Prime Line President Discusses Built Deal
On Monday, Prime Line, Bridgeport, Conn., announced an exclusive distribution agreement to handle all North American promotional product sales for Built, the New York-based manufacturer of bags, totes and electronics cases. The deal took effect yesterday and adds another exclusive property to the Top 50 promotional products supplier, which signed a similar deal for the leather goods line Leeman New York in 2010.
"We're thrilled about the deal," said Jeff Lederer, president of Prime Line. "It's a fun line, and it's got a lot of cachet that I think works really well."
Built, known for its wine totes, lunch bags and laptop sleeves, entered the promotional products industry in 2005, but the company has focused predominantly on the larger retail side of the business. Lederer approached the company at that time, but "since they were just starting in the industry, they wanted to give it a go on their own," he explained. "More recently, I found out there were some changes going on in their organization, and I approached them about potentially renewing that discussion."
"It was the perfect time, the stars aligned in a great way, and we quickly put this together. We looked at all the synergies that could happen and where we could take the line together and potential line extensions. It allows them to focus on what they do great and allows us to focus on what we do great," Lederer said.
Prime Line will be representing all aspects of Built's merchandise in the promotional products industry, and the line of products has been fully integrated into Prime Line's business. All decoration, ordering, inventory, sales and shipping will be handled by Prime Line, while design and fabrication will remain with the New York company. In addition, Prime Line will exclusively showcase the products at trade shows.
Monday's announcement marks the second exclusive deal for Prime Line in as many years. The company acquired the Leeman New York product line in January 2010, expanding Prime Line's gift and personal accessory options. "All of the sudden, within a year-and-a-half period of time, we are one of the premier gift lines in the industry," Lederer said. He added that the company plans to continue this focus as it looks to next year, and is already considering combinations between Built and Prime Line products for 2012, such as bundling Built's wine carriers with wine tools or adding stainless steel bottles to a water bottle holder.
Lederer explained that although the company is excited to have the name brand items in its inventory, Prime Line's goal remains "servicing distributors in the most efficient way possible," and he sees these niche products as fitting into that puzzle.
"We were one of the pioneers of the 'one-stop shop' concept with multiple product categories," he said. "Obviously, it's become a little bit more ubiquitous these days, so it does become more challenging when everyone is offering so many different product categories. This is just another way for us to differentiate ourselves from the commodity products that are everywhere."