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

September 8, 2022

Inaugural Promo Live! Online Event Wows Participants

SAGE, the promotional products industry's leading business services provider, just wrapped up their brand-new, premiere interactive online event, Promo Live! The successful two-day event included nearly 1,000 industry professionals in attendance, featuring 25 live and on-demand education sessions, robust product showrooms, 1-on-1 consultations with SAGE experts, and more.

Powered by SAGE’s Digital Events platform, Promo Live featured technology developed by SAGE to create an interactive experience tailored just for the promotional products industry.

During this new event, distributors heard from supplier sponsors on the main stage as they shared new products, creative ways to sell their products, and highlighted their best sellers. Plus, attendees learned about the latest in promotional product trends during the interactive industry panel sessions.

Additionally, distributors were able to visit the Supplier Showcase to engage in video calls, live chats, and access themed product showrooms to explore the latest in promotional products for the upcoming fall and holiday selling season.

"I loved the platform and format. This was totally reinvigorating and, in a way, BETTER than in-person shows because I have all my client info right here at my fingertips," said Katie Deal of Specialty House of Creation.

"With the use of SAGE’s Digital Events platform, Promo Live was a definite accomplishment," said SAGE President David Natinsky, MAS. "The accessibility that this platform has brought to the industry is incredible. So many more people can attend and enjoy the benefits of discovering new, trending products, networking, learning, and more all from their home or office."

In addition to the product-viewing and networking opportunities, live and on-demand education sessions were provided by SAGE and top industry suppliers, receiving a total of 7,607 views throughout the show. During these sessions, attendees learned about cutting-edge technology and products, how to improve their sales and marketing skills, and more ways to attract business in an ever-changing world.

The live SAGE Quick Tip Sessions were a massive hit, featuring four different topics presented by SAGE experts. Topics included Inventory & Order Status, New Features in SAGE Online, The Client Portal and SAGE Catalogs. "It was a great experience. I learned a lot and loved the great SAGE tips in between each session," said Ana Nichols of MOTR GRAFX, LLC.

Janice Jacobs, Customer Service Representative of Botanical Paperworks, spoke about an eco-friendly take on promotional products. From seeded paper to soap, Botanical Paperworks was met with overwhelming audience approval.

Another hot topic was the exclusive industry panel with SAGE Director of Distributor Sales Ryan Hanchey, MAS, and CEO/President Jacquie McBain of Go To Promotions Inc. discussing the best tips and tricks to attract clients in our dynamic and growing promotional products industry.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the success of the introduction of Promo Live," added David Natinsky. "We couldn't do it without all of the distributors, suppliers, and our sponsors - so thank you for making this possible. The future looks bright for the industry, and we look forward to seeing what it holds."

For more information about Promo Live, visit www.sageworld.com/promolive.

September 7, 2022

Proforma Celebrates Owners Named To Exclusive 2022 Inc. 5000 List

Proforma, the $500 million technology and business success leader, proudly celebrated nine Owners named on this year’s Inc. 5000 list. This list ranks the fastest-growing private companies in America based on revenue growth in the last three years.

“Our Owners have been incredibly resilient over the years,” said Vera Muzzillo, Proforma’s Chief Executive Officer. “They have taken advantage of the opportunities in a challenging and constantly evolving marketplace. That’s why they are the best in the business.”

For more than three decades, the Proforma Network has had a strong presence on the Inc. 5000 lists. The final prestigious rankings are categorized by industry, metro area, revenue, and number of employees, and highlights women and minority-owned companies.

“We are ecstatic to be recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies for the second year in a row,” said Michael and Amy Anderman, Owners of Proforma 123. “Our success is a direct reflection of our hard work in conjunction with Proforma’s cutting-edge resources and ongoing support, contributing to our increased efficiencies and accelerated growth. We look forward to keeping this momentum going.”

The list of esteemed Proforma Owners recognized by Inc. 5000 includes Brian and Lauren Bridges of Proforma Advantage Systems, Michelle Adams of Proforma Global Sourcing, Michael and Amy Anderman of Proforma 123, Bradley and Michelle Troyer of Proforma Printhouse, Steve Williams of Proforma Signature Marketing, and Fred Greco of Greco Promotions.

AIA Celebrates Community Strong at Its 2022 National Sales Meeting

AIA Corporation’s (AIA) National Sales Meeting, Unite 2022: Community Strong, was held in AIA’s hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin, and featured educational sessions, keynote speakers, social gatherings and AIA’s annual awards ceremony. The event brought together Owners and MVP Suppliers for AIA’s first in-person national sales meeting since 2019.

“After being virtual for the past two years, we were thrilled to welcome the AIA Community ‘home’ to Appleton,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO of AIA. “Unite 2022 gave Owners the opportunity to focus on growing their businesses by learning from experts, partnering with top industry suppliers and collaborating with peers. AIA’s National Sales Meeting was an inspiring three days that reinforced the power of Community Strong.”

Unite 2022 featured keynote speakers, educational sessions, one-on-one sessions with MVP Suppliers, and collaboration opportunities among Owners. Highlights of the meeting included:

  • The opening session, hosted by Schmidt and Rich Berg, SVP of Owner Success at AIA, featured ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews and Wendell August Forge Chairman and Chief Brand Ambassador Will Knecht, focused on the importance of embracing transformation that results in delivering greater value to the customer.
  • Keynote Speaker Karie Kaufman, business and executive coach, Action Business Coaching, Inc. discussed how to build a truly great business, including increasing influence in the marketplace and practical steps to strengthen a business.
  • Gemline Chairman and CEO Jonathan Isaacson, an AIA MVP Supplier, in his first public keynote coming out of the pandemic, continued on the theme of transformation and its current and future impact on our industry, as well as provided insight into the current state of supply chain and inflation.
  • One-on-one meetings with 30+ MVP suppliers to identify and strategize on opportunities for growth.
  • Plenty of time for socializing and collaborating including a behind-the-scenes tour of the legendary Lambeau Field and Hall of Fame.

“Hosting Unite 2022 in Appleton felt like a ‘coming home’ moment for me,” said Lisa Fronek, Owner of Generate Sales & Marketing Solutions, LLC. “It was the best reminder that with AIA we are in business for ourselves but never by ourselves.”

“It was an excellent week and so great to feel the reinvigoration of the family vibe within the AIA Community and spend time with new and longtime connections,” agreed Steve Condon, President of Branded Merchandise Group.

AIA hosted their annual awards reception and dinner in the Legends Club at the legendary Lambeau Field. Thirty-five Owners received awards that recognized outstanding achievement within their community including revenue generated, sales growth, the AIA Hall of Fame Award and the AIA Lifetime Achievement Award.

AIA also recognized outstanding sales growth by its MVP Suppliers including Gordan Sinclair, SanMar, ERB Safety & Fame Fabrics, Hirsch Gifts, Streamline Fulfillment and Cap America. AIA also honored Gemline’s Billy Martin with the Supplier Rep of the Year award.

September 6, 2022

Commonsku Opens Registration For Product Summit: Holiday & Gifting

commonsku, a promotional products business and sales software opens registration for Product Summit: Holiday & Gifting hosted on Sept. 14th from 2:00 - 5:00 pm ET.

Product Summit: Holiday & Gifting is a fresh take on product education combining real-world learning, on-trend product ideas, and stories from pros in the trenches and features gifting experiences of all kinds: employee engagement, client recognition, community engagement, holiday gifting, and more.

The virtual conference will be held on September 14th, 2022 from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET and features 18 suppliers, 6 mainstage speakers, plus 1-to-1 networking.

Main stage topics and speakers include “Unwrapping the Magic Behind the Merch” with Olivia Davis from Creative, Leighanne Allen from INM Marketing, Josh Kozinski from Sky High Marketing and “Supplier Secrets to Making Branded Merch Memorable” with Ben Pawsey from HPG, Brittany Frase with Hirsch Gift, and Erin Harris from PCNA Canada.

Suppliers leading the breakouts include: Spector & Co., NC Custom, Tekweld, Hit Promotional Products, GoldBond Worldwide, Cutter & Buck, PCNA, Fit Kit, Sock101, Hirsch Gift, HPG, Stormtech, Logomark, Marine Layer, Maple Ridge Farms, S&S Activewear, Gemline, and Starline.

To learn more and register, visit: commonsku.com/productsummit.

Helping Children In Need, One School Kit At A Time; Charles River Apparel Partners with Cradles to Crayons

Charles River Apparel employees assembled 1,200 school kits to help Cradles to Crayons support children in need at the Sharon headquarters last week.

Cradles to Crayons, based in Newton, Massachusetts, provides children from birth through age 12, living in low-income or homeless situations, with essential items like school supplies, clothing, and more. Its annual “Ready for Learning” initiative assembles and distributes school supply kits and backpacks with the help of volunteers and corporate partners, such as Charles River Apparel.

"As we prepare students to return to their classrooms across Massachusetts this fall, we recognize that now, more than ever, all children deserve the proper tools to learn and grow,” said Aubrey Henderson, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons Massachusetts. “With the support of corporate partners like Charles River Apparel, our Ready for Learning initiative will help over 70,000 children be set up for success in the new school year.”

Charles River Apparel has supported Cradles to Crayons’ mission for over a decade. This year, Charles River Apparel incorporated the event into the annual sales meeting to promote maximum participation. Over 50 employees, including sales representatives who traveled across the country to attend, packed pencils, notebooks, markers, and other school supplies.

“Our crew is always proud to support Cradles to Crayons,” said Jason Lipsett, Marketing Director at Charles River Apparel. “Our participation in this year’s Ready for Learning initiative was particularly rewarding as we had an unprecedented number of employees volunteer to help give back to our community.”

In addition to school kits, Charles River Apparel also provided Cradles to Crayons with a $10,000 sponsorship to support the organization’s other initiatives, such as providing winter gear to children and supporting newborns. Cradles to Crayons’ website has a complete list of its annual initiatives.