeing that and then seeing what we have now and all the changes. Before, we didn’t have anything about maternity leave in there. No one was pregnant. Now, we have three employees that have or are having a baby. It’s nice to see the transformation that it has gone through.

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