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HPPA Industry News

  • 14 Dec 2022 10:59 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Peter Cohen has joined the Outdoor Cap Company  executive team as the new head of product.

    • Cohen has worked with many of the world’s leading companies and brands (e.g., LinkedIn and Levi’s), license-holders (e.g., Harry Potter and Marvel), retailers and supermarkets (e.g., Marks & Spencer & Sports Direct), franchises (e.g., Church’s Chicken & Hardee’s) and Amazon sellers.
    • Cohen will lead the company’s product roadmap and global sourcing strategy.
    • “Peter’s vast background in sourcing and product leadership will bring a high-level focus to crafting our strategic approach moving forward. He will be leveling up that approach, and our leadership team is excited to partner with him on continuous improvement of our people, customer, partner, and product experience,” says Outdoor Cap CEO Jeanelle Harris.
  • 14 Dec 2022 10:53 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    St Regis Group (PPAI 230188, S6) has acquired fellow Canadian-based supplier Clearmount Plastics Limited (PPAI 174351, S5), strengthening its position as a leader in the awards, recognition and corporate giftware space.

    Clearmount, which also produces premier customized awards and recognition products, will move its staff and operations from Scarborough to St Regis’ Canadian manufacturing facility in Markham, about 20 minutes away.

    “We’re really excited about the acquisition by St Regis,” says Kate Plummer, vice president of sales at marketing at Clearmount. “It allows us to grow even more. We’re able to expand our award capsules like our Arbre designs and build out our custom acrylic capabilities even more. St Regis is well established in the award space and our technical capabilities and skilled staff will bring even more to their offerings.

    Plummer adds, “Clearmount will be a brand under St Regis and still offer the creative work and great customer service that we’re known for.”

    Founded in 1999 with operations also based in Illinois, St Regis has expanded its footprint with mergers and acquisitions in recent years, including a 2016 merger with New York-based supplier K&R New York and the 2020 acquisition of The Book Company’s journal division, a Florida-based supplier of published books and journals.

  • 13 Dec 2022 11:36 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    A prominent longtime executive in the promotional products market is retiring from HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) – an announcement the industry’s largest distributorship made as it also revealed three key sales leadership promotions.

    The Sterling, IL-headquartered firm with global operations shared that Dale Limes, senior vice president of sales, will be retiring in 2023.

    Limes has been with HALO for nearly 19 years. He previously held leadership roles with other industry firms, including Top 40 distributor The Vernon Company (asi/351700). Limes has also served in volunteer roles, including leadership advisory council chair at trade group Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

    Paul Bellantone, Tommy Lewis and Dustin Wicks

    Paul Bellantone, Tommy Lewis, Dustin Wicks, HALO Branded Solutions

    Meanwhile, HALO revealed that Paul Bellantone has been promoted to president of sales of the HBS division, while Tommy Lewis is rising to senior vice president of sales and business development. Dustin Wicks will now serve as vice president of recruitment and development.

    “Our new structure will allow us to create breakthrough results for our current account executives by providing additional support for their selling efforts,” said Jim Stutz, HALO’s executive vice president of sales. “In addition, our growth tools and resources provide a compelling value proposition for industry selling professionals considering joining the HALO selling team.”

    Bellantone, who was most recently senior vice president of customer experience, will report to Stutz. Bellantone previously spent about 20 years as CEO and president of PPAI.

    Lewis has been with HALO for almost seven years, serving as national vice president of enterprise and program sales prior to his promotion. Reporting to Bellantone, Lewis will now oversee the HBS division’s regional sales management leadership and business development efforts.

    Dale Limes

    Wicks has been with HALO for nearly four years, with his previous titles being director of business technology and sales systems product manager. Wicks, who will work closely with Limes before the veteran executive retires next year, was also previously a director of business development at Vernon and a national account manager at Top 40 supplier Koozie Group (asi/40480) when it was known as BIC Graphic North America.

    “We have developed a deep bench,” said HALO CEO Marc Simon, a member of Counselor’s Power 50 list of promo’s most influential people. “These promotions showcase the internal talent we have at every level at HALO and the opportunities that we create to utilize the experience and expertise within the organization as we continue our unprecedented growth.”

    Based on reported 2021 North American promotional product revenue of $822 million, HALO Branded Solutions ranked first on Counselor’s most recent list of the largest distributors in the industry.

  • 9 Dec 2022 7:27 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Liqui-Mark will be the exclusive supplier of Zebra brand products and officially start selling the Zebra line of products starting January 1, 2023. This exclusive distribution agreement is only for promotional products.

    • Liqui-Mark will be taking over all re-orders from the distributor network previously supplied by Gemline.
    • At the initial launch, Liqui-Mark will be carrying select Zebra items, including its most popular stainless steel ballpoint pens, gel pens and mechanical pencils, along with its Z-Grip, Mildliner and Sarasa series of gel pens, including the X20 and Sarasa Grand.
    • Zebra has decades of experience manufacturing high-quality writing instruments. Its design of stainless-steel products is recognized for high quality, value and performance.
  • 9 Dec 2022 7:25 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business held their third annual virtual award ceremony, recognizing all winners in one evening of celebration.

    • This year, 26 award categories were featured across the board, honoring hundreds of recipients. ASB introduced three new awards: The ACES Ambassador Award for Sales Associates (Leigh Strong), and the Strategic Partner (Mel Bettua, HPG) and Top Importer (BamBams) awards for suppliers.
    • Some additional categories were Top Vendors, The Horizon Award for Vendors, American Eagle and GPO Excellence Award.
    • The Top Vendors: SanMar, Ennis, alphabroder / Prime Line, Essendant, ICS Corporation, Hit Promotional Products, KDM Products, S & S Activewear LLC, Dubow Textile Inc., Navitor, PCNA, Automotive Service Products, Abbott Label Inc., Lippmann Printing, Sterling Business Forms, Wise, Diversified Labeling Solutions, Wardkraft, Spectra Print Corporation, American Print and Digital, Gemline, Highland Computer Forms Inc., Sweda, Central States Business Forms, 4over Inc., Cap America, Royal Business Forms, ID Images Inc., Love Envelopes, Showdown Displays, Koozie Group
  • 9 Dec 2022 7:23 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2023-24 school year with a deadline of March 15, 2023.

    PPEF's scholarship recipients are announced in early June each year. Since 1989, PPEF has awarded over $3 million in college scholarships to 1,618 promotional products industry employees and their children.

    For the 2022-23 school year, $299,000 in total scholarship money was awarded to 162 students (130 new recipients and 32 renewal recipients). For 2023-24, $320,500 will be distributed among 170 students (138 new recipients and 32 renewal recipients).

    Sixty-four available merit scholarships will pay $1,250 each; 102 available needs scholarships will pay $2,250 each; and four available chairman’s scholarships will pay $2,750 each.

    Earlier this year, the PPEF Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the use of ACT/SAT scores from the scholarship evaluation process for a two-year trial period.

    To apply online and for more information about the application process, visit PPEF.us/college-scholarships.

  • 7 Dec 2022 8:12 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Staples Promotional Products is raising the bar for sustainability transparency in the promotional products industry.

    The Kansas-headquartered distributor, a subsidiary of the office retail giant Staples, has announced the creation of what is thought to be the market’s first sustainable procurement platform, in conjunction with EcoVadis, a leading sustainability ratings provider for enterprises.

    The promise is that SPP will be able to offer full sustainability transparency to every link in its supply chain.

    “At a time when third-party suppliers account for 90% of total environmental impact, SPP is proud to be first in the industry to establish an unbiased sustainable procurement platform,” says Staples Promotional Products President Daron Hines. “We’re the first and only distributor that can offer stakeholders sustainability transparency for 100% of the value chain.”

    The Deal

    EcoVadis, which provides holistic sustainability ratings for companies, covers its clients' impacts in a broad range of measures, including environmental, labor and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement.

    Through the deal, SPP and its suppliers will be annually assessed and scored by EcoVadis. SPP had leaned on suppliers to cooperate with EcoVadis assessments in order to do business with the company, one of the industry’s largest distributors.

    • SPP is currently the only brand merchandiser that uses EcoVadis to assess, score and report supply chain sustainability performance.
    • EcoVadis also awarded SPP a Silver medal for sustainability after assessing its decoration and distribution operations.

    • Some industry companies have reported that their assessments have been tabled by EcoVadis for more than a year.
    • Having already established a head start, Staples signals that it intends to push even further.

    • The announcement comes 11 months after Hines was named president of Staples Promotional Products, following stints at companies such as Morton Salt and General Mills.

    David McClintock, marketing director at EcoVadis, says, “By launching this sustainable supply chain initiative, Staples Promotional Products is directing their ambition to the point of greatest leverage to bolster their long-term growth and accelerate towards improved sustainability impact.

    What It Means

    Staples is not the only promotional products company that has engaged EcoVadis for ratings. Companies such as Gemline (PPAI 113948, S11) and Geiger (PPAI 105182, D12) have turned to EcoVadis for assessments of their own sustainability practices.

    However, as the importance for sustainability assessments has grown, EcoVadis and organizations like it have developed extensive waiting lists for their services.

    “While this is a significant first for the industry, it’s only a first step for SPP,” Hines says. “By 2025, our goal is to reach Platinum recognition level in our operations and have EcoVadis metrics that objectively demonstrate the most sustainable supply chain in the industry.”

    “Having been rated themselves sets a strong example for their suppliers.”

  • 4 Dec 2022 9:45 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year is Viva Magenta (PANTONE 18-1750), a “brave and fearless” new animated red “expressive of a new signal of strength” as a growing digital world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Thursday night.

    “In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known."

    Eiseman says, “Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”

    The PPAI Expo 2023, scheduled for January 9-12 in Las Vegas, will have Pantone 2023 Color of the Year Limited Edition Formula Guides at the Pantone booth inside Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Pantone 2023 Color of the Year shopping bags produced by Promo PSI will also be available. (Free PPAI Expo registration for PPAI members is still available until Monday, December 5.)

    The Pantone Color of the Year announcement has become an inflection point for the art and fashion world, recalibrating trends for the coming year. The ripple effects reach the promo industry, too, as suppliers and distributors shape future product and marketing plans.

    Each year, the Pantone Institute carefully selects a color that’s reflective of the world’s current landscape. The 2022 Color of the Year was -- the first brand-new, Pantone-created color chosen by the institute – symbolizing “the global innovation and transformation taking place.”

    Additionally this year, Pantone has released a series of complementary colors it calls "the Magentaverse."

    This year’s Color of the Year choice “sends a message of vibrant positivity” and “highlights our change of perspective” as the world moves forward from the pandemic, says Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

    “We do feel this animated crimson red tone is reflective of this unique cultural moment,” Pressman said during the live announcement. “We are living in an unconventional time, time where we need to follow bravely and boldly, create a new vision and write a new narrative for ourselves.”

  • 29 Nov 2022 9:49 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Logomark and Groupe Bugatti Inc. have announced an exclusive partnership for the distribution of Bugatti bags into the U.S. promotional market beginning in 2023 with a pre-launch now through December 2022.

    • The Bugatti Group creates, designs, manufactures, imports and sells high-quality luggage, briefcases, handbags and accessories worldwide. Their bags are offered at popular retail stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s & Kohls.
    • Logomark will initially release 13 backpacks, briefcases, hybrids and duffel bags from Bugatti across five of their collections, with plans to introduce more styles including rolling travel luggage in the second quarter of 2023.
    • The newly released bags include the popular Reborn Collection backpack and hybrid duffel, which feature sleek, modern designs made of 100% recycled water-repellent polyester.
  • 29 Nov 2022 9:48 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Gemline announced a strategic partnership with California-based retail brand Be Home.

    • The partnership further expands Gemline’s retail brand portfolio and product offering in its fast-growing home, entertainment and lifestyle categories.
    • Be Home has been designing beautiful, eco-friendly and ethically sourced home goods from around the world for over 16 years. Be Home products are sold in 2000+ retail accounts, including Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Magnolia Market, and West Elm, among others.
    • “We are thrilled to welcome Be Home to Gemline’s growing roster of best-in-class retail brands, and to introduce them to the industry, especially as they share our vision for responsibly made and beautifully-crafted consumer products,” says Frank Carpenito, President of Gemline. “Be Home’s commitment to design innovation and quality, and the fact their founders have focused on building relationships with family and women-owned artisan groups, multi-generational craftsmen, and independent makers, really resonated with us, and we believe it will resonate with our distributor partners and their customers as well.”
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