2021 Top Distributors: How BAMKO Nearly Doubled Sales While Facing Pandemic 'Pressure Test'
As part of Print+Promo Marketing's 2021 Top Distributors list, we asked some of the top-ranked distributors about how they fared during the first year of the pandemic, their thoughts on the industry, their future plans and more. Here, we talked to Joshua White of BAMKO, the No. 9 company on our 2021 Top Distributors list.
In 2020, there was perhaps no bigger industry success story than BAMKO. The distributor finished the year with $202.2 million in sales—nearly double its 2019 total—rocketing up the list and into the top 10. It did so on the strength of massive PPE sales, sure, but it also ended 2020 with a company-record $39.9 million backlog of traditional promo. Josh White, senior vice president of strategic growth for BAMKO, called 2020 a “pressure test” of the company’s values. The result, he said, was an unmatched display of character, leadership and work ethic from the BAMKO team.
“If our team can pull together and thrive amidst adversity like we faced last year, I can’t wait to see what we do when we’ve got the wind at our back,” said White. “We know exactly who we are and have a very well-defined philosophical approach to our business. A sense of urgency and an extreme bias towards action are central to that philosophy. We have done an incredible job of preserving the entrepreneurial spirit that drives this company, which is something that I think most of our similarly-sized competitors have lost along the path of growth. That entrepreneurial spirit allowed us to be OK with experimentation, knowing that some of those experiments would fail. Our speed, agility and willingness to experiment, combined with the resources and infrastructure that we now have at our disposal, means that when an experiment ends up working out, it can deliver really sizable results.”
Outlook: BAMKO has always prioritized technology, and after its success in 2020, the company has only intensified that focus. “We intend to press that advantage to create so much distance between ourselves and every one of our competitors that BAMKO becomes something that is essentially unrecognizable to an industry that largely remains stuck in the 20th century,” said White. But, for BAMKO, tech is only one component of a larger growth plan that leverages the company’s biggest assets—its people, culture, philosophy and mindset—to set it apart from its competitors.
“The company we’ve built, the things we’ve been able to accomplish the last several years, and the way we’ve been able to deliver on the biggest stage when no one else could, that’s proof positive that we belong in any room,” said White. “Now our perspective is to go create the opportunities to be in that room and trust that we’ve got everything we need to accomplish things that no one else in the industry is capable of doing.”
View the full 2021 Top Distributors list (including a list of the fastest-growing distributors and top distributors by product category) here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list.