Los Angeles-based distributor BAMKO (PPAI 242148, D11) took its first significant step into the Texas market by establishing a strategic partnership with Dallas-based distributor Lapgevity in November 2019. Last month, it continued its expansion into the state with the relocation of Joshua White, senior vice president of strategic partnerships, who moved to Austin, Texas, in January. That move, coupled with a growing number of sales reps on the ground, further indicates BAMKO’s intention to become the dominant branded merchandise agency in the state.

In a visit to PPAI’s Irving, Texas, headquarters on Monday, White explained more about BAMKO’s expansion plans. “I moved out here to plant the BAMKO Texas flag in the ground and establish a forward operating base,” he says, adding that the current sales force sells both nationally and internationally, so the distributor already has clients in the state. In expanding its presence, he says BAMKO will hire more sales reps who can keep up with the pace and scale at which the company operates. “Our approach is very much about quality over quantity,” he says. “Most traditional industry reps are not the right fit for how we sell. But when we find folks who are hungry to get out there and slay dragons, we are going to hire them, devote substantial resources to them and set them loose to go out and win the biggest accounts, brands, programs and opportunities in this great state of Texas.”

White says the company believes the sky is the limit and with 54 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state and new businesses moving to Texas every day, he’s certain Texas is the place to be. “BAMKO is at the forefront of industry trends like investment in technology, an agency-like approach to multi-channel marketing and retail-caliber design,” he says. “We feel strongly that this is the direction in which the industry should head and we’re adamant about leading from the front. BAMKO has proven that we have an unrivaled ability to win and service business. Doing what we do best in a state that is hungry for our brand of expertise means there’s a heck of a lot of blue sky ahead.”

In terms of the forces creating the demand, White says, “The Texas market is strangely devoid of competitors who have the capabilities necessary to service big sales reps, big brands, big programs and big orders in a way that even comes close to what those opportunities really require. There are a ton of wonderful mom-and-pop shops out here that do a great job of servicing their customers. However, when it comes to technology, multi-channel marketing, overseas sourcing, retail caliber creative design and merchandising, fulfillment capabilities and the other significant resources needed to properly serve major brands, the competitive landscape is shockingly barren. We intend to change that.”

While White says it’s too early to announce where offices may be located in the state, he says the company will go where opportunity leads. “We know who we are and what we do well. We are agile, entrepreneurial and aggressive. We succeed by adapting quicker than the competition to opportunities in the market,” he says. “The Texas market is ripe with opportunity, and BAMKO Texas is uniquely situated to capitalize on that opportunity. We’ve long said that our goal is not to necessarily be the biggest company in the industry, but we want to leave no doubt about the fact that we are the best. Building something transformative in the state of Texas is another opportunity for us to prove that.”