On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, PPAI Director of Business Development Ellen Tucker and Major Account Manager-West Melissa Massey, met with several industry supplier companies in the Greater Seattle, Washington area, including Cutter & Buck, Greater China, iClick and SanMar. Their conversations were opportunities to learn more about these companies, their outlooks on the industry and how the Association can better serve their needs.

At Cutter & Buck, Tucker and Massey met with Brad Moxley, business development manager; Kelly Chapman, national corporate sales administrator; Dana Kleckner, director sales operations and customer service, and Andrew Pudduck, director of marketing, and learned more about the company’s product lines and how they relate to each other, and the company’s staff. Joel Freet, CEO of Cutter & Buck, began his career with the company almost 20 years ago as an intern right out of college. Moxley says, “When you’ve got someone like Joel leading this organization and building this culture that we’ve got here, you get people who join and stay. I’ve been here going on 10 years, and while I don’t know what the average tenure is, people join our company and they stay because they’re having a blast.”

During their visit to Greater China, Tucker and Massey met with Brett Cutler, vice president of sales, and Mark St. Peter, marketing manager. While at nearby supplier iClick, they spoke with Mariah Wakeling, senior creative director, and Rob Alley, director of marketing, about the history of the company and where it’s headed. They learned the company is working to develop more interactive and engaging educational content for their products. Alley says, “We’ve been producing product videos and lifestyle photography and videos where you see the products in use, and as well as webinars from an iClick perspective and, working with industry partners, content that will be valuable to distributors.”

The company has also brought in several staff members from the distributor side of the industry. Speaking on the value their viewpoints bring to the company, Wakeling says, “It’s been huge for us. Knowing how to sell to a distributor is a huge asset to us. It’s a different kind of business model, selling to a distributor versus selling to an end-client, and we’re trying to provide content for the distributor to reach their buyer.”

Alley adds, “It helps from both a marketing and sales perspective. We understand the business model, we understand how and why they buy certain items, when they may need certain products for their promotions, how end-users actually take advantage of the products. Having some distributor sales and marketing expertise in-house helps us to better inform and better arm our distributor partners with content they need.”

Later, Tucker and Massey visited with Cindy Crank and John Lindgren at SanMar, who gave them a tour of the supplier’s facility. Speaking on the company’s customer service philosophy, Lindgren says, “Be nice, I don’t think I could put it any more simply than that. In everything we do, we know it’s a customer service element in how we pack the box, how we take an order and even how we manufacturer our clothes.”

The conversation also touched on the company’s manufacturing efforts and its impact on the communities in which the facilities are located. Lindgren says, “Manufacturing has become one of our biggest strengths. We’re now in three different countries in Africa—a new continent all together for us—and manufacturing is changing people’s lives. We’re also very actively involved in charities and other groups in the communities around these factories.”