2018 Top 50 Distributors: BAMKO Rises on Acquisitions, Company Culture
Each year, Promo Marketing compiles the Top 50 promotional products distributors into one comprehensive list. For a peek behind the curtain at how some of those tremendously successful companies work, we asked a few of them to share their thoughts on the promo industry, their plans for the future, what it takes to make the become (and stay) a top distributor, and more. Here, we profiled BAMKO, No. 17 on the 2018 Top 50 Distributors list.
BAMKO made one of our largest climbs this year, jumping from the No. 32 spot in 2017 to the No. 17 spot in 2018. We interviewed Phil Koosed, president of BAMKO, to find out how the company grew its sales, as well as his thoughts on outside competitors and the millennial customer.
Besides sales numbers, Koosed shared some insights on what made BAMKO a top distributor for 2018. “We are certainly unique in this space,” he said. “We are part of a publicly traded company, which makes us one of the most resource-rich and geographically diverse players in the industry. We have back-office operations in India and a sourcing operation in China—both staffed entirely with our own employees—that I believe are each the biggest of their kind in the industry.”
That setup, Koosed said, was a major advantage for the company. “The structure of our business is different from most distributors, and it offers us significant technological superiority, better product sourcing and cost-effective operations,” he said.
Koosed pointed to a few key factors that led to BAMKO’s success in 2018. “We had two great acquisitions in 2017 that were an ideal fit in terms of culture and competency,” he said. “More importantly, 2017 was the most successful year for our company culture in its history. We had more people than ever in dogged, relentless pursuit of becoming the very best versions of themselves. The inevitable byproduct of that sort of grit and personal growth is a company that ends up looking very good in hindsight.”
“The reality is that we had so many individuals pushing themselves, and wholeheartedly giving of themselves and to others, that they helped will us to a great 2017,” he continued. “From what I’ve seen so far in 2018, our culture continues to just knock the cover off of the ball, and I’m convinced that will result in tremendous success.”
BAMKO’s acquisitions also played a major role in its leap up the sales charts. One of them, Los Angeles-based Public Identity, helped BAMKO gain a foothold in the collegiate licensing space. The other, Tangerine Promotions, had even greater impact.
“Tangerine Promotions was itself a top 40 distributor,” Koosed said. “Joining forces with Tangerine gives BAMKO a strong base in the Midwest (Chicago), and gives us capabilities in the POP/POS display and merchandise space that are right at the very top in the industry. This offers unique competencies and value add that we can offer to our existing customer base.”
View the full 2018 Top 50 Distributors list here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list. For more in this top distributors profiles series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all six interviews.