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HPPA Industry News

  • 6 Jun 2023 4:25 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    In a new partnership between The St Regis Group and TUMI, St Regis will become a supplier for a select range of TUMI premium bags, backpacks and luggage in Canada and the U.S.

    “TUMI is a cherished international brand, and we are thrilled to introduce their line of products to our customers,” says Richard Firkser, president and CEO of the St Regis Group. “TUMI brings exceptional quality and high-performance products to our growing collection of bags, backpacks, and now luggage.”

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 6 Jun 2023 4:23 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    HALO hosted its national sales meeting – Breakthrough Summit 2023 – on May 21-24 at the iconic Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    More than 600 industry professionals attended the event. Highlights included small group Impression Sessions with key HALO preferred suppliers, training on HALO’s exclusive sales tools and a trade show with 166 of HALO’s Preferred Suppliers exhibiting.

    HALO CEO Marc Simon, says, “This was a highly successful week, where our sales team, suppliers and staff came together to celebrate, renew our sense of community, and grasp the power of HALO’s tools and services. Whether they were one of our first-time attendees, some of whom were brand-new to HALO, or one of the 149 million-dollar plus producers with decades of HALO experience, attendees left energized and prepared for a big second half of the year.”

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 6 Jun 2023 4:22 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Kaeser & Blair has announced promotions within its leadership team to propel the company for future growth.

    Scott Baker has been appointed chief operating officer. Baker began his career at Kaeser & Blair in 1998 and has been responsible for building and managing the technological infrastructure of the systems. Baker has been instrumental in developing operational policies and has been involved in all internal departments with a vision for the future state of the operation.

    Liza Sachs has been appointed chief revenue officer. Sachs has been in the promotional products industry with suppliers and distributors since 1996. With her extensive background, she has the ideal vision of what is needed to ensure a successful partnership for the future growth of Kaeser & Blair. She began her career with Kaeser & Blair in 2022 as director of sales and has expanded the role and will now oversee all sales, marketing, publications and supplier relations. 

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 2 Jun 2023 11:05 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    With summer just around the corner, VisionUSA, a leading provider of promotional products, has announced its latest partnership with URBANISTA, a Swedish technology company that specializes in “lifestyle” audio technology including the world’s first self-charging, SOLAR POWERED wireless headphones and earbuds.   As part of this collaboration, VisionUSA will be adding the Los Angles Headphones and the Phoenix Earbuds to its impressive list of brands, offering a premium, sustainable, and reliable choice for enjoying music and podcasts.

    The partnership between VisionUSA and URBANISTA combines the expertise and experience of two industry leaders to provide a unique offering to customers in the promotional product industry. With a shared commitment to innovation, quality, and sustainable technology, this collaboration aims to deliver exceptional audio products that align with the growing demand for eco-friendly solutions.

    The Los Angeles solar powered headphones and Phoenix solar powered earbuds by URBANISTA are designed to revolutionize the way we experience audio while reducing our carbon footprint. These products harness the power of the sun, featuring integrated solar panels that efficiently convert solar energy into extended playtime, making them an ideal choice for those seeking environmentally conscious audio solutions.

    "We are thrilled to partner with URBANISTA and introduce their exceptional solar powered headphones and earbuds to our valued customers in the promotional product industry," said Felix Soliz, President of VisionUSA.  “URBANISTA's commitment to sustainable technology, combined with their reputation for delivering outstanding audio experiences, perfectly aligns with our mission to offer innovative and eco-friendly products. We are confident that this partnership will provide our customers with a unique opportunity to promote their brand while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability."

    For 20 years, VisionUSA has been providing high-quality, branded merchandise to clients across the country. VisionUSA has become a trusted name in the promotional product space with a commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, VisionUSA offers customized solutions that help businesses effectively promote their brands.

    URBANISTA is a renowned audio brand known for its stylish and high-quality headphones and earbuds. Combining Scandinavian design with advanced audio technology, URBANISTA creates products that enhance the audio experience and reflect the latest trends in fashion and culture. With a focus on sustainability, URBANISTA strives to minimize its environmental impact by incorporating eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient features into their products.

    The Solar Powered Headphone and Earbuds will be available through VisionUSA starting June 2023, just in time for the summer event season. For more information about VisionUSA and their line of promotional products, visit www.vision1usa.com. 

  • 1 Jun 2023 9:16 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Top 8 promotional products supplier HPG announces the onboarding of industry veteran Alex Symms as Director of Sales of their Garden Grove California subsidiary Evans Manufacturing.   Symms joins HPG and Evans with a combined twenty year management background with promotional products suppliers such as Chameleon and most recently PowerStick.com. 

    “I’ve had the good fortune of partnering with all functions of the manufacturing sector throughout my career, including R&D, sales and marketing and leadership and management,” says Symms.  “I am excited to join an incredible team of forward-thinking leaders that take corporate branded merchandise to an enhanced level with industry leading products and award-winning service.”

    Evans Manufacturing is the latest addition to HPG’s line-up of brands, and Symms plans to incorporate the latest technologies, such as AI, in his sales strategies.  “I learned a long time ago that you either adapt to change, or get left behind, and that mindset pushes me to always be aware of new trends and identifying what might be coming up in the future.”

    HPG CRO Trina Bicknell says, "I am very excited to add Alex to the HPG award-winning sales team and know that with his vast experience he will lead the Evans sales team to further success!"

    Symms, his wife and two sons, nineteen and fifteen years old, are based in the Houston area.  “My weekends usually consist of either being on the sideline of a rugby pitch or along a fence line at a baseball tournament as both my sons are very active in sports,” he says.  “You can usually find me outdoors enjoying the fresh air.  I am always game for a spontaneous adventure!”
  • 30 May 2023 2:01 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Fossa Apparel, has clarified and formalized its executive structure to manage the growth of its in-line and custom business segments.

    • Judy Chen, founder and owner, will continue to lead all product development and merchandising for both business segments.
    • Michelle Chen, formerly director of sales, becomes president and takes on a more strategic role to leverage her experience, knowledge and industry visibility to position Fossa for long-term growth. She will be supported by an increased internal sales support team.
    • Eric Chen will continue in his role of CEO/GM managing all production, distribution, IT and training.
    • Will Tang will continue in his role of CFO overseeing the financial aspects of the business.
    • Tim Mason will continue as VP of sales overseeing the sales organization and the direction and management of all national accounts.
  • 30 May 2023 1:56 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The 2023 PPAI Woman of Achievement honor is twice as nice. The Association on Monday announced two winners: Brittany David, MAS, and Patricia Dugan, MAS.

    For 14 years, PPAI has awarded women who’ve spurred the industry forward. Their outstanding leadership, dedication and talent have impressed peers, empowered other women and energized entire communities. For David and Dugan, their impact is undeniable and deserving of praise.

    During a special ceremony, David and Dugan will be recognized Sunday, June 25, at the opening of the 2023 PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), taking place at Omni Viking Lakes Hotel in Eagan, Minnesota.

    David is chief revenue officer for SnugZ USA and an 18-year veteran of the promotional products industry, the last 13 years with SnugZ. David is an advocate for the industry and completed a five-year term on the PPAI Board of Directors, serving as Chair in 2019.

    Upon hearing the news, David said, “Wow! Thanks to the committee and the Board. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing people in this industry.”

    A proven and driven leader, David serves on several advisory groups and committees. She is a PPAI Fellow and recently, was presented with the Supplier Visionary award by A Woman’s View, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the promotional products industry, and named to one of the most influential people in the industry. David’s creative star power and engaging personality have landed her numerous industry recognitions, and she has been a panelist, guest speaker and keynote for many industry events. She currently volunteers for Adopt A Native and has a passion for the Wounded Warrior Project.

    In David’s application, nominator and PPAI Hall of Fame recipient Teresa Moisant, MAS, calls her the “jewel of the industry.”

    Moisant says, “In today’s world, role models are more important than ever. Women increasingly play a crucial role in the advancement of our industry. With an aging industry demographic, our future success depends on not only women, but Millennial business executives within our ranks. Both represent fresh faces with new perspectives, limitless energy, creative innovation and unparalleled passion for the sales and marketing solutions we deliver.

    “Brittany David is one of these role models and the way she lives shows others ‘if they see it (her), they can do it (lead), too!’ Brittany is authentic in every sense of the word. Her energy is contagious and sustained. Brittany believes attitude counts and her positivity inspires others. She leads everyone she meets to seize the day.”

    Dugan is vice president of sales and marketing for BUDGETCARD and has worked within the promotional products industry for almost 50 years. Dugan has served in dozens of Board positions within PPAI as well as Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) chair from 2015-2017, leading the nonprofit through a defining period of change that ultimately led to it increasing scholarships to the highest dollar amount ever awarded in a single year at that time.

    When she heard the news, Dugan said, “Huge ‘wow!’ I can say without hesitation that I was not expecting this!”

    Dugan earned the distinction of receiving the New England Promotional Products Association (NEPPA) Person of the Year in 1987, is a PPAI Fellow and a recipient of the PPAI Distinguished Service Award. She has been a dedicated volunteer and board member for two regional associations, NEPPA and Caribbean Advertising Specialties Association (CASA), and is a well-respected role model within the promo industry. Dugan is also actively involved in her community, serving on committees for nonprofits like Linden Place and Manton Avenue Project and in her church, St. Alexander Church.

    In her application, Carol Boutwell, executive director of NEPPA, describes Dugan as a “true champion.” PPAI Hall of Fame member Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS, says she was “flabbergasted” that Dugan hadn’t already been recognized.

    In a letter, Sokalski says, “Here is a superstar volunteer and fundraiser for over 43 years who should be on one of our industry’s highest pedestals, but she continually dodges the limelight.

    “When I first met her over 40 years ago, I watched her from afar, noting the lines of raving fans and friends who waited to speak to her, to be helped by her. Always smiling, always a solutions provider, Pat built an army of customers and competitors as friends and supporters.”

    Solaski says Dugan can no longer shun the spotlight. “Since our time on the Board, Pat continues to volunteer, mentor, help, support and cheerlead for everything PPAI and her regional associations, CASA and PRASA, especially as an advocate for women. Without ever asking for recognition, or saying ‘no.’

    PPAI invites the industry to join in congratulating and thanking these two women for their immeasurable contributions to our lives and industry.

    Written by: Kristina Valdez

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 30 May 2023 11:53 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    NC Custom is excited to announce the addition of 30-year promotional products industry veteran Scott Anderson to its senior sales team as Program Business Development Specialist.  Scott has joined the team targeting specific strategic accounts with a goal of expanding NC Custom’s product placement within corporate programs. The addition of Anderson furthers the company’s continued push to expand its reach and recognition within the industry.

    “We are excited to add a top talent like Scott Anderson to our sales team,” said Lance Stier, NC Custom Chairman and CEO. “Scott has a proven track record of delivering growth in programs and key strategic accounts. We are excited for him to partner closely with our sales leadership across the US and Canada to drive strategic top-line growth.”

    “Scott exhibits the same traits that are consistent throughout our organization… service and communication.  He will dive into the program business of many of our distributor partners and assist them in supporting their client needs in every aspect.” said David Miller, NC Custom President

    Scott brings to bear over 20 years of experience working at PCNA, where he served in multiple sales roles to help foster the growth in their apparel and hard goods business. He then went on to become a key member at Facilisgroup, helping to serve the promotional products industry with technology to build new solutions for over 5,000 users.

    NC Custom has invested heavily in building a leading domestic, multi-category manufacturing operation in the past decade. Anderson’s focus will be driving sales across this platform, including two significant recent core initiatives: ACE USA and Creatively Kitted. ACE, which NC Custom acquired in 2020, is the largest resort merchandise collections supplier, combining apparel, hard goods, and accessories. The line, offered exclusively via NC Custom in the corporate markets, differentiates itself from current market offerings in bringing a resort vibe to classic basics, plus a give back to the National Park Foundation. Creatively Kitted is the company’s best-selling kitting line, which combines products across edible, hard goods, and apparel with thematic fun branding, and on-trend design, leveraging NC Custom’s parent company’s experience in the retail markets.

    At NC Custom, Anderson plans to bring this wealth of knowledge to bear on the vast array of products being offered. “I am so excited to be part of the NC Custom team.  With a product mix that addresses 85% of product sold in our space, including apparel, and a team that will do anything possible to support their customers, the sky is the limit.” said Anderson.

  • 25 May 2023 2:30 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Some inventoried fabrics from industry supplier Next Level Apparel have been shown to contain cotton originating in the Xinjiang region of China.

    In recent months, the Los Angeles-based company has taken several steps to bring its sourcing closer to the U.S. and under greater scrutiny.

    At Issue

    Independent testing conducted on behalf of clothing brand Nine Line Apparel identified material in some Next Level Apparel T-shirts as being of Xinjiang origin. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, signed into law in December 2021, bans all imports from China’s Xinjiang province under the presumption that all goods from the area are produced with forced labor.

    “When Nine Line raised concerns, we took timely action to address them and protect the integrity of our products,” Next Level Apparel CEO Randy Hales tells PPAI Media. “We offered the company the opportunity to return its inventory and subsequently quarantined it. We conducted our own testing, discovered a very small amount of our fabric inventory tested positive and quarantined that inventory. We have also terminated our relationship with the supplier in question.

    “This is an industry-wide challenge – and NLA continues to take action to help ensure our partners and their products align with our strong commitment to responsible sourcing.”

    Sourcing Today

    Many companies in the promotional merchandise market are reconsidering sourcing their goods from China. At the 2022 PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, more than 80% of compliance professionals in attendance signaled that they were looking to move production out of the country.

    This year, Next Level Apparel has made several moves to bring its sourcing closer to home. It has transitioned all incoming fabric to 100% U.S. grown cotton, as well as initiated a partnership with Oritain to provide origin verification for its worldwide cotton program, and with GK Global and Grupo M to strengthen nearshore production accessibility.

    “Responsible sourcing is one of NLA’s highest priorities and we will continue to take action to address this industry-wide challenge,” Hales says. “As company policy, we require all global fabric vendors to use 100% U.S. grown cotton for fabric purchase orders and, in partnership with Oritain, have implemented a robust testing program for additional verification.

    “All our suppliers are required to sign affidavits to guarantee the fabrics they provide come from untainted sources, to continually update their sourcing information, and to undergo onsite inspections. We have also pursued partnerships to nearshore much of our fabric production in Latin America.”

    China and the sourcing challenges are an ongoing topic of concern and discussion in the promotional products industry. The issue will again be part of the discussion at the 2023 PPAI Product Responsibility Summit.

    Written by: James Khattak

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 23 May 2023 10:47 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    eLead Promo mourns the passing of Dan Feldman, senior account manager, on April 20 in Thousand Oaks, California.

    • Feldman joined the company in 2017 bringing his passion for navigating logistics, solving problems, hunting down products and providing his clients with honest service. The company’s news release says he had a calming voice and the best dad jokes, and will be greatly missed as a colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend. 
    • Previously, Feldman owned a series of distributorships and a print shop.
    • He is survived by his wife Marcy, son Jake, daughter Emilia, granddaughter Olive and his dogs Athena and Mikey.
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