The Best of PPAI Expo 2019: Day Two
Welcome to Vegas! All week long, Promo Marketing will be reporting live from the PPAI Expo 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. If you're at the show, stop by booth 3237 and say hello. If not, keep an eye on our newsletter for product information, session wrap-ups and a whole lot more, brought to you right from the show floor. Up now: Some of the cool stuff we saw on the show floor on day two.
Somehow, the second day of exhibits has already come to close at PPAI Expo 2019. (Time flies when you're raiding the media lounge snack bar, you know?) Just like yesterday in our day one roundup, we put together a shortlist of the most interesting products, people and booth displays we saw on day two.
Here we go!
Hit Promotional Products' Charity Line (Booth 5704)
When we stopped by, Hit Promotional Products' booth looked like an LA freeway at rush hour—a sea of people down the length of the aisle. The supplier had plenty of new items to show off, including its new line of awards, but the must-see attraction had to be its AWS Collection. Created in memory of Bill Schmidt Sr., Hit Promo's founder, the line features a variety of items in multiple product categories—including some very slick reflective backpacks—with 5 percent of the proceeds going to charity. It's another example of an industry company giving back, which is always cool to see. (Oh, and if you stop by Hit's booth, make sure to visit Kellyann Messick, and tell her how much you loved her Promo Marketing podcast episode.)
Goldstar Pens Brings the Metal (Booth 5931)
"Corporate-boring all the way to pack-of-Skittles." That's how Kenny Ved, vice president of sales for Goldstar Pens, described the range of options available in the supplier's metal pens. Glossy, matte and soft-touch finishes, laser engraving or full-color decoration, a wide selection of pen styles and barrel colors—the choices make just about an combination possible, whether brands want bland or bright. Goldstar, for its part, falls on the brighter side of that spectrum, with Ved emphasizing the supplier's unofficial mission statement: Make it easy and have fun. Rock on \m/.
Clothpromotions Plus Goes Big (Booth 2257)
Clothpromotions Plus is maybe best known for its pocket-sized cleaning cloths, but this year, it's moving beyond the pocket. For 2019, the supplier introduced full-size beach towels and bath towels, both made from a microfiber material that makes them more absorbent and easier to clean. (Buh bye, sand!) Clothpromotions also has on hand a full-time art staff available to distributors, and offers custom sizes, colors, packaging, inserts and more. It's all part of a product-line expansion for the supplier. Don't miss the dog bandanas.
Visstun, Digispec and Counterpoint Doubles Up (Booths 4751, 55, 59)
Over at Visstun, Digispec and Counterpoint's booths, we chatted with sales manager Laura Martinez and asked her thoughts on what product to watch for in 2019. Martinez was excited to talk about Visstun's new double-wall paper cups, which basically eliminate the need for a sleeve. “We’ve been asked for double-walls cups for years, and we finally went ahead and introduced them, very recently,” she said. “Beautiful, full-color process, double-wall cups, no need to carry the sleeves and everything else—so this is going to be huge.”
Southern Plus Has It in the Bag (Booth 5908)
When we stopped by Southern Plus, president Grethe Adams told us how the supplier's Santorini bag, a hit in 2018, gave them inspiration for new designs in 2019. “In a way, it did kind of guide us as to what new items to bring on this year, so to continue that trend, one of our new items for 2019, which we’ve seen a great response to so far between the Orlando show two weeks ago and this so far, is the Boho tote,” Adams said of the bag, pictured above. “It’s really cool, [and has a] unique shape. It’s fairly simple, but the shape is key, and there’s definitely a different look about it. People really liked it and it has a really big imprint area, so it’s a great canvas for your brand name.”
Panther Vision Looks Ahead (Booth 4567)
Panther Vision has long enjoyed being a bright presence in the headwear category, particularly through its lighted items. Relying on LED technology that helps director Chuck Freeman flash megawatt smiles thanks to the public's receptivity to them, the products are proving winners at PPAI Expo 2019, but they are not alone in lighting the way to a great future for the supplier. "We are just like any other good supplier in that we're looking to improve," Freeman said as he spoke of Panther Vision's new flat flashlights, whose intense luminosity complements the brightness of his company's line of hats. "With this product and our headwear options, we're relying on better developments with battery usage and longevity, and that's what we'll continue to stress as we go forward."
Quikey Manufacturing Co. Promotes Positivity (Booth 3150)
"Folks are working very hard to make this show a success, and the results so far have been phenomenal," Quikey Manufacturing Co. Inc. president Mike Burns said as he interacted with visitors to his booth. "That makes us pretty fortunate to be here." Specializing in inexpensive, high quality physical advertising solutions, Quikey continues to be an Expo staple that thus far was won steady traffic to its booth thanks to what Burns classified as its ability to promote positivity. "Tags, magnets, office goods, personal items—they're all high in demand because people want to stand out, and that's what we're here to help them to do," he stated.
Pro Towels Does Footwear (Booth 2927)
Busyness is always good for a business to enjoy, and Pro Towels has been a big beneficiary of the curious throngs present at PPAI Expo 2019. "Our lines do very well with promising rapid and reliable service to the East Coast, the West Coast and Canada," executive vice president Fraser Mackay, who runs the Canadian division, said of his employer's reputation among trade show attendees. "That craftsmanship is something they can definitely get behind, as it means the products will prove long-lasting." While known for its namesake goods, Pro Towels has also been gaining regard for its Neet Feet custom flip flops and logoed footwear. With summer not too, too far away (like suppliers, we love looking ahead), Mackay expects those relatively new goods to give Pro Towels even more buzz as the expo draws to a close.
Pilot Pen Goes Full Color (Booth 3351)
Pilot Pen is already known for its smooth writing experience, but it just got smoother in the looks department, too. That's because the supplier debuted full-color imprints for its classic Acroball pen in 2019. Combined with no additional run charges and EQP for the first quarter, the bright, bold decoration capabilities are sure to make Pilot's pens pop, both in visuals and in value.
Leashables by OraLabs Inc.'s Positive Outlook (Booth 1215)
If the "overwhelmingly positive traffic" that Leashables by OraLabs Inc., which specializes in lip, health care, sanitizers and lotion, has received at PPAI Expo 2019 continues throughout the year, the supplier figures to be in a celebratory mood come December. "We've had some fun conversations with everyone who has stopped to see us," sales manager Lavina Honeycutt noted, with attendees sure to remember her company thanks to the inclusion of the branded lip balm attached to their badges. "There are always challenges to anticipate when you go to a show like this, but we're thrilled with the results so far. There's also that persistent responsibility to help people see the benefits of choosing us, and we can't think of a better spot than Vegas to do that."
ADG Promotional Products Gets Personal (Booth 6019)
There was a lot going on at the ADG Promotional Products booth, but the pen engraving station was the main attraction. Always a favorite at Expo, it's a great way to demo the power of a personalized touch on an already awesome promotional product. Bill Mahre, president of ADG, also showed us a pen that lights up to reveal a full-color logo. Mahre explained that personalization—whether it be a pen or a tumbler— is a great way to leave a lasting impression and to turn any ordinary product into something unique.
CPS/Keystone's Colorful Choices (Booth 4543)
CPS/Keystone had a great selection of sport bottles on display, with a variety of lid and bottle colors making for seemingly endless options. CPS was also showing off its colorful phone sleeves that stick to the back of any device and hold ID or credit cards. We could have used a few of those to open up space in our pockets for samples as we trekked the show floor.