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HPPA Industry News

  • 13 Jun 2023 12:09 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Koozie Group has promoted Phil Gergen to chief information officer, effective June 1.

    Gergen has been with Koozie Group for 20 years, most recently as senior vice president of technology. Under his leadership, the company has introduced industry-leading technologies that support first-in-class customer service.

    In his new role, Gergen will lead the digital, technical and IT systems teams to continuously improve the customer service experience, increase the company’s integrations with its customers and align the organization’s digital tools and presence.

    He has also been involved with PromoStandards since its inception and currently serves as treasurer.

  • 9 Jun 2023 6:21 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The resumption of in-person interactions with congresspeople was a welcomed return on Thursday during PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day, held live on Capitol Hill for the first time since 2019. But the industry’s talking points on the day also had a familiar feel.

    As LEAD’s name suggests, the first objective is always to inform senators and representatives about the size and importance of the promo industry. It represents a $25 billion sales market in the U.S. and employs roughly half a million Americans. Of the industry’s 38,000 companies in the U.S., some 98% are considered small businesses.

    Beyond those important figures for representatives to understand, the industry’s advocates drilled down on four primary talking points that have been vital to the industry going back to L.E.A.D. 2022 and earlier. Along with reading material on PPAI’s positions, volunteers left sample products with representatives and their staffs, including Promotional Products Work branded tumblers, hand sanitizer and more.

    A mix of regional association representatives from industry companies of all sizes and types, as well as PPAI staffers, L.E.A.D. participants brought up the same key messages in each meeting.

    Promotional Products Work

    Promotional products are the most cost-effective, memorable and longest-lasting form of advertising, participants told their representatives. The same marketing medium legislators use as part of their election campaigns can make a profound difference in the lives and businesses of constituents. Included in the message:

    • Promotional products are ranked the No. 1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations.
    • According to PPAI’s most recent Consumer Study, 88% of people remember the advertiser on a promotional product, and 85% of recipients do business with the advertiser on a promotional product.

    Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act

    The nature of this industry’s complex supply chains and quick orders make compliance with the COOL Online Act (S. 1421) practically impossible. PPAI understands the importance of traceability. The Association has numerous resources available to help its members conduct their own supply chain mapping. However, adhering to these requirements poses challenges relating to dual sourcing, diversifying global supply chains, and fluctuating supply chains.

    • It is common for a single SKU number to be applied to multiple products found in different countries, especially in the case of apparel where the same shirt may be dual sourced based on various size or color preferences.

    The Industry’s Ask: We appreciate the bipartisan spirit and Congress’ intent to increase visibility into supply chains. PPAI understands and supports transparency as well. We have been educating our members about supply chain mapping and traceability. However, PPAI asks Congress to provide for the flexibility to identify multiple countries of origin for unfinished products sold online.

    Independent Contractors

    In this industry, salespeople willingly and intentionally choose to be independent contractors instead of employees. Promotional sales consultants have the ability to be their own boss, run their own business, and control their own destiny.

    We’re not in the gig economy and we take no issue with a majority of the PRO Act (H.R. 20). Our only concerns with the bill involve the ABC test and the broad definition that classifies all workers as employees. Unlike the members of the gig economy on which similar labor law proposals have focused, the relationship between independent contractors in the promotional products industry and their distributors is mutually beneficial for both parties.

    The Industry’s Ask: Uniformly applying the worker reclassification provisions, or ABC test, will have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of jobs and businesses in the promotional products industry, depriving them from earning an income. Our industry is not the focus of the proposed policy change, therefore, we request an exemption.

    Global Value Chains

    Most of our products’ value is added domestically in pre‐production and post‐production

    • Production overseas of the base inputs is where the least amount of value is added. Although some promotional products are manufactured overseas, once in the U.S., these products are decorated and sold by American workers, and used to promote American goods and services.
    • At least half of the value of our products is added in the U.S. by American workers. A recent study commissioned by the S. Global Value Chain Coalition found that the U.S. adds as much as 75% value to the final retail price for apparel made overseas.

    The Industry’s Ask: Please keep the unique needs and interests of the promotional products industry in mind when considering legislation that impacts the success of our industry, for example trade policy that unintentionally raises costs for small businesses and consumers.

    Written by: Josh Ellis

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 6 Jun 2023 4:31 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Facilisgroup recently hosted its highly anticipated Platinum Elite Trip at the luxurious Secrets Moxché resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

    • The event brought together nearly 70 exceptional salespeople, several top suppliers and members of the Facilisgroup staff and their guests for five days and four nights in tropical paradise.
    • The gathering of top performers (who combine for over $150 million in annual sales) created an environment of shared knowledge and collaboration, empowering participants to take their businesses to new heights.

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 6 Jun 2023 4:27 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    After donating more than $17,000 to 4 Paws for Ability in 2022, IMAGEN Brands announces that it is continuing its sponsorship through the end of 2023.

    • One percent of stock plush sales will be donated to the organization when customers use reference code PLUSHGB23.
    • 4 Paws for Ability is an organization that has placed more than 1,500 highly specialized service dogs with those in need since 1998. Their dogs help veterans, children and other individuals with autism, diabetes, epilepsy, mobility issues and more.
    • As a result of its ongoing support, IMAGEN Brands was able to sponsor and name a litter of puppies born on April 28 that will become highly trained service dogs for the organization.

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 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.
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