(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.)

September 20, 2022

Koozie Group Promotes Aaron Vollrath To CXO

 As Koozie Group continues to find ways to enhance its customer experience, the company is pleased to announce the promotion of Aaron Vollrath to the role of Chief Experience Officer. Vollrath has joined the Executive Team and reports to CEO David Klatt.

“With the first of our People Powers being ‘Customer Focus,’ I am excited to have Aaron lead the opportunity to further transform the entire customer service experience throughout every function so that we can truly be the best in the industry,” Klatt said.

Vollrath’s responsibilities in this new role include managing the day-to-day operation of the Care Krew function and team members, leading cross-functional engagement and alignment among all areas of the company to improve the customer experience, and driving overall customer experience strategy.

Vollrath has over 20 years of experience working in customer service, sales, and supply chain management at companies such as Scotts Miracle-Gro, Reckitt Benckiser, Kellogg’s, Henkel, and Kids II. He has spent the last three years at Koozie Group, developing a deep knowledge of the company’s business, customers, and industry.

During this time, he led the rollout of an extensive onboarding training program and performance management-based system, improved analytics and metric visibility, established customer effort satisfaction surveys to drive immediate responses, expanded on an existing large order concierge service, and attended numerous meetings and shows to hear from our customers firsthand.

September 19, 2022

Ennis, Inc. Reports Results For The Quarter Ended August 31, 2022 And Declares Quarterly Dividend

Ennis, Inc. today reported financial results for the second quarter ended August 31, 2022. Ennis, Inc. is the parent company of suppliers Independent Printing & Packaging (PPAI 111993, S2), Folder Express (PPAI 354129, S1) and Admore, Inc. (PPAI 111144, S10)

The Company’s revenues for the second quarter ended August 31, 2022 were $111.2 million compared to $100.5 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of $10.7 million, or 10.6%. Gross profit margin was $35.2 million, or 31.7%, as compared to $28.9 million, or 28.8%, for the same quarter last year. Net earnings for the quarter were $12.2 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, as compared to $7.5 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the same quarter last year.

The Company’s revenues for the six-month period ended August 31, 2022 were $218.9 million compared to $197.4 million for the same period last year, an increase of $21.5 million or 10.9%. Gross profit margin was $69.2 million, or 31.6%, as compared to $58.1 million, or 29.4% for the six-month periods ended August 31, 2022 and August 31, 2021, respectively. Net earnings for the six-month period ended August 31, 2022 were $23.8 million, or $0.92 per diluted share compared to $14.8 million, or $0.57 per diluted share for the same period last year.

Keith Walters, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, commented by stating, "We are pleased with our performance for the second quarter. Customer demand for our products continues to be strong as seen in revenue increases in recent quarters. Our gross profit margin increased to 31.7% for the current quarter from 28.8% for the same prior year quarter, an increase of 2.9%. Our EBITDA increased over the first quarter from $20.5 million to $21.3 million, representing 19.1% of sales for both quarters. Our disciplined cost management and pricing strategies contributed to our improved performance despite a challenging supply chain and inflationary cost environment. Paper remains in short supply and the tight labor market persists, but we continue to monitor incoming order volumes as well as rising raw material and other input costs so that we can proactively adjust our pricing and costs accordingly.

“We believe we have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry, with no debt and significant cash. Our profitability and strong financial condition will allow us to continue operations and fund acquisitions without incurring debt. Given those strengths, we also anticipate timely access to credit should larger acquisition opportunities materialize as we continue to explore strategic opportunities in the acquisition arena to increase profitability."

AIA Enhanced Its MVP Central Platform that Provides Distributors with Increased Supplier Information and Benefits

AIA Corporation (AIA) significantly enhanced MVP Central, a proprietary system that provides AIA Owners with critical information for each Most Valued Partner (MVP) Supplier to make key buying decisions.

AIA’s Supplier Relations and Business Technology teams, in conjunction with a group of AIA Owners, tapped into the evolving wants and needs of distributors to shape the vision and features for this upgraded platform. The result: an easy-to-use system with dynamic and intuitive features, requiring fewer clicks to get critical information in less time, helping distributors save time and make more money. New features include enhanced guidelines for samples, decoration, production and freight; easy access to supplier marketing assets and a comprehensive reference for customer packaging, kitting and fulfillment.

“We’ve doubled the amount of data points from suppliers in order to get extremely granular with the benefits they provide, such as 24-hour rush cutoff times, imprint limitations and more than 60 details related to a supplier’s ability to provide custom packaging, kitting and fulfillment,” said Matt Chenault, Director of Supplier Relations at AIA and one of the architects of MVP Central. “Instead of having to call or email suppliers for this information, AIA Owners can easily access and curate the information they need with just a few clicks.”

Billy Martin, Senior Account Executive with Gemline explained that “AIA’s upgraded MVP Central platform is a game changer as it provides AIA Owners with a tool to search supplier benefits utilizing multiple criteria metrics at the tip of their fingers. As a Supplier, our team will be working to ensure our benefits information is accurate, providing an exceptional customer experience with Gemline and an opportunity for mutual growth.”

Owner input was imperative during this process to ensure the new site was both functional and built to easily access the information they need on a regular basis. “The new MVP Central is

way more comprehensive and yet more concise with quicker navigation to help us do our jobs more efficiently,” said Alex Delvecchio Jr., Managing Partner, Alex Delvecchio Enterprises and one of the AIA Owners who helped advise with the upgrade. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with AIA and my fellow Owners to improve the technology that will better serve the evolving needs of our Community.”

AIA actively manages relationships with more than 160 suppliers, maximizing the benefits of the best negotiated pricing, solid rebates and enhanced marketing and sales support for every AIA distributor.

September 16, 2022

commonsku Opens Registration for skucon

commonsku, a promotional products business and sales software, opens registration for their 9th annual skucon conference featuring an in-person event plus a virtual experience for all attendees.

skucon is an event experience that sits at the cutting-edge of merch life, featuring talks by tomorrow’s leaders, stories from pros in the trenches, and radical thinkers who will push you and your team to dream and grow.

The in-person event will be held on Sunday, January 8th, at the beautiful, Frank Gehry designed Keep Memory Alive Center in Las Vegas. The virtual event will be held on Thursday, January 19th.

skucon in-person features keynote speaker Michael Bungay Stanier, whose book The Coaching Habit has sold over a million copies, also Ally Delgado, CEO of Merchery, Nick Casares, Head of Product at Polyientx, Travis Veit & Caleb Gilbertson, founders of Imprint Engine, Jeff Becker CEO of Kotis Design, Tiana Gamble CEO of Creative Design Hawaii, Holly Brown, CRO at Polyconcept, Regina Renda, founder of Kick Ass Swag, Quinn Bui, Sales Exec at Raining Rose, Trina Bicknell, CRO of HPG, Samatha Kates, Chief Sales Officer at Spector & Co., Nathan Bailey, President and Founder of Ideation, Jarid Taylor founder of Brandigenous, and Stephanie Taylor co-founder of Hello Promo.

skucon Virtual will bring highlights from the skucon in-person event plus an entirely new lineup of speakers.

“We are so excited to bring together an incredible lineup of tomorrow’s leaders. Our vision is to always bring radical thinkers and inspiring stories to the community, particularly to kick off a new year, to keep challenging and inspiring the dreamers in our industry.” said Mark Graham, commonsku’s President and Chief Brand Officer. “And a long-held vision of ours was to bring the excitement of skucon in-person to everyone, and now, skucon is not limited to only those who can travel to Las Vegas but is open to the entire team through our virtual experience. We are thrilled to bring two unique experiences to the community.”

skucon is sponsored by SanMar, Spector & Co., chameleon like, Goldstar, HPG, Outdoor Cap, MediaTree, EMT, Gemline, Hit Promotional Products, Numo, Pop! Promos, and S&S Activewear.

Learn more and register at skucon.com.

September 15, 2022

iPROMOTEu Announces New Director of Business Development
Accomplished industry veteran, Jeff Marks, joins iPROMOTEu

iPROMOTEu, one of the largest and fastest-growing distributor organizations in the promotional products industry, has hired Jeff Marks as Director of Business Development.

Marks will bring 30+ years of industry experience to his new role, where he will be responsible for helping distributors and salespeople achieve their business goals through the extensive support and independence provided by iPROMOTEu. He will join the existing business development team in cultivating relationships across the industry that result in business growth and long-term success for iPROMOTEu Affiliates.

“I am thrilled to enhance the already high-level industry knowledge and experience of our business development team with the addition of Jeff Marks,” said Bob Schwei, Senior Vice President of Business Development. “Jeff could have contributed his exceptional talents to any organization but wanted to tell his story as a former iPROMOTEu Affiliate to continue helping promotional product distributors and salespeople achieve their business objectives.”

Marks is the former owner of Promotional Considerations in Richmond, VA, and most recently served as Vice President of Business Development for MSP Design Group after selling his firm to MSP in 2020. He is also a charter member and former Chairman of the Premier Promotional Group. He is well known and widely respected in the industry and has served on various committees with PPAI, including participating in project L.E.A.D.

“As I have said many times, I have been in the promotional products industry for 30+ years, and by far, my best and most favorite years are when I was an iPROMOTEu Affiliate,” said Marks. “I am beyond excited to join iPROMOTEu and share the company’s vision to help distributors grow their businesses quicky and profitably.”

Ross Silverstein, the Founder, President and CEO of iPROMOTEu commented, “The addition of another successful industry veteran such as Jeff Marks is further evidence of iPROMOTEu’s desire to be the best distributor organization in the promotional products industry.”