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HPPA Industry News

  • 28 Apr 2023 8:35 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Orbus Exhibit & Display Group®, North America’s largest producer and manufacturer of visual communications solutions for tradeshows and events, retail environments and corporate interiors, is excited to commemorate Earth Day and Earth Month by sharing that it has recycled an average of 75% of total waste each year for the past 10 years!

    In the past decade, Orbus has also diverted over 10 million pounds of waste from the landfill. This milestone is a testament to Orbus’ long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and its ongoing efforts to reduce its impact on the planet.

    As part of Orbus’ sustainability initiatives, we have built and maintained a comprehensive recycling program that includes separating recycled waste into categories such as cardboard, paper, aluminum, fabric, steel, and other.

    Orbus has been ISO 14001:2015 certified since 2010 which recognizes our environmental management system that minimizes our impact on the environment in the design, manufacture, and storage of trade show displays and accessories.

    We are thrilled to celebrate Earth Day by reaching this significant milestone,” says Jim Concannon, Operations Manager & ISO Representative for Orbus. “We recognize the importance of taking care of our planet and are proud to do our part by implementing sustainable practices in our business operations.”

  • 25 Apr 2023 1:18 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Today, during day one of the two-day SAGE Conference, the industry’s largest online conference sharing practical, actionable takeaways for promotional products professionals, SAGE announced several new features and updates. Eric Natinsky, SAGE CEO, revealed new AI functionality in SAGE Online, SAGE Web, and SAGE Website Professional Plus, allowing distributors to instantly leverage the power of AI to provide fresh ideas, improve efficiency and effortlessly create dynamic content for their customers. Other notable releases include the addition of live order status and real-time inventory features in SAGE Web.

    SAGE has developed technology that fine-tunes the AI model to yield customized results specific to the promotional products industry. The new SAGE AI functionality will be added to the product search area and the presentation and projects modules in SAGE Online and SAGE Web. It will also be added to SAGE Website Professional Plus.

    In the product search area, the brand-new SAGE Idea Wizard AI assistant will help distributors brainstorm ideas relating to their project and generate search results based on the specified search criteria. After providing a plain English description of the event or promotion, the Idea Wizard will use SAGE’s vast information resources as well as the power of AI to identify creative and ideas based on the specific event or promotion. For example, if a client is looking for promotional items for a golf tournament with an eco-friendly theme, the Idea Wizard will take that information and respond with a variety of eco-friendly promotional items that relate to golf.

    Eric Natinsky, CEO of SAGE, remarked “This is truly a remarkable point in time for technology in general but also for the promotional products industry as well. The Idea Wizard represents the first time that we as an industry are able to utilize the power of AI as a tool to enhance our own capabilities and provide the best service possible. And this is only the beginning!”

    SAGE also announced the addition of AI-powered content creation in several areas within its Total Access distributor research and business management platform. For example, in the presentations area, distributors can now instantly create introductory text for a presentation that is based on the client, the client’s industry, the products in the presentation, and other relevant information.

    In addition, within the projects module, distributors can now instantly create customized thank you notes, again based on the specific client and project information to make the note relevant and unique.

    SAGE Website Professional Plus customers can now leverage SAGE’s AI functionality on their websites to help create new, dynamic content. With the click or tap of a button, SAGE customers can now create custom homepage text, blogs, and more by adding a prompt to the text box field and clicking the button for auto-generated content.

    SAGE’s content creation technology will also create content in other languages and will even adjust for dialect in different countries. For example, it can easily create content in French for a client in Quebec, Canada, or will use a different dialect of English when creating content in English for a Canadian-based client as opposed to a US-based client.

    Natinsky continued, “The biggest leap in AI that we’ve all seen recently with ChatGPT and other similar technologies is in language. Using these technologies to create a first draft of content is a huge timesaver and idea generator. Then you can always make changes from there to get it just the way you want it before you actually use the content.”

    In addition, SAGE also announced that live inventory and real-time order status updates are now available in SAGE Web in addition to SAGE Online. Distributors using SAGE Web can now access real-time, live inventory information from participating suppliers. Real-time order status updates enable distributors to see the actual status of their orders at any time, as well as the option to receive notifications and alerts anytime the order status changes.

    All of these new technologies announced at SAGE Conference will be available today in SAGE Online, SAGE Web, and SAGE Website Professional Plus.

    David Natinsky, SAGE’s President, said, “As an industry, it’s important that we keep looking for ways to use technology to help our industry innovate, grow and provide the service that the public expects in today’s time. That’s our focus here at SAGE and today’s announcements are the next step in that continuous evolution.”

    The recording of Eric Natinsky's keynote session, The SAGE 2023 Breakdown, announcing the industry's first AI-powered research and business management features will be available to view in the on-demand education area during day two of SAGE Conference. To attend day two of SAGE Conference, register now at www.sageworld.com/conference.

    To learn more about SAGE Total Access, visit www.sageworld.com.

  • 25 Apr 2023 9:11 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Orbus Exhibit & Display Group®, North America’s largest producer and manufacturer of visual communications solutions for tradeshows and events, retail environments and corporate interiors, sadly announces the sudden death of Simon Perutz, an extraordinarily revered, respected and honored founder of Nimlok, Orbus and 13 other exhibit and display companies around the globe.

    Simon died suddenly while in England with his wife Kim on April 19, 2023, at the age of 64.

    SIMON PERUTZSimon was a remarkable man of inspiration, intelligence, wit, energy, tenacity and generosity. He was an entrepreneur, mentor, associate and friend to many. Simon was a titan in the Exhibit Industry and leaves a legacy of relationship-building, innovation, hard work, and enormous success. More importantly, he was a loving husband, son, brother, father, and grandfather and is survived by his wife Kim, sons Andrew and Matthew, daughters Kate, Tessa, and Lucy, as well as granddaughter Daisy, and his siblings Tim and Sandie.

    Simon’s father, Gerald Perutz, and Neil Nimmo – inventor of the Nimlok lock & clip and the original modular display system – founded Nimlok Limited in the UK in 1970. The business grew rapidly and in 1977, Gerald relocated his family from the United Kingdom to the United States. In 1981, Neil, Gerald and Simon established Nimlok in the United States.

    Simon led Nimlok’s product development, sales, and marketing efforts with wild success. He formed relationships with business leaders across the nation and the globe, which led to the creation of a network of Nimlok Dealerships in the US, the establishment of Nimlok Canada in 1985, as well as Nimlok Italy and Nimlok Australia, among others.

    In 2001, Simon established Orbus Exhibit & Display Group in the United States. He continued to lead the Nimlok business in the US until 2010, when Nimlok merged with Orbus. Together, Simon, his brother Tim and Gerald established 15 exhibit and display-focused companies worldwide and formed the P3 Group (commemorating the three Perutz’s – Gerald, Simon, and Tim)

    “Words cannot express what a truly incredible person Simon was,” 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.”

    Please visit www.nimlok.com/Simon-Perutz to see two videos that honor and revere Simon.

  • 24 Apr 2023 11:38 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    A dental floss dispenser. A double-edged envelope opener. A facial tissue dispenser.

    These are among the dozens of patents filed by longtime industry pro David Lage. But to hear it from the colleagues who knew him well, they don’t begin to account for his contributions to the promotional products industry.

    Lage, who passed away on April 4 at the age of 86, served on the PPAI Board of Directors from 1982-86. He spent more than 25 years leading Missouri-based supplier Quick Point (PPAI 114051, S5). He is the father of PPAI Hall of Fame member Paul Lage, currently a board member of California Tattoos and the former president of IMAGEN Brands.

    In a Facebook post, the younger Lage called his father “a great man who was a positive influence for so many people. Needless to say, he was a wonderful father, a great friend, a mentor and my hero!”

    David Lage served as a Marine and later supported the Corps with volunteerism and products. When he wasn't working, he loved to hunt, fish and play golf, his son says. He had battled dementia in recent years, and his wife Sandy passed away last July.

    More than his innovative approach to building a product line, David Lage was known by promotional products colleagues as a willing mentor.

    Wayne Greenberg, a former PPAI board chair, remembers him as the mentor to respected industry contributor and motivational speaker Phil Carney, also of Quick Point. His list of friends seems ripped straight from the PPAI Hall of Fame yearbooks, and includes industry heavy hitters the likes of Gene Geiger, MAS+; Margie Price, MAS; Mark Gilman, CAS; Chuck Pecher; and many others.

    Price says she met David Lage when she was new to the industry and St. Louis. He was leading an education program for PPAMidwest. “For some reason he realized I was a newbie – probably because I asked too many questions,” Price says. “He taught me so many things beginning that day and never stopped answering my questions. He became a mentor and a friend and as years went by.

    “I became more involved with PPAI and went on the board of directors, where I met Paul Lage and learned how much like his father Paul was. I will always appreciate what I learned from Dave and will remember him fondly forever.”

    David Lage was named an honorary life member by the PPAI board in 2005, and in 2016 earned PPAI Fellow Recognition. His industry volunteerism included work on the Association’s Suppliers Advisory Council and Conventions Advisory Council, as well as its Strategic Planning Committee.

    Greenberg says David Lage was the brains behind many innovative products at Quick Point, but what he remembers most is that he was a gentleman.

    Geiger, who joined the PPAI board in the same class as David Lage, says the two formed a friendship that endured and deepened over the years.

    “Others can talk about his business accomplishments as the leader of Quick Point. What I loved about him was his humanity – his elemental goodness,” Geiger says. “He was without pretense personally or rushed judgments about others. He cared deeply about his colleagues, friends and our industry. And he was so much fun! One could not be with him without being lifted by his quick laugh and joyful spirit.

    “When we get to the end, all that matters is how we lived and how we impacted those we inhabit the world with. By that measure, Dave left this a better place and me a better person.”

  • 20 Apr 2023 4:19 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Hirsch has recently formed strategic partnerships with retail brands Cuisinart, Victor, Gerber, Coleman, Flickr Fire, and a promotional products industry exclusive relationship with personal, portable blender creator, Blendi.

    This strategic move highlights the supplier’s continued commitment to filling category gaps outside technology and drinkware by expanding merchandise offerings to new and underserved vertical markets.

  • 18 Apr 2023 1:07 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Vantage Apparel, a leading provider of custom logo apparel and fulfillment, announced today that it has donated its 1% For The Planet Pledge from sales of the company’s sustainable Earthwise Collection to Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine life and the ocean environment. In just three years, the Earthwise styles, made with premium Repreve® recycled fiber have accounted for keeping more than 1 million post-consumer plastic bottles from landfills and oceans.

    "We are committed to doing our part to help protect our planet, and we believe that Clean Ocean Action is doing important work in keeping our oceans clean and healthy," said Ira Neaman, President of Vantage Apparel. "We're proud to support their efforts and to make a positive impact on the environment." To kick off Earth Day events, Neaman and Vantage associates, Eric Wukitsch, Senior VP, and Gina Barreca, Director of Marketing personally delivered the donation to Clean Ocean Action at their headquarters in Long Branch, New Jersey.

    Clean Ocean Action has been working since 1984 to identify sources of pollution in the ocean and to promote long-term solutions to protect marine life and coastal environments. The organization has been recognized for its efforts by numerous environmental groups, government agencies, and other organizations.

    "Vantage Apparel's donation makes a big splash to help our organization in our efforts to protect the world's ocean," said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. "We're most grateful for their support and partnership in this important work."

    Vantage Apparel's 1% For The Planet Pledge is a commitment to reducing the company's environmental impact through sustainable practices and initiatives. The donation to Clean Ocean Action is just one way that Vantage Apparel is working towards a brighter, cleaner future.

  • 18 Apr 2023 1:05 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Hanes Branded Printwear announced the launch of its breakthrough PrintNOW technology, a game-changing advancement in direct-to-garment (DTG) printing that makes the new Hanes Perfect Pre-treat Tee ready to print right out of the box.

    PrintNOW technology cuts DTG production time by approximately 40%, eliminating the need for printers to apply pre-treat. It has several benefits for printers, including:

    • It eliminates human error – treatment is already evenly applied across the entire surface of the garment.
    • The tee comes ready to print anywhere on the garment – front, back, neck, sleeves.
    • It reduces overhead costs associated with pre-treating.
    • It trims three minutes per shirt from the traditional DTG process.
    • The savings and efficiencies allow printers to scale their output volume and grow their business.

    The Hanes Perfect Pre-treat Tee (Style # 498PT) is available in sizes S-3X in black, white, navy, and smoke gray. For more information, contact HanesBrands Printwear at 800-685-7557 or hbi_service@hanes.com.

  • 18 Apr 2023 1:03 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Next Level Apparel is transitioning its entire product line of polyester blended fabrics to recycled polyester. The Los Angeles-based supplier takes another step in advancing its commitment to ethical and responsible sourcing and reducing its environmental impact.

    The transition was effective March 1, 2023, and will impact all incoming fabrics. Responsible sourcing and sustainability has been at the forefront of the supplier’s decision-making for some time now.

    • Earlier this year, NLA transitioned all incoming fabric to 100% U.S. grown cotton, as well as initiated partnerships with Oritain to provide origin verification for its worldwide cotton program, and with GK Global and Grupo M as it seeks to strengthen nearshore production accessibility.
    • In 2019, NLA launched its Sustainable Collection, made of an eco-friendly fabric made with 70% recycled material. Through that initiative alone, the company has repurposed more than 5 million recycled plastic water bottles through the products in that collection.
    • “Eliminating waste and reducing our impact on the environment is one way we continue to help support and improve the communities where we live and work,” says NLA CEO Randy Hales. “Our transition to recycled polyester marks a big step in our ongoing sustainability efforts – and we’re proud our company ethos is reflected in the products we produce.”
    • NLA Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Carly Gerstman says, “We recognize the responsibility that we have as a brand to find ways to mitigate our impact on the environment wherever possible. Though there is no simple solution, this is yet another opportunity for NLA to continue to set a high standard by implementing more sustainable practices throughout our supply chain.”
  • 17 Apr 2023 9:33 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    With summer just around the corner, VisionUSA, a leading provider of promotional products, has announced its latest partnership with Ball Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of aluminum packaging and supplier innovative and sustainable drinkware solutions.  As part of this collaboration, VisionUSA will be adding the infinitely recyclable Ball Aluminum Cup® to its impressive list of brands, offering event-goers a premium, sustainable, and recyclable choice for enjoying their favorite beverages.

    For 20 years, VisionUSA has been providing high-quality, branded merchandise to clients across the country. From sports teams and concert venues to corporate events and festivals, VisionUSA has become a trusted name in the promotional product space. With the addition of the infinitely recyclable Ball Aluminum Cup® to their portfolio, VisionUSA is now able to offer customers a premium and sustainable alternative to traditional plastic cups.

    Ball Corporation is a leading supplier of aluminum packaging solutions, committed to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of packaging. The Ball Aluminum Cup® is made with 100% recyclable aluminum and can be easily recycled after use. The Ball Aluminum Cup® is lightweight, sturdy, cool to the touch, and made and remade in the United States of America, making them a perfect option for sports and entertainment, dining, and leisure events.

    "We are excited to partner with Ball Corporation and bring their innovative, premium, and sustainable aluminum cups to our clients across the country," said Felix Soliz, President of VisionUSA. "Not only are these cups durable and stylish, but they are also infinitely recyclable unlike traditional plastic or compostable cups. We believe that this partnership will not only enhance the experience of event-goers but also promote sustainable practices at events."

    The Ball Aluminum Cup® will be available through VisionUSA starting April 2023, just in time for the summer event season. For more information about VisionUSA and their line of promotional products, visit www.vision1usa.com.
  • 14 Apr 2023 10:56 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Utah-based supplier SnugZ USA (PPAI 112982, S11) has announced a key leadership change to its financial team. Shelly Allred has joined the company as its new chief financial officer. 

    Allred joins the SnugZ team without any experience in the promotional products industry. 

    • She previously worked in the auto and insurance markets.
    • Allred came to SnugZ from Asbury Automotive Group where she worked for just under 10 years, most recently as VP of financial systems. 

    The supplier's previous CFO, RaNell Lefler, will remain with SnugZ.

    • Lefler will transition to the role of chief processing officer.
    • Lefler had previously held the CFO role for seven years. 

    SnugZ recent growth led to the acquisition of Sweda in January of 2022. 

    • SnugZ would later admit that the integration process led to a few speed bumps. 
    • This led to an increased number of complaints from distributor customers, including some online chatter about inconsistent service, in the following months. 
    • SnugZ President and CEO Brandon Mackay acknowledged the transition period led to a "tough" 2022. 

    Recently, SnugZ announced a number of moves that the company promised would lead to reduced lead times. These included: 

    • Upgraded phone systems.
    • New customer service representatives.
    • Completely integrated systems and websites.

    The hiring of Allred proves SnugZ was apparently not finished with significant moves and announcements. 

    "We couldn't be more excited to have Shelly join our team, and she fits in our culture perfectly," Mackay says. "She brings a wealth of knowledge, and we're excited to have her talents as we continue to experience growth." 

    Allred looks forward to being a part of the industry and the SnugZ team. 

    "I am really excited to be joining the team here at SnugZ," Allred says. "I can already tell how amazing the people and teams are and am thrilled to learn all about this new industry. I feel like the culture and values are a great fit, and I can't wait to dive into the numbers."

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