Like many others during the 1980s bust, Carol Levy was looking for something to do after her husband was laid off from an oil and gas company in Tyler.
Mrs. Levy, 60, had done commercial art but was a pregnant stay-at-home mother when Eric Levy, 64, lost his job as district manager for Schlumberger Oil Well Services. Levy went to a job market in Dallas and brought back a “For Sale by Owner” pamphlet and asked her if she thought they could bring something similar to Tyler. It was a new concept and targeted people who were trying to sell their homes and relocate after the oil business hit a low spell, she said.
With her artistic background and his business sense, the couple started Giraphics Type & Design out of their home in 1987. They started publishing a “For Sale by Owner” magazine and were one of the first in Tyler to start a desktop publishing company, Mrs. Levy said. The simple magazine helped homeowners market their homes using photos and descriptions. It became quite successful and continued for two years before they sold it to expand their typesetting and design services.
Giraphics evolved to offer advertisements, brochures, business forms, catalogs, fliers, invitations, illustrations, logos, magazines, menus, newsletters, package design, presentations, programs, resumes, stationery and specialty products. Their client base also has grown over the last 25 years. Some of their local clients include Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals & Clinics, city of Tyler, Tyler Economic Development Council, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler Junior College, The Gameface Co. and At Home Health Care.
Even with her short schooling, she said she started to apply everything she learned in that first year and has been applying it ever since. The family moved to Tyler in 1984 when Levy was transferred here by Schlumberger Oil Well Services.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Levy always doodled and drew.
“I think I was very gifted with the desire to create,” she said.
Mrs. Levy is the sole owner and the creative mind of Giraphics, doing graphic designs and illustrations, while her husband is semi-retired but takes care of the financials, computer consulting and being the “tech wizard.” Working beside her husband has been challenging at times.
“But we’ve both grown together,” she said. “We’re still married and we’re still working together … We’re dependent on each other.”
‘MOM AND POP’
“A lot of other design firms have come and gone since we’ve started our business,” Mrs. Levy said. “We’ve managed to tread the waters and stay afloat.”
After 25 years in the business, Mrs. Levy has no plans for retiring any time soon.
“As long as I can be creative, I’d like to stay that way,” she said.
She has also always had the desire to write and illustrate children’s books and hasn’t given up on that dream. “It’s not out of the ballpark yet. … I’m working on it,” she said, adding that she has been too busy doing other stuff.
For more information on Mrs. Levy’s business, visit www.giraphics.net.
If you know of a professional woman or business service in Tyler you think should be highlighted in this column, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-596-6289.