'I Wouldn’t Buy It, But You Definitely Should'

In the promotional products industry, suppliers and distributors work hard to build relationships with one another—trusting that the other half of the relationship cares as much about the product and the end-user as they do. So how would you feel if you found out that supplier or distributor wouldn’t even buy its own product? Super confident, right? No, of course not...

Can I Switch from QuickBooks Online to Premier?

Question: Last year, I called QuickBooks to ask which program I should buy. They told me QuickBooks Online, and switched me from QuickBooks Premier to Online, but it doesn't do what I need it to do. Can I convert back to QuickBooks Premier? Answer: Yes, but it's not easy. Intuit sells QuickBooks Online as a…

The Top 50: Do Acquisitions Hurt the Industry?

As we were preparing our Top Distributors issue, news broke of four major industry shakeups. In the span of two weeks, Ennis announced plans to sell off Alstyle Apparel to an undisclosed buyer (later revealed to be Gildan Activewear), Hanesbrands Inc. acquired Champion Europe and Pacific Brands Limited, Taylor Corp. bought Staples Print Solutions, and private equity…

Other PM Bloggers
Women's Wear & Fashion

Here's what's happening this week in the apparel world ... * Athletic wear companies Under Armour and Adidas have kissed and made up. Both retailers have reached a settlement in a patent infringement lawsuit regarding mobile fitness product patents, according to The Baltimore Sun. "Adidas AG, Under Armour Inc. and MapMyFitness Inc. have resolved their pending patent…

In a previous blog post, I delved into the details and advancements of several "genderless" clothing lines in the retail world. Now, it seems the military also is looking into creating "genderless" uniforms. Recently, the Navy has used uniforms as…

What to look for in spring 2014: purple, blue, cubism and metallics.

Product Safety & Compliance

Trump! Clinton! Feel the Bern! Some can’t help but support their candidates both privately and publicly. Recently, Cheryl Rios, a marketing specialist, discovered the danger of talking politics online—she lost her largest clients. But, I’m not writing today to get you to stop talking politics. I want you to talk politics—even online—but directed toward your elected officials. Next…

When the discussion turns to delivering safe and compliant promotional products, and specifically how difficult it is to do, I usually go with this response: "You can either run toward the problem, or you can run away from it."

I've covered many topics through the years and this one is perhaps the most frightening. It threatens our livelihoods and puts a bright spotlight on the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Increasing awareness for product safety and CPSIA regulations is a good thing. Our industry needs to better understand what it takes to be in compliance with these regulations, but this story is outright scary. 


Prints make it easier to mix different colors, textures and fun into one cohesive look. They breathe a touch of life into an outfit. Of course, I get it. Patterns can be overwhelming. They are bold statements. And they are, perhaps, even bolder statements in the promotional products industry. But there are plenty of ways to incorporate them into a promotion without overdoing it...

You know how people pack away their winter clothes for the summer to free up space in their dressers? I do that for my T-shirts. At one point in time, I easily could have worn a different T-shirt each day of the year. Right now, I’d say I could at least make it through six months. A packrat by nature, I would never say I have too many T-shirts. But I certainly have enough...

A flag is a symbol of unity. It’s a symbol of pride and belonging. When you put it on something, it’s the ultimate logo. At least that’s how I explain the appearance (and popularity) of the Maryland state flag on just about any product imaginable. I’ve been going to Baltimore for Orioles’ games my entire life and I went to college in Baltimore, too, so I’ve had time to see the trend of this seemingly discordant design take off...

Golf & Performance Apparel

This month marks my two-year anniversary of curling. Every Tuesday night, I head to Bucks County Curling Club, put on the proper footwear, grab my broom, stretch, catch up with fellow club members and take the ice. Strangely enough, there’s plenty to be learned from what curlers wear on the ice. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind for your future apparel campaigns, and how to reach out to markets that may seem more specialized than others...

Last week, Zara launched the brand's new genderless clothing line. The collection, called "Ungendered," features 10 unisex pieces, like denim, shorts, sweatshirts, sweatpants and tanks. Launched under the TRF line, the online storefront features both male and female models wearing the same basic clothing pieces. Zara, however, is not the first brand to launch a genderless clothing line.…

I am writing this piece on a business trip like I've never taken before. In the past, I've traveled a bit, presenting education sessions at trade shows and regional associations. I've attended amazing conferences, like the PPAI North American Leadership Conference. This year, I'm attending the ASI Power Summit. The relationships that are nurtured and…

Leisure & Outdoor

Yesterday was the Philadelphia Phillies home opener, and, of course, they lost because they know that I have my heart invested in them and they just want to disappoint me. Sorry, did I say that last part out loud? Anyway, because I live in the city, I saw plenty of people who obviously were coming…

The 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament starts this week, and I just filled out the perfect bracket. A lot of people don't have Temple winning the whole thing, but I sure do. (OK, I picked Michigan State. But I'll still cheer for the Owls.) When people fill out their brackets, they can create any possible outcome…

Growing up, skateboarding was just about the most important thing in the world to me. I tore through magazines, like Thrasher and Skateboarder, I idolized Tony Hawk, and I watched every skate video I could get my hands on. I…

Drinkware & Housewares

While it's been uncharacteristically cold here in Philadelphia, the first week of April still has brought chirping birds and blooming cherry blossoms. The start of spring also signifies that Earth Day is almost here, and if you're anything like us, you love the opportunity to give back to Mother Earth. Whether it's with eco-friendly products…

Providing cross-promotion products increases the brand exposure for your client(s). Here are two cross-market promotion ideas to celebrate warm weather.

Pantone chose Radiant Orchid as the color of 2014. Here are nine ways to use the floral hue in the New Year.

Food & Drink

With March making its debut next week, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. I get extra excited about St. Patrick's Day because it's a chance to bore people with my stories about spending a semester in Ireland. I'll save you the snooze-worthy stories and instead provide some insight as to how your brand…

Technology & Computer Accessories

I got the Microsoft Surface Book (not the Surface tablet) two weeks ago, and it’s going back to Microsoft this week. It’s an expensive laptop that has great potential, but it’s not worth the extra money. Here are my thoughts. The potential is there: Beautiful and stylish Powerful Excellent tablet functionality with a great Bluetooth…

What are you going to do in 2016 that is going to make you even more relevant in 2017? What are you going to do to create the customer experience needed to ensure that you can compete and flourish long term? Are you going to curse the online challengers who are driving you crazy? Or,…

I am, without a doubt, the most mobile CIO in the USA. Name one other CIO that is so committed to mobile that immerses themselves all the way to the point of staying in a mobile home.


Paul Bellantone and I walked to dinner after the first day of PPAI’s 2015 Product Responsibility Summit and talked about the same thing

Jane Nelson-Halverson, owner of Dakota Promotions & Printing, describes her experiences volunteering for an abused adult resource center, which she also does some promotional work for. She details the services the center provides, as well as how she handles selling promotional products to an organization she also volunteers at.

Did you know that Fire Prevention Week falls on Oct. 6-12? Raise awareness—and potentially save a life—with promotional products.


Earth Day is right around the corner. Need ideas for upcoming promotions? Here are three products that scream "I <3 Earth."

Earth Day is almost here. Are you and your clients ready to go for the green on April 22?

Whether you want to believe it or not, the weather impacts the ability for business to get done. One look at Facebook during Hurricane Sandy illustrated just how disruptive the storm was to industry firms.

Headwear & Outerwear

Five apparel pieces fit for any stadium, team or any baseball-loving client to give away.

The best thing we can do as garment counselors is to make our clients look like heroes to THEIR end-users. The perfect apparel category for that? Jackets.

With today’s tough economy and overall tighter company budgets, it’s no wonder your clients are becoming more demanding and wanting more from you in a shorter turnaround time. With so many balls in the air, and only two hands to catch them all, working with a smart supplier who can truly be a partner to you will make a world of difference.

Trade Packaging & Printing

Paper supplier Mohawk shows support for small businesses that source and create American-made products. Here's the why and how.

Dita Von Teese recently modeled the first 3-D printed full-length gown. How will this influence fashion and are you buying the 3-D printing hype?

5 imprintable greeting cards for everyone from your favorite supplier to your most curmudgeonly client.

Health & Wellness

How to find potential Labor Day clients and implement a promotion before September 2.

A review of Diamonds Cosmetics Inc.'s nail polish and ideas for including polish in your upcoming promotions.

What to wear and bring while traveling to Vegas, Atlantic City or any other show location.

Stress, Games & Toys

Feeling burnt out and unproductive? Make time for a vacation—even if time isn’t on your side.

Season 3 of HBO's "Game of Thrones" premieres on March 31. Here are some fun ways to connect the worlds of fantasy and promotional products.

Clients not wowed by QR codes? Watch this video for a way to focus on their strengths and make them impressive and intriguing again.

Towels & Textiles

Valentine's Day and other promotion ideas for February and March.

My favorite promotional item carries a lot of meaning for me. Here's a clue to figure it out: If you're like rapper Wiz Khalifa, "you know what it is."

Are you looking for a product that sends just the right message for an awareness campaign? Here are some suggestions.

Writing Instruments

Award season is in full swing. Help your clients take home the Oscar for "Best Party" with these five movie-themed promotions.

A short example about how a little promotion can go a long way.

Stationery company Paper Mate recently conducted a survey about office theft and came to a bold conclusion: 100 percent of respondents admitted to stealing pens from coworkers.

Journal, Office & Time Planners

PCA Calendars and Pepco Promotional Products share some of their new products from the show floor.

A quick preview of all the cool stuff I'm working on for June.

Golf & Sport
Is it Tee Time Yet?

I know it's only March 10th, but I'm starting to feel it—golf season is near. In my dinning room is a brand-new Big Bertha driver, a Christmas gift from my wife who apparently didn't know just how much the size of your club matters when it comes to golf (I explained it to her).

Bags & Luggage

Soren Travel Gear, based out of St. Louis, was proud to see their Cape Cod Reversible Tote featured in the January 15 episode of ABC’s Private Practice, titled “Homeward Bound.”