(Editor’s Note: PromoWire by PPAI Media is a running digest of news releases and updates submitted from organizations around the promotional products industry. PPAI Media edits these only slightly, including for length, and will consider newsworthy entries from any member organization.)

April 18, 2023

Next Level Apparel Transitions to Recycled Polyester Fabric

Next Level Apparel (PPAI 272027, S3) 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.”

April 17, 2023

Remembering Harold Joe Bauer, Founder Of ROYCE (1947-2023)

Harold Joe Bauer, a decades-long veteran of the promotional products industry, passed away on March 13 at the age of 75 after a long battle with health issues.

Born in New York City to parents who had survived the Holocaust, Bauer is remembered as having been an entrepreneur and "bona fide hustler" from an early age. Starting with paper routes as a young boy and eventually taking his father's gifting business to new heights, it was all leading up to Bauer founding the ROYCE brand, a multi-product leather company in 1974. Bauer devoted himself to ROYCE for nearly five decades, eventually sharing that joy with his wife, Kathy, and sons, Billy and Andy, who all joined the business of signature wallets, bags and travel accessories. He even named his loyal labradoodle "Royce." 

Bauer is survived by his wife of 33 years, Kathy; his children, Andy; Billy and his wife, Joanna; and Celine and her husband, Steven; and his grandchildren Brandon and Brianna.

April 17, 2023

commonsku Opens Registration for Product Summit: Sustainability

commonsku's (PPAI 552077) Product Summit: Sustainability is a fresh take on product education and features inspiration from industry leaders, on-trend product ideas from the industry’s top suppliers, plus 1-to-1 networking. The virtual conference will be held on Thursday, May 4 from 2-5 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • Main stage speakers include Danny Rosin (co-president of Brand Fuel) and Mel Hubner (Brand Fuel’s director of social impact and sustainability) in an interview to discuss their B Corp journey and “How to Make Branded Merchandise a Force for Good.” Another key interview will be held with Saadia Bryant, vice president of marketing at Gemline, on “How Gemline Drives Sustainable Product Innovation.”
  • Suppliers leading the product presentations and breakouts include PCNA, Marine Layer, Fields Manufacturing, Gemline, Totally Bamboo, Desk Plants, HPG Brands, Tribe Socks, Chameleon Like, Stormtech, Pop! Promos, Refresh Glass, Cutter & Buck, Storm Creek and Elemental Bottles.
  • Registration is free and open to anyone who wants to attend. To learn more and register, visit commonsku.com/productsummit.

Ennis Announces Verdict In Lawsuit Against Wright Printing Company

Last week, a Nebraska jury rendered a unanimous verdict against Wright Printing Company, its owner, Mark Wright, and CEO Mardra Sikora for a total of $5 million in actual and punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed by Crabar/GBF Inc., a subsidiary of Ennis Inc. (PPAI 109056, D4), which purchased Wright Printing Company’s Folder Express and Progress Publications folder businesses for $15 million in 2013. 

  • As part of the 2013 purchase of the folder business, the Ennis subsidiary leased the manufacturing building from a separate company controlled by Mark Wright. As Ennis alleged in its lawsuit, less than two years after the purchase, Mark Wright informed Ennis on short notice that he was selling the building and would not allow Ennis to extend its lease. Unable to find a suitable building in the Omaha area on such short notice, Ennis was forced to relocate the folder businesses to an Ennis-owned facility in Columbus, Kansas, where it had to train a brand-new workforce. 
  • Contrary to what he told Ennis, Mark Wright did not sell the Omaha facility that Ennis had been forced to vacate. Less than three months after Ennis vacated the facility, Mark Wright and his daughter, Mardra Sikora, used Wright Printing Company to launch a competing folder business in the Omaha facility and hired much of the former Folders Express and Progress Publications workforce that opted not to relocate to Kansas. Mardra Sikora had registered the Pocket Folders Fast domain name in August 2014, less than a year after Wright Printing Company sold the folder businesses to Ennis in September 2013.        
  • Documents received into evidence showed that Mark Wright and Mardra Sikora used Folder Express and Progress Publications customer lists to target top customers of those two business lines with invitations to purchase products that were duplicated from the Folder Express and Progress Publication product lines.
  • After a two-week trial, the jury unanimously found in favor of the Ennis subsidiary on all counts as to all defendants. In addition to awarding the Ennis subsidiary more than $3.75 million in actual damages, the jury assessed more than $1.25 million in punitive damages among Mark Wright, Mardra Sikora, Jamie Fredrickson and Alexandra Kohlhass for what the jury found to be clear and convincing evidence of willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets. 

Hanes Launches Breakthrough Technology With Perfect Pre-treat Tee

Hanes Branded Printwear (PPAI 191138, S10) 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.


April 13, 2023

Storm Creek Now Recaps Upcycled Bottle Counts

Storm Creek (PPAI 43809, S6) announced its ability to help customers quantify its sustainability efforts.

  • The company is supplying the number of upcycled bottle counts per order on both the invoice and the shipping notification email. The example invoice below shows 9,346 bottles upcycled with that particular order.

  • Storm Creek started a sustainable sourcing initiative in 2016 and quickly committed to converting the entire line to be eco-made. Since 2020, the company has upcycled more than 24 million plastic bottles into eco-friendly lifestyle apparel for all seasons. By the end of 2023, the company projects this number to be 30 million bottles.