(Editor’s Note: PromoWire by PPAI Media is a running digest of updates from organizations around the promotional products industry. PPAI Media will consider newsworthy entries submitted by any member organization.)

February 21

Registration Opens for commonsku's skucamp Nashville

commonsku, the Toronto-based promotional products business and sales software, has opened registration for its seventh annual skucamp conference, to be held at The Virgin Hotel in Nashville on September 15-18.

The skucamp speaker lineup for 2024 features:

  • Stephen Shedletzky, author of the book Speak-Up Culture, who teaches how to amplify a team’s best ideas, how to be bold with vision, disagreements and feedback, and how to encourage innovation that creates outsized momentum for you and your team
  • Lia Garvin, bestselling author of Unstuck, a TEDx speaker, and host of the top podcast "Managing Made Simple" with experience leading team operations across Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Bank of America. Garvin's session focuses on building “Unstoppable Teams,” resulting in higher retention and high-impact results.
  • Industry speakers include Andrea Kramer, president, City Apparel+Merch; Michael Wolaver, founder,Magellan Promotions; Ryan Paules, chief swag officer, Radar Promotions; Dominique Volker, executive director, enterprise sales, Whitestone Branding; Dean Caravelis, CEO and founder, Blezoo; and Benji Bearman, CEO and co-founder, Liquid Screen Design.

“Though this is our seventh year hosting skucamp, this year, we’re bringing in a host of changes to better amplify the experience for attendees,” said Mark Graham, commonsku’s president and chief brand Officer, “such as more time for learning from peers on the deep tactics of running a successful business, more experts on building solid teams to drive sales, and a line-up of fresh voices and proven leaders of some of the most vibrant distributor companies today.

"Each year, we challenge ourselves to build a program that hits the hardest challenges and opens the biggest opportunities for the modern promo pro, we can’t wait to bring together this year’s vision and energy for a very unique skucamp experience in Nashville!

Skucamp is sponsored by: PCNA, alphabroder, Raining Rose Promos, Numo, Chameleon Like, Hit Promotional Products, Ruckus, Cap America, Redwood Classics, elemental, and PPAI.


Hexa Custom Unveils Fully-Customizable Bag And Accessory Collection

The introductory bag collection from Hexa Custom (PPAI 767010, S1) is crafted to meet the needs of modern, on-the-go professionals and draws inspiration from the distinctive design of its outerwear collection.

  • The sustainably focused collection includes the Puffy Tote and Puffy Laptop Sleeve, derived from the Mega Puff Collection, and the weatherproof Crossbody Bag, crafted from various fabrics, to ensure durability and weight-bearing capabilities combined with quality.

“Rather than reinventing the wheel, we chose to work with the same high-quality materials already ingrained in our outerwear DNA, fostering a distinct yet harmonious aesthetic, " says Kath Baker, creative director at Hexa Custom. “This isn't just a bag launch, it’s the inauguration of a new era for Hexa Custom.”

The Ampersand Group Acquires Trogo Sales

The Ampersand Group (PPAI 260319, D3), a network for independent distributors and entrepreneurs worldwide, has acquired Trogo Sales, an Ohio-based supplier of branded uniforms and corporate apparel.

  • Trogo’s partnerships with major manufacturers in the uniform and apparel space are expected to help the national affiliate network grow its uniform business in the medical, food service, hospitality, workwear and corporate markets.

“With over 40 years of business knowledge in the branded workwear segment, we see Trogo as a valuable asset in the branded uniform industry as well as a great vehicle for Ampersand to take advantage of this ever-growing product line,” says Todd Mellon, president and CEO of The Ampersand Group. ”With our added strength in the branded uniform industry, we’re excited to see how this will help our members elevate their businesses.”

Gildan Activewear Reports Strong Fourth-Quarter Results

Gildan (PPAI 250187, S13) closed 2023 with strong financial performance and strategic advancements, setting a positive tone for 2024. The company remains focused on sustainable growth, operational efficiency and shareholder returns amidst a challenging macro-economic environment.

  • 2023 Q4 net sales increased by 9% year-over-year to $783 million, driven by higher volumes and customer replenishment.
  • The operating margin was 22.8% for Q4; the adjusted operating margin was 19.7%.
  • Earnings per share (EPS) in Q4 were diluted EPS at $0.89, up 89% from Q4 2022; adjusted diluted EPS at $0.75, a 15% increase.
  • The company generated $239 million in operating cash flow in Q4, with full-year cash flow at $547 million.
  • In 2023, activewear sales were at $644 million in Q4, up 8%; hosiery and underwear sales at $139 million, up 11%. Full-year activewear sales were slightly down, while the hosiery and underwear category saw a 10% increase.
  • A 10% dividend increase for 2024 was announced.
  • Revenue growth in 2024 is expected to be flat to up low-single digits.

PCNA Donates 1,000 Pounds Of Food To Local Food Bank

PCNA (PPAI 113079, S15), known for its commitment to eco-conscious and sustainable products, is partnering with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for a significant food donation initiative.

  • Today, the PCNA sales team will be packaging 1,000 pounds of perishable food for transport to the food bank. The donation is the centerpiece of a week-long food drive that has taken place at the supplier’s New Kensington, Pennsylvania, office.

February 20

Mark Knoblauch Joins Texas Art Embroidery As VP Of Operations

Texas Art Embroidery / 4EZtees.com (PPAI 380229, S5) is adding Mark Knoblauch, a 30-year industry veteran, to its team as VP of operations.

  • Knoblauch, who was previously with Prodigi Embroidery, brings a strong background in embroidery including developing embroidery departments at scale and fostering client relations.

Micah Stalarow, who will be Knoblauch’s co-pilot, says, “His experience is second to none. I’m young, and I’ve got a lot to learn, so to have an industry veteran like him here is going to help me exponentially. It is an especially incredible breath of fresh air that he is so eager to learn about our tech-integrations and lean into them with us. He is really going to help us push the limits.”