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HPPA Industry News

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:56 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    SanMar announced its Spring 2023 Fresh Takes launch featuring more than 120 new styles across 15 brands.

    • From expanded retail offerings in TravisMathew and Russell Outdoors and trend-forward looks from District and Port & Company to an exclusive licensing partnership with Brooks Brothers, SanMar is ready with new Fresh Takes on products for any branded merchandise needs.
    • To get into a springtime state of mind, SanMar is adding 13 breezy new workleisure styles from TravisMathew that balance style and functional comfort for teams who believe in looking good and having fun! There are also 14 new looks from Port Authority inspired by the golf resort lifestyle – think effortless uniforming with polished polos, cotton-rich comfort, crossbody bags and woven throws.
    • “This spring, our new product offering ranges from tailored to casual, outfitting teams in the workplace, outdoors or at play,” says Shel Renning, vice president of merchandising at SanMar. “What all of our new products have in common is that they help our customers expand the definition of comfortable want-to-wear apparel.”
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:55 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    PromoHunt has partnered with PromoCares to power its new print-on-demand fundraising online merchandise store.

    • Profits from this store’s purchases will support the Planet Water Foundation, a non-profit focused on bringing clean water to the world’s most impoverished communities, through the installation of community-based water filtration systems and education programs.
    • For a limited time from now through January 12, if you purchase a Water is a Human Right Tee for $25, 100% of your purchase will be donated, thanks to S&S Activewear’s blank tee donation, Supacolor’s digital transfer donation and PromoHunt’s donation of its decoration services and print on demand online store platform.
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:53 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Monday morning, thousands of promotional products professionals entered the Mandalay Convention Center in Las Vegas for the start of The PPAI Expo, looking to forge new connections and apply new skills and knowledge to their businesses.

    Monday night, the PPAI Chair’s Leadership Dinner recognized four men and women who have set a standard for excellence in the world of promo – not only as successful entrepreneurs, but as industry ambassadors who have given back to their profession and their communities.

    The night also included a salute to the Promotional Products Education Foundation and 2022 PPAI Rising Stars.

    Late in the evening came a traditional ceremony at The PPAI Expo, the passing of the gavel from PPAI Board Chair Dawn Olds, MAS+, to Incoming Chair Kevin Walsh, CAS.

    Olds' term will expire at the conclusion of The PPAI Expo. She opened the evening with a welcome to all attendees, and over the course of the night gave way to Walsh, who wished everyone a successful experience at The PPAI Expo 2023.

    In addition to the induction of new Hall of Fame members, the night was also a reunion of six previous Hall of Fame inductees and numerous former PPAI Board Chairs.

    The PPAI Hall of Fame Inductees: Carol D. Aastad, MAS, and Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS

    Aastad and Sokalski, both industry trailblazers, made history Monday night as the first two women ever inducted into the same PPAI Hall of Fame class.

    A promo veteran of nearly 30 years, Aastad didn’t join the industry until her 40s but quickly found her calling as an entrepreneur and volunteer. She recalls attending her first PPAI show in Atlanta in 1983, when women comprised only 7% of the industry. Now, that figure is well over 50%, she said.

    Aastad played a significant part in that development. Not only did she find individual success at multiple companies, including Harlan & Davis, which she founded, and Geiger, where she worked until her retirement, Aastad served as PPAI Board Chair in 2004 and helped establish the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference.

    “For 29 years, I enjoyed an exhilarating, fun, satisfying, meaningful and, yes, profitable business,” she said. “Having a career in this industry changed my life. It truly changed my life. It gave me the independence, the realization and the satisfaction that I could support myself. And I had so much fun doing it. I loved this industry.”

    For decades, Sokalski also has demonstrated a special talent and passion for promo. Since joining the industry in 1981, her “superpower” at multiple companies has been creative marketing – finding unique ways for distributors and suppliers alike to reach customers. (See: the bags of dirt she once mailed to clients, symbolizing a ‘dirt cheap’ product offer.)

    And, like Aastad, Sokalski has paid it forward as an industry volunteer on various committees and the PPAI Board.

    “It is with the utmost humility that I thank all of you for noticing me, encouraging me to serve, to teach, and for the unforgettable experience I have had working with you, volunteering with you, learning from you and playing with you,” she said.

    Aastad was introduced by Geiger President and CEO Jo-an Lantz, MAS. Longtime industry pro Julie Heller introduced Soklaski.

    The PPAI Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Roger Burnett, CAS

    Burnett, founder of Ohio-based distributor Social Good Promotions, discovered at an early age that his first career choice – music – just wasn’t in the cards.

    “No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make the thing [a cornet] make a sound,” he said.

    He found satisfaction and inspiration through writing – instilling happiness in others with thoughtful letters. Years later, he has applied that approach to promo through “the power of collaboration” – working with peers to not only advance the industry but also help others in need.

    “I’m grateful for the many collaborations that have presented themselves to me during my career,” he said. “Many of you have heard me talk about how exciting it is for me to happen upon a new opportunity to work together with others whose skills and talents I so admire, and in no other community have I been afforded as many opportunities as I have been as a part of this industry,” he said.

    Burnett has been a determined advocate for the industry. His company, Social Good Promotions, focuses heavily on corporate social responsibility in its work with partners and clients. Burnett founded PromoCares, which encourages social and environmental responsibility in the promotional products industry and the community. And he’s a “founding chef” of PromoKitchen, which provides education and mentorship in the industry.

    PPAI H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award Recipient: Danny Rosin, CAS

    Like Burnett, Rosin’s path to promo started with teenage setbacks – specifically, detention.

    To wipe school demerits from his record, Rosin – now president and co-owner of North Carolina-based distributor Brand Fuel – started a community service club called The Happy Club. Unique fundraising events brought students together to help people in need.

    That was the spark for Rosin’s career in marketing with a higher purpose. In addition to his outstanding work at Brand Fuel, Rosin has demonstrated a philanthropic spirit in projects and initiatives such as PromoCares, Band Together and Reciprocity Road.

    “Every single one of you has the potential individually and even better, collectively, to rise up and do something in the face of adversity,” he said. “Helping our fellow humans is a responsibility. It’s a moral imperative.

    “…We spend too much time trying to gain things we think we need. Life needs to be measured by who we are, how we treat people, our attitudes and kindness. We need to start looking out for each other as well as ourselves.”

    Rosin introduced Burnett to the stage, while Rosin was welcomed by Brand Fuel co-founder Robert Fiveash.

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:50 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    HALO announced a sales milestone last night at the distributor’s annual Sales Achievement Gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas in conjunction with The PPAI Expo. The Sterling, Illinois-based company recorded sales in excess of $1 billion in 2022.

    HALO is the first industry distributor to announce crossing the $1 billion annual sales mark. In a late 2022 press release, 4imprint Group (PPAI 107200, D15) reported that based on its business performance to-date, it expected to also exceed $1 billion in sales in 2022.

    “This milestone is the result of a singular focus by every member of our team – creating breakthrough results for our clients with innovation, integrity and collaboration,” says Marc Simon, HALO CEO. “Our account executives continue to grow through a combination of creativity, determination and using HALO tools to deepen client relationships. This passion has fueled our growth and we are thrilled to celebrate the success that, collectively, our team continues to create.”

    Jim Stutz, HALO executive vice president of sales, marketing, and business development, says, “Our goal is to be the best. Being the biggest just happened as a result. Our culture of ingenuity, accountability and inclusion has provided a foundation for delivering superior results. We are humbled by what we have accomplished. We realize to build on the positive momentum we have created there is more we can – and will – do to enhance the HALO relationship with our key stakeholders.”

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:34 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Geiger has acquired Incentives by Design, a Washington-based branded merchandise company. The acquisition was finalized and effective January 5.

    • Geiger will retain all employees and the business will now operate under the name “Incentives by Design, a Geiger company.”
    • “Incentives by Design is known throughout the industry for providing outstanding customer service,” said Geiger Chief Revenue Officer Chris McKee. “When we look at potential acquisitions, finding an organization with a customer-first mentality is a must-have. As we continue to grow, we are doing so in a way that only further improves our customers’ experience. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Geiger family and are confident we’ll be even more successful together.”
    • Located in Tukwila, Washington, Incentives by Design was founded in 1990 by cousins Bill and Rich Hirshberg, both currently serving as principals of the company. In addition to promotional items, Incentives by Design specializes in safety and workwear, golf attire and accessories, and school uniforms and sportswear.
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:32 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Gemline announced a long-term strategic partnership with Concept One Accessories, the exclusive licensee for New Balance bags.

    • This will enable Gemline to offer New Balance bags to the promotional products market in the United States, and brings one of the world’s largest athletic brands and their in-demand products to Gemline’s growing portfolio of premium brand partners.
    • New Balance products are being introduced as part of Gemline’s new Spring 2023 Collection.
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:26 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The PPAI Expo began with a major industry announcement.

    During Monday's opening session in Las Vegas, Chris Anderson, CEO of Boston-based supplier HPG (PPAI 110772, S11) announced the company's acquisition of fellow supplier Evans Manufacturing (PPAI 110747, S11), based in Garden Grove, California.

    The deal brings Evans Manufacturing together with HPG and its many industry brands – Hub, Beacon, Best, Debco, BCG Creations, Origaudio, Handstands, Batch & Bodega, Mixie and SugarSpot – and adds new North American manufacturing capabilities to HPG’s portfolio with the addition of Evans’ facilities in Southern California and Nogales, Mexico.

    The Acquisition

    Evans was founded in 1983 as an injection molding company with a focus on retail markets. It moved into promotional products in 1992. Today, it specializes in plastics and fabric products for the promotional merchandise field.

    • It operates in many categories, including healthcare, household, office, drinkware, pet, writing instruments, travel, auto, golf, outdoor, tech, spirit, school and more.
    • Most of its products are designed and manufactured in-house.
    • It added a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nogales in 2008. There, it produces tote bags and other cut-and-sew items. In the U.S., it produces more than 200 additional products.

    The supplier has won numerous industry awards, including the PPAI Supplier Star award, and has been named to the PPAI Magazine Greatest Companies To Work For list as recently as 2021.

    As part of the transaction, Alan Vaught, president of Evans, will continue to lead it as division president and is a significant HPG shareholder.

    In Their Words

    “The partnership with HPG represents the culmination of many years of hard work and dedicated service by the entire Evans team,” says Vaught. “I have been blessed by the talents of so many key contributors throughout the journey, and it is humbling to see this business that started as a two-person operation evolve into the respected market leader that it has become.

    “I am thrilled to embark on this next chapter, in partnership with the proven team at HPG, and our shared values and perspective on the bright future of the combined Evans-HPG enterprise, and the industry, generally, has made for a seamless transition.”

    Anderson says, “Evans has rightfully earned a stellar reputation for promotional hard goods and customer service excellence, which makes it a perfect fit for the HPG family. I am delighted to welcome the abundance of talent and expanded capabilities Evans has to offer and can reassure customers HPG’s philosophy is to do no harm – we will not disrupt what clearly has been working so well. We look forward to knowledge-sharing with our new team members and working together to make HPG the preeminent promotional hard goods supplier.”

  • 12 Jan 2023 3:53 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Austin, Texas-based distributor Boundless Network, Inc. (PPAI 267078, D11) has announced two external C-level additions to its team. Huntley Tarrant and Ethan Rudin are joining Boundless as the company’s COO and CFO, respectively. Both Ivy League alumni have executive-level experience in the tech sector and represent a continuation of new faces in Boundless’ top brass.

    Huntley Tarrant is joining Boundless as the company’s chief operating officer.

    • The COO position is a newly created role that Tarrant will step into.
    • The role is loosely defined as “leading all aspects of Boundless operations that drive customer success.”
    • Tarrant has over 10 years of executive-level experience in the technology sector at Dell and Austin-based software company Accurent, as well as startups she had a hand in founding.
    • She has a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.
    • Tarrant also served the role of senior associate consultant at Bain & Company, a business consulting provider.

    “Ms. Tarrant has an outstanding track record developing exceptional service organizations, leading transformational process improvements, and implementing technology-based solutions,” says Dave Klotter, CEO of Boundless. “We are thrilled Huntley will be leading Boundless’ efforts in these areas, which we believe are fundamental to Boundless and its future success.”

    Ethan Rudin will fill the role of Boundless’ Chief Financial Officer.

    • Rudin has served key roles in financial institutions such as vice president of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., associate at JPMorgan and associate at Bank of America Securities.
    • He previously held the roles of CFO of music streaming provider Napster/Rhapsody and director of corporate development for Starbucks.
    • Rudin has a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School.

    These hires come less than six months after Boundless named Klotter the company’s CEO. Previously, Klotter was the CEO and a board member of industry supplier TSC Apparel, which was acquired by S&S Activewear in 2021.

    • Boundless was founded in 2005 and “uses proprietary tech solutions to help clients build creative campaigns and curate thoughtful products that will be kept, used and appreciated.”

    “Huntley and Ethan are exceptional executives, and we are thrilled they are joining the Boundless team,” says Mr. Klotter. “They are both growth-minded leaders who will reinforce Boundless’ mission to be the premier distributor platform for the best sales professionals in the promotional industry.”

  • 12 Jan 2023 3:50 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Gemline (PPAI 113948, S11) has announced leadership changes at the Lawrence, Massachusetts-based company. Frank Carpenito, currently the supplier’s president, has been promoted to president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Jonathan Isaacson, currently chair and CEO, will become executive chair.

    Carpenito was named Gemline’s president in 2019, following a five-year term on the company’s board of directors.

    • Prior to joining the company, he spent three decades in the consumer product industry, including CEO and president positions.
    • Carpenito has held leadership roles at BigMouth, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Pepsi-Cola and Newell-Rubbermaid/Berol, among others.
    • He currently serves on the board of One Family, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit committed to ending family homelessness.

    As president, Carpenito was responsible for the day-to-day running of Gemline. As president and CEO, he will retain overall responsibility for all functions, day-to-day operations and the implementation of the company’s strategic plans. He will also play an increased role in supporting Isaacson’s efforts in the industry and community.

    Isaacson, as executive chair, will shift his focus toward Gemline’s vision and strategy, continuous improvement and industry outreach.

    • He intends to also expand his efforts to support the supplier’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.

    “Gemline has achieved tremendous growth over the last three years under Frank’s day-to-day leadership, despite a very challenging environment,” says Isaacson. “I am confident that, by staying true to our core values, delivering an exceptional customer experience, innovating relentlessly, and developing our internal teams, Frank will ensure we continue to grow and prosper and consistently exceed the expectations of our distributor partners.”

    Carpenito says, “I am honored that Jonathan has entrusted me to lead Gemline. Gemline holds a very special place in the industry thanks to Jonathan’s many years of exceptional leadership. He continues to be a well-respected leader and visionary in our industry, while also serving as an effective mentor to me and many others across our company.

    “I look forward to continuing to partner with him and the entire Gemline team to realize our ambitious strategic goals.”

  • 6 Jan 2023 1:02 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business has announced new members joining their Vendor Advisory Board, effective January 1, 2023.

    Since 2019, the Vendor Advisory Board has continued to assist in propelling American into a future that successfully collaborates with suppliers and distributors in a way that both sides are heard and appreciated. Although the inaugural team served an extra year, members moving forward will serve a total of two years.

    “We feel great about where this board has brought us thus far,” says Dana Zezzo, VP of Marketing, Vendor Relations & Events. “The impact that these individuals have already made towards our approach to the relationships we’re building with our suppliers is incredible.”

    Incoming members for 2023-2025 include: Kim Newell (Gold Bond), John Abbott (Abbot Label, Inc.), Mark Gammon (Cap America), and Kevin Mullaney (PDF Print).

    They will be joining the following members that will be rolling off in 2024: Marc Held (alphabroder), Dan Taylor (BamBams), Melissa Ralston (Koozie Group), Beth Marston (Navitor), Jarod Thorndike (SAGE), Kevin Walsh (Showdown Displays), Roni Wright (The Book Co.) and Bob Saunders (Wise).

    Members rolling off the board after serving from 2019-2022 include: Steven Osterloh (Ennis), Scott Leonard (Hit Promotional Products), Phil Sperling (Print Co.) and Miles Wadsworth (Logo Mats, LLC).
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