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HPPA Industry News

  • 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.
  • 23 May 2023 10:45 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Kati Sportcap & Bag, a seller of Sportsman Cap & Bag products, has paired up with Imperial Headwear, a major player in the headwear industry for more than a century.

    “Imperial’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship is second to none,” says Danny Spier, president of Kati Sportcap & Bag. “Not only are they a trusted brand with a long history in the industry, but Imperial is also the headwear choice for golfers. We’re excited to add such an in-demand brand to our roster.”

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 22 May 2023 1:35 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Distributor Indoff has been acquired for approximately $69.2 million by distributor Global Industrial Company, the two sides announced on Monday.

    • Founded in 1971, Indoff has a network of more than 350 sales partners.
    • It generated a revenue of approximately $180 million in 2022, according to the announcement.

    Based in St. Louis, Indoff has been named among promo’s Greatest Companies To Work For by PPAI in multiple years, including as recently as 2023.

    Global Industrial was founded more than 70 years ago, and shares its mission with Indoff of providing customers with the products and solutions to keep them operating and successful.

    • The acquisition makes Indoff a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Industrial.
    • Indoff will continue to operate under its current brand and leadership

    “Indoff is a strong and growing company and provides a great strategic fit with Global Industrial’s business and multi-channel sales model,” says Barry Litwin, CEO of Global Industrial Company.

    In outlining what the deal brings to the table, Global Industrial has cited strong product alignments in material handling, indoor and outdoor furniture, storage and shelving, appliances, and other core categories, as well as new service capabilities and project-related expertise.

    “This is an exciting time for our employees and our customers,” says Jim Malkus, CEO of Indoff. “As part of Global Industrial, we will be in a stronger position to drive the value we provide our customers and support the continued expansion of the business.”

    Litwin says, “We see a number of opportunities to enhance the value we collectively provide, including opening a new channel to deliver Global’s Exclusive Brand offering and national brand assortment and the broader utilization of B2B e-commerce platforms.

    “We are excited to welcome Indoff’s employees and customers to the Global Industrial family and look forward to supporting their continued success.”

    Written by: Jonny Auping

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 22 May 2023 1:31 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Simon Perutz, founder of Orbus Exhibit & Display Group, has died. He was 64.

    A statement from the company reveals that he died suddenly on April 19 while in England with his wife, Kim.

    Remembered as a loving family man and a titan in the exhibit industry, Perutz lived a life of accomplishments before his sudden passing. Simon’s father, Gerald Perutz, founded Nimlok Limited in 1970 with Neil Nimmo, the inventor of the Nimlok lock and clip, an innovation for exhibition displays.

    As the business grew, and Gerald relocated his family from the United Kingdom to the United States in 1977, a young Simon joined Nimmo and his father in establishing Nimlok in the U.S. in 1981. Simon would lead Nimlok’s product development, sales and marketing efforts, helping form Nimlok into a greater international presence in countries such as Canada, Italy and Australia.

    Twenty years after helping bring Nimlok to the United States, Simon would establish Orbus Exhibit & Display Group in the U.S. in 2001. He led the Nimlok business in the U.S. until 2010, when Nimlok merged with Orbus.

    Simon and his brothers, Tim and Gerald, established 15 exhibit and display-focused companies around the world and formed the P3 Group – representing the three Perutz brothers.

    “Words cannot express what a truly incredible person Simon was,” says Gary Keefer, CEO of Orbus Exhibit & Display Group. “We are deeply saddened, yet extremely thankful to have had such a wonderful founder, mentor and caring leader. Simon will be profoundly missed and honored.”

    He is survived by Kim; his sons Andrew and Matthew; daughters Kate, Tessa and Lucy; granddaughter Daisy; and his siblings Tim and Sandie.

    Published with Permission from PPAI
  • 19 May 2023 12:02 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    ‘Hey look,’ you must’ve thought before clicking on this article, ‘it’s that guy who’s always posting on LinkedIn about wearing pink on Wednesdays.’

    Guilty. “Pink Wednesday” is a weekly reminder to spread love and kindness to others in our industry and beyond. Those posts helped me make a name for myself and put me on PPAI’s #Online18 ranking of the promo industry’s best follows on social media for 2023.

    The odds are overwhelming that you don’t know me personally even though I’ve been in this industry for a decade. You might not even follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook – it’s not like I have millions of followers. But because of the way I use these platforms to market myself and the work I do for Hirsch, you’re still pretty likely to have seen my posts shared into your feed and have at least a vague awareness of who I am and what I do.

    And in this industry, which is built on relationships, that means something.

    We all recognize that our digital lives are a massive representation of ourselves and our businesses. You can no longer afford to handle your marketing in only print, or even through digital ads or email blasts. Social media is now the public square. Whether you’re a supplier or distributor, it’s where all of your customers go to hang out on a daily basis – especially LinkedIn.

    But so many of us are still hesitant or unwilling to embrace this vital piece of the customer funnel.

    In fact, that was me not too long ago, before coming into my own online and in my career within the last five years. If that’s your feeling about social media now, I hope that the lessons I’ve learned can be helpful for you.

    Find A Purpose

    How did I get here?

    It started by allowing myself to fall in love with social media despite my previous feelings about it. Years ago, I had actually deleted all of my social platforms. I felt they were wasting my time and not doing me any good. Then, while volunteering for the Houston Promotional Products Association, I was put on the social media committee. This got me back on social with a new profile and an intention to get involved for work, but post nothing personal.

    Once back on all the platforms, I started to see and appreciate them in a totally different way. I loved connecting with so many people in the industry and becoming friends before even meeting in person. I discovered a new purpose for the way I used social media, and the rest is history.

    Recognize Your Audience

    After rejoining social media and focusing my efforts on posts related to my work, I discovered that, despite what can sometimes feel like shouting into the void, people actually do listen and read what you put on social media.

    Some come to know you through your posts, and truly care about your words. I started posting about wearing pink on Wednesdays as a way to bring positivity during the pandemic. I figured most people would find it annoying, but they did not. They embraced the insane positivity and let me do my thing.

    Aim For Consistency

    The Pink Wednesday posts are now a staple in my life. I make a point to stop what I am doing every Wednesday to make that post. People expect it now – it’s part of my online identity, which is something you have to purposely craft and be mindful of to market effectively on social media.

    You can’t be spotty in your posts if you want to gain any sort of traction or following. You have to establish routines. Sometimes breaks are needed, and that’s OK. But overall, aim for consistent posting.

    It’s not just once a week, either. Some experts say you should post daily. Some say three times a week. Do what works for you: Rarely do I post multiple times a day, because I feel people do not want one person or company monopolizing their feed. Remember, you do have an audience. There’s no need to oversaturate them.

    Be Yourself, Fearlessly

    Don’t be afraid to show your passion for your work and things that matter to you. Allow your expertise to shine. This will make your messaging meaningful to people.

    You don’t want to take the audience for granted: This is about creating a mutual trust and friendship. Let everyone see the true you, and a lot of people will gravitate to it.

    Every one of these social media platforms could tank and be gone tomorrow. But you will still be you. So own who you are, what you care about and what makes you great and what you do.

    And run with it!


    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 19 May 2023 11:59 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The promo industry’s largest company is also one of the best run overall in the United States, according to Deloitte and The Wall Street Journal.

    Washington-based supplier SanMar has been named by the two entities as a US Best Managed Company for 2023.

    According to the Best Managed Companies program, a recipient of the honor has “demonstrated excellence in strategic planning and execution, a commitment to their people and fostering a dynamic culture, as well as strong financials.”

    Digital transformation, action toward sustainability and a commitment to DEI are all criteria to be given the designation.

    • Private U.S. companies with revenues of at least $250 million are considered.
    • Each company applicant is evaluated and ultimately chosen by a panel of external judges.
    • The four key areas that the panel evaluates are strategy, ability to execute, corporate culture and governance/financial performance. 

    More than 45 countries are represented tin the Best Managed Companies program. In the U.S., 56 companies earned the honor for 2023. It was SanMar's second time to make the list.

    “We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition for all the hard work and dedication of our team,” says Jeremy Lott, SanMar president. “As a family-owned company that empowers team members to drive positive change, we are always working to create the most dynamic workplace culture and invest in the long-term future of our employees.”

    The company was founded by Marty Lott, Jeremy's father, in 1971. Jeremy Lott joined the family business full time in 2003. 

    "The only way I knew how to run the business was the way my dad ran the business; he's my mentor. That was to be really engaged and hands-on," Jeremy Lott tells PPAI Media. "I travel almost every week, because for me, being on-site in our warehouses or being with our customers or in our factories, that's how I gain a huge amount of knowledge."

    SanMar continues to expand its reach. Earlier this year came word of a new SanMar distribution center in Ashland, Virginia. The 1.1 million square foot facility is SanMar’s ninth distribution center in the United States, and is expected to employ 1,000 people.

    The company has evolved its brand positioning in recent years, shifting from the vision tagline of "A Canvas for Good" to, more recently, "Together for Good," meant to emphasize its efforts to improve the lives of SanMar workers across the world, particularly women, and create connections through its products.

    "We made a really conscious decision as a company... to say it's not good enough for us to just not do bad things, and have an auditing program to make sure we're not doing bad things," Jeremy Lott says. "We need to make sure that we are doing good things in the world and that we are a positive influence in the communities of the people who make our products and for our customers and the communities that they're in."

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 16 May 2023 1:54 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Goldstar has promoted three North American sales and global marketing team members following the recent merger of its North American and European operations.

    • Charles Duggan has been named vice president of sales, North America, and will lead the development and execution of corporate strategic goals for the North American market field sales and national account teams.
    • Rob Baumgardner steps into Duggan’s previous role as national accounts manager, North America. He joined the company in 2018.
    • Lane Hokanson becomes global marketing manager after two years at the company as key account marketing coordinator.
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