The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas is the single largest event on the promotional products industry’s calendar. It is an exuberant, energizing and sometimes chaotic experience. For exhibitor Raining Rose Promos, it was definitely the latter, at least at first, as its show floor booth didn’t make it to Las Vegas in time for Expo’s opening day. But the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based supplier turned the setback to its advantage, leaning into its corporate core values and constructing a temporary booth out of non-perishable food, personal hygiene products and baby items that made an impression on show attendees and an impact on the Southern Nevada community.

The PPAI Expo 2022’s show floor opened on Tuesday, Jan. 11. The Raining Rose team found out that their booth wasn’t going to make it in time on Sunday night.

“A group of our team was out to dinner in Las Vegas and got the alert,” says Lindsey Davis, MAS, director of promotional sales at Raining Rose Promos. “Labor shortages were to blame. Our booth was on a truck in Phoenix, Arizona, but there was not enough staff at the transportation company to drive the truck to Las Vegas in time. We know just about everyone in the promotional industry has dealt with labor shortage‐related challenges.”

A pillar of Raining Rose’s core values is what it terms as “People & Planet”—the belief that a successful business is founded on thriving employees and caring for the planet. Davis says, “We practice sustainability in our manufacturing and product development to ultimately create products that end users won’t throw away. We wanted to build a booth that would help people and not be a wasteful, make‐shift booth with a bunch of items we’d use one time and throw away.”

Looking for a way their booth can be a benefit, Raining Rose employees did a quick survey of the Las Vegas community’s biggest needs and found that more than 363,000 Southern Nevadans were experiencing food insecurity.

“We decided on a booth built from items we could later donate to Las Vegas nonprofit Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank and the area’s largest hunger‐relief organization,” Davis says. “We purchased a ton of non‐perishable food, especially protein sources. We also purchased personal hygiene items like toothpaste and tampons, as well as baby items like diapers and wipes.”

Raining Rose staff members with some of the goods from which they built their temporary Expo show floor booth. Before the show was over, several other industry members would add their own contributions to the company's donation to Las Vegas nonprofit Three Square.

Raining Rose Promos’ actual booth was in place for the second day of the Expo. Debuted at the show, it too represented the company’s values, as it was made of cardboard, eco-friendly and was totally recyclable. It’s design also highlighted the cardboard’s honeycomb structure. But the exhibitor’s temporary booth also made a strong impression on the show floor.

“The response from PPAI Expo attendees was incredible,” says Davis. “We heard amazing comments from people that stopped by the booth and received some special shout outs from industry leaders. We even had a handful of people stop by later in the week with items that we took with us to Three Square as part of the donation! The promo world is filled with good people with warm hearts—we saw this front and center throughout Expo week.”

The exhibitor’s “People & Planet” ethos extends beyond its booth in Las Vegas. The company is a Certified B-Corporation, meaning that has met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

“We take care of our team, so they can take care of our customers. When it comes to creating products that promote healthy self‐care, we carefully source ingredients that benefit our planet’s preservation and support the farmers we work with,” Davis says. “We even upcycle our water! About 20 miles from our facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a 2.8 megawatt anaerobic digester that turns cattle manure and factory by‐product into methane gas. The methane gas is then burned to generate electricity for the local community. Our rinse water is one of those factory by‐products. Each week, we send about 2,400 gallons of water that’s been used to rinse our kettles and wash out product.”

Davis shared several other ways the company is adhering to its principles:

  • One percent of Raining Rose Promos’ annual profits are donated to Heifer International to support honeybees, supplies and training for beekeepers in Central and South America. Honeybees are essential to thriving crops worldwide, and beeswax is a primary component to many of the lip balms produced by Raining Rose Promos.
  • It has recycling programs within its facility for paper, plastic, cardboard and aluminum.
  • The company uses paper tape that is water activated as packing tape, meaning it can be recycled.
  • Each year, it rears monarch butterflies at its Cedar Rapids facility.
  • The Cedar Rapids facility is also LEED certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types and globally recognized, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost‐saving green buildings.  

James Khattak is a news editor at PPAI.