Women Who Achieve: Shari Spiro
Ad Magic Inc.
I had been with another bank for years, but PNC really gets what I’m doing — the fun part of the business as well as the financial pressures that come with operating a business. I know I can rely on PNC to help me grow.
Playing the Hand We’re Dealt
Whether Shari Spiro anticipated the recent resurgence of tabletop card and board games or just happened to be in the right business at the right time, she has certainly leveraged this trend, tripling revenues of her New Jersey-based company, Ad Magic, in the past five years.
“In 1989, I established Imagics [renamed Ad Magic in 1997], as a promotional-item manufacturer,” Shari says. “One day, a deck of playing cards landed on my desk and I recognized an opportunity. After launching a website that took the No. 1 spot on Google, we started manufacturing branded cards for a tremendous number of corporations, casinos, performing artists and even some high-level government agencies.”
But the real break for Ad Magic came in 2011, when Shari got a call from a game creator who wondered if she might be interested in manufacturing card packs for a new game. She took on the assignment, and Ad Magic thrived as Cards Against Humanity became the top-selling game on Amazon.com within a month of its May 2011 release and went on to become a global phenomenon. This lucrative win kicked off a steady stream of tabletop game opportunities for Ad Magic.
“The renaissance in tabletop games [now a billion-dollar industry] reflects the younger generation’s quest to take a break from technology and interact personally with their peers,” Shari says. “It also represents a great business opportunity for those of us who love the industry.”
Shari has capitalized on that opportunity by not only expanding her staff at Ad Magic but also establishing a second company in New Jersey, Breaking Games, to publish, promote and distribute games. Her Print & Play division, in Washington state, produces prototypes for her clients, and she runs a game development studio in California. She has built relationships with manufacturing vendors to augment her company’s production capacity, and participates in industry trade shows around the world to reinforce her reputation as the “wizard” who can bring even the most complex and outrageous game concepts to life.
“We’re working now with a team in New Zealand who had been involved with a blockbuster motion-picture trilogy and now want to try their hand at developing their own board games, which will be based on art created by one of the most talented artists in that industry. We’ll help them develop gameplay and support any additional needs they may have as they move forward,” Shari adds.
Who’s supporting Shari’s needs? PNC, for one. Shari says she trusts PNC for her personal and business banking, and values her personal relationship with her banker. “I had been with another bank for years, but PNC really gets what I’m doing — the fun part of the business as well as the financial pressures that come with operating a business,” she says. “Whether it’s a line of credit or the mortgage for my new building, I know I can rely on PNC to help me grow.”
Shari Spiro, President
Company: Ad Magic Inc.
Location: Netcong, NJ
Websites: admagic.com, breakinggames.com
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- 2016 EY U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year finalist
- 2015 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies, Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO)
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