Howard and Mimi Shin began their trophy and engraving business in August 1983 with the goal of helping people celebrate the best moments and inspirations in life.
Originally from South Korea, where Howard was an aircraft purchaser for Korean Airlines and Mimi was a nursing student, they moved to the United States with the belief that if you worked hard and cared about your neighbors, the possibilities were limitless.
They had to start over again in America so Howard took jobs as a milk man and machinist and Mimi worked as a nurse so they could save enough to start a small business. Wanting to inspire and help people, they eventually took over a small engraving and gift business in a small kiosk inside a supermarket in Northridge, CA.
Over the years, Howard and Mimi expanded to a new storefront not far from the original location and changed the name to "Trophy Plus" since they were able to add more products such as trophies, plaques, medals, ribbons, and plastic signs. They also incorporated a computerized engraving machine and a sublimation printing method.
Along the way, there were many challenges. In 1994, the Northridge earthquake destroyed the business so severely that the Shins expected to close down. However, a low interest rate government recovery loan (Thank you, America!) allowed them to rebuild and add a new laser engraving machine for plaques, which they still use today.
Today, Trophy Plus is a one-stop shop that provides products quickly and can scale from small orders to large corporate orders. They make various types of awards, including academic awards, acrylic awards, crystal awards, glass awards, plaques, star awards, eagle awards, victory cups, and all types of sports awards. Also, they provide engraving services, embroidery, specialty printing, and personalized gifts services. Name tags, name plates, and engraved plastic signs are their specialty. Due to client demand, they have also added apparel design and printing such as personalized jerseys for sports teams, t-shirts for organizations and corporate shirts with embroidery.
Howard and Mimi strongly believe that “customer satisfaction comes ﬁrst” so it’s no surprise that many of their customers have been with them since the small kiosk shop over 30 years ago.
Howard and Mimi are the proud parents of two daughters who have both decided to become public servants to give back to the country that gave their family so much. Laura is an attorney that works for the federal government and lives in Washington DC with her husband Frank and son August. Their other daughter June is a U.S. diplomat who lives in London with her husband John.